As state legislatures across the country are preparing to gear up for the start of their new sessions, citizens should prepare for a round of fresh regulations. The legislators in Oklahoma have been on a notable run, proposing bans on talking on cell phones while driving and even banning wearing hoodies in public. Now, word is that that another group of legislators want to ban those convicted of drunk driving from being able to consume alcohol.
The legislation, currently known as Senate Bill 30, says that anyone who has been convicted of driving under the influence can be ordered to abstain from consuming alcohol for whatever length of time a judge decides. This alcohol ban would be formal, and the person would even be issued a new ID card with the words “Alcohol Restricted” stamped across the front. It would thus be illegal for someone on alcohol restriction to purchase or consume any alcoholic beverage.
According to the sponsor of the bill, State Senator Patrick Anderson, the program would not only restrict the behavior of convicted dunk drivers, but also anyone who attempted to supply the drunk drivers with alcohol. The bill contains language making it illegal for anyone to buy alcohol for someone on restriction. In fact, purchasing alcohol for someone on restriction would be a felony and punishable with a fine of between $500 and $1,000 or, potentially, a year in prison.
Though no such proposals have been floated here in Minnesota, state lawmakers are similarly preparing to tackle a new round of proposed drunk driving restrictions. According to the Star Tribune, the state’s DWI task force has issued a series of proposed regulations designed to toughen penalties for convicted drunk drivers.
Examples of the measures include a proposal to seize the license plates of all offenders in drunk driving cases, including first timers, as well as to lower the BAC level required before imposing aggravated DWI penalties. The leaders of the task force say the goal is to stiffen penalties to the extent that drunk drivers are encouraged to install ignition interlock devices on their vehicles.
The task force cites studies that show those with ignition interlock devices are far less likely to be arrested for a repeat DWI offense. Not only do the IIDs make it safer for others, it is also often easier for the offenders to get on with their lives, maintain their jobs, run errands and care for their families. Since the IID program went into effect, 14,000 people in Minnesota have participated and had their driver’s license reinstated. However, 60,000 others have chosen to have their licenses suspended. It’s this much larger group that the task force says it is targeting with heightened penalties designed to nudge them into the seemingly more effective IID program. Whether the proposed penalties are effective, or whether they are even adopted, remains to be seen.
Source: Story by Elizabeth Nolan Brown, published at Reason.com.