Wis. Assembly passes new OWI bills; Superior Officials React

By KBJR News 1

November 11, 2013 Updated Nov 11, 2013 at 11:15 AM CDT

Superior, WI (NNCNOW.coM0 --- According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash every 90 seconds.

A new bill in Wisconsin would give law enforcement the tools to crack down on drunk drivers.

The Superior Police Department arrests around 150 drunk drivers every year

"It's a really big problem, it's a regular case. It's not just drunk driving that's bad it's the multiple offense drunk drivers," said Douglas County District Attorney Dan Blank,.

But now the Wisconsin Assembly has passed three new bills to help crack down on drunk drivers.

"The threat of being arrested and the consequences that come with that hasn't been enough," said Superior Police Chief Charles Lagesse

The first new bill would make all second offenses a misdemeanor. Current law states that a second offense more than ten years after a first offense is considered a first offense.

"It's time to send a message that enough is enough," said Blank.

The bill also makes all fourth drunk driving offenses an automatic felony, no matter how long ago the offenses happened."

"At 4th offense, you've presumably had at least three cases that have strongly indicated a drinking problem," said Blank

A third bill passed would require that ignition interlock systems are installed when ordered by a court.

"Alcohol itself isn't the evil, it's certain people that can't moderate their alcohol use," said Blank

Superior Police also just received an $18,000 grant to add extra patrols on the streets to enforce existing drunk driving laws.

"We want drivers to be very cognizant of their consumption of alcohol when their driving and if there's a few people who drink less because they know there's extra enforcement out there, that's a good thing," said Lagesse.

Which is a step in the right direction to keep the public safe and drunk drivers off the roads.

"The people that look like they're a wreck to public safety and need punishment, we will have more tools for punishment," said Blank.

The bills will now head to the Senate for a vote.

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati