State Rep. Bob Turner will support efforts to criminalize first-offense drunken driving if children are in the vehicle. Drivers with children as passengers now only get a ticket if it's their first offense.
Turner, D-Racine, said he would vote for the Drunk Driving Reform package passed by the Assembly and Senate. Other reforms include:
* Fourth-offense drunken driving would be a felony if the driver has a previous OWI-related conviction, suspension, or revocation within the past five years.
* A statewide expansion of the successful Winnebago County Safe Streets pilot program, which directs some offenders into alcohol treatment programs.
* Expand use of Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs), which require drivers to blow into a breathalyzer to operate a vehicle. The new law would require IIDs for all repeat drunk drivers, as well as first-time offenders with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 or higher.
* Additional costs that come with the reforms will be paid for with increases in fines for drunken driving.
“Too many lives have ended tragically or been forever changed by drunk drivers, and I believe it is critical that the state take a stand to curb this major problem,” Turner said. “With the introduction of this new reform package, we are another step closer to making our roads safer for all Wisconsinites,” he stated.
Wisconsin has the highest rate of drunk driving in the nation. According to the Department of Transportation, alcohol-related crashes killed 234 people and injured more than 4,000 others in 2008.