Lawmakers in Wisconsin, one of the highest ranked drunk driving states, are attempting to put a halt to repeat OWI (“operating while intoxicated” as it is referred to in the state) offenders with a new bipartisan bill called “5 Strikes and You’re Out.”
The bill, which has received enough support to become law, would prevent people who have been convicted of five driving while intoxicated from having a driver’s license for a minimum of ten years and offenders would not be eligible to apply for an occupational license during this time.
“Once you hit five times – it means you’ve been driving drunk habitually,” said Rep. Andre Jacque (R – De Pere).
Currently, most drunk driving offenders are eligible to have their licenses reinstated three years after serving their sentence and occupational licenses (Wisconsin’s version of California’s restricted license) could be obtained in as little as 45 days.
“In simple terms, it’s five strikes and you’re out,” coauthor, Rep. Eric Genrich (D – Green Bay) told Postcresent.com. “This proposal recognizes that driving is a privilege, not a right. And I think it’s fair to say that if you’ve repeatedly shown that you cannot be a responsible driver, you should be held accountable for that.”
Not everyone, however, is in agreement that the new law will do the job.
“We applaud their initiative,” said MADD lobbyist Frank Harris. “We just think that there are more effective ways to protect the public than just hoping for the best and taking away someone’s license, which as history tells us is not an effective approach.”