New Drunk Driving Law Goes into Effect on July 1
Governor Jim Doyle today issued the following statement regarding a new state law to strengthen Wisconsin ’s drunk driving laws that goes into effect tomorrow, Thursday, July 1, 2010:
“This is a good day for Wisconsin . It’s a day when we take another major step forward in fighting drunk driving. When I was elected Governor, I made it clear that when it came to drunk driving, the status quo wasn’t acceptable. I wanted stronger laws. Too many people die on our roads too often…real people – parents, children, siblings and friends. One drunk driving accident, one drunk driving death is too many. There’s much more to be done, but the law that goes into effect tomorrow is one more tool we have to help protect the public and fight drunk driving in Wisconsin .”
The new law carries four main changes to existing law, including:
- Fourth offense OWI will be a felony if it occurs within five years of an earlier offense;
- Ignition interlocks will be required for repeat offenders and first-time offenders with at or above a 0.15 blood alcohol level;
- A greater emphasis will be placed on treatment for drunk drivers, helping reduce repeat offenses; and
- Increases first offense OWI to a misdemeanor if a child under 16 is in the vehicle.
Governor Doyle has spent his career fighting drunk driving – as a District Attorney, Attorney General and Governor. In his first few months as Governor he fought for, and signed, legislation setting a .08 blood alcohol standard for drivers in Wisconsin . The Governor also signed bills strengthening the .08 standard, increasing penalties for underage drivers with alcohol in their system, and eliminating a loophole in the drunk driving law to help law enforcement and district attorneys.