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Lawmakers consider tougher drunk driving laws

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Some progress is being made to reduce drunk driving in Wisconsin. The numbers show there are fewer alcohol related fatalities, and crashes each year. But the numbers remain staggering. Thousands of people are arrested for driving drunk each year in Wisconsin. And most people have driven drunk dozens of times before they ever get caught. We also continue to hear stories about people arrested for the sixth, eighth, even tenth drunk driving arrest. The problem remains rampant. There is legislation under consideration in Madison that would strengthen state laws regarding drunk driving. One such bill would toughen the penalties for those who have been ordered to install an ignition interlock device on their car because of a past drunk driving arrest, but fail to do so. It is estimated only about 45% of Wisconsin drivers who have been ordered to install an ignition interlock on their vehicle have actually done so. Senator Van Wanggard’s bill would toughen penalties for those people. Another bill circulating in the legislature would require ignition interlocks for all people convicted of drunk driving. Right now the devices are only required for repeat offenders, those who refuse a breath test, and those with a BAC of .15 or higher. If approved, everyone caught driving drunk would have to have an ignition interlock for one year. That may finally get the attention of those who don’t think twice before getting behind the wheel after one too many.

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