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January 18, 2011

Kansas considering getting tougher on repeat drunk drivers

This new piece from the Kansas City Star, which is headlined "Kansas considers sending repeat drunken drivers to prison," showcases my concern with state laws that are unduly lenient on drunk driving and also the appeal of technocorrections in this arena.  Here are excerpts:

Some Kansas lawmakers want to send repeat DUI offenders to prison, but that won’t be easy with the state’s budget problems and prisons that already are overcrowded.

Under newly proposed legislation, a fourth drunken driving conviction would mean prison time.  Currently a year in county jail — not state prison — is the longest sentence regardless of whether an offender has four convictions or 40....

Not everyone thinks the state can afford the changes.  Men’s prisons are already overcrowded, and Kansas struggles to fund education and basic services.  Under the bill, a fourth DUI would carry a prison sentence of as much as 17 months.  That would increase to as much as 34 months for a 10th conviction....

Among other changes Kansas legislators are considering [includes] first offenders [having] to get ignition interlock devices on their vehicles — and pay for it....

Frank Harris, state legislative affairs manager for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said requiring interlocks for even first-time drunken drivers is probably the most important change and would cost the state nothing. It also would be part of a spreading approach, he said. In 2005, only New Mexico did that and now 13 states do, he said. Such legislation failed last year in Missouri.

Meanwhile, statistics continue to tell a story.  In 2009, four in 10 fatality traffic accidents in Kansas involved drunken driving, as did more than three in 10 in Missouri.  Harris noted that Kansas was one of the few states that year that saw an increase in drunken driving fatalities — up to 154 from 138 the year before.

Some related posts on sentencing drunk drivers and advocacy for ignition locks:

January 18, 2011 at 06:40 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Thank you very much for keeping me up to date.

Posted by: Health Blog | Jan 26, 2011 8:09:59 AM

Minnesota had a pilot progam for these back in 2009. It just recently went state wide. On one hand, they seem to be a better method of prevention rather than being just applying punitive measures.
On the other hand, these devices aren't cheap especially when you add the fines, license revocation, etc. but seem to be a decent alternative for those that can afford them.

Posted by: Minnesota DWI Lawyer | Mar 20, 2011 5:51:30 PM

Every state should implement their alcohol-related laws stricter and more consistently. The overcrowded prisons should not be a problem. Instead, it should serve as a warning for drunk drivers. Who wants to continue their lives in an overcrowded place? No one, for sure.

Posted by: Alecia Longsworth | Nov 18, 2011 3:36:02 PM

I like all details that you provide in your articles. http://duihelpnow.com/dui-lawyer/

Posted by: dui defense | Nov 16, 2012 8:28:14 AM

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