This week, Kansas senators began overhauling existing drunk driving legislation. The goals: write new laws that are more stringent on offenders and replace a defunct law after a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding the constitutionality of state-compelled blood tests.
In 2016, the US Supreme Court ruled that a Minnesota law allowing warrantless breath tests was valid, but a blood test without a warrant was unconstitutional. Consequently, Kansas must come up with new legislation because the state’s law dictates that driving a vehicle counts as implied consent for getting one’s BAC tested without a warrant.
Kansas City Democrat, Senator David Haley, stated that the purpose of a proposed overhaul DUI bill is to find a way to compel suspected drunk drivers to take a test without overstepping the right to privacy.
Haley said, “I think the problem with this entire topic if you look at the big picture is to find a way to balance public safety within the definitions of driving impairment laws and the rights to privacy that no one gives up just because they have a driving privilege. That’s the balance that’s trying to be struck here.”
Another facet of the proposed overhaul bill is to count offenders’ prior infractions in other states. It also would instate a zero tolerance policy for driving under the influence of controlled substances, in which a driver could be charged with a DUID for any amount of a controlled substance, not just an intoxicating level.