Drunk Drivers Get Locked Out….
As a lawyer that has handled several cases for people injured in car wrecks on Kentucky roads caused by drunk drivers, I applaude our legislatures recent pro-active legislation. The Kentucky House of Representatives is in favor of new legislation that will create new barriers to drunk driving. According to Deborah Yetter and Joseph Gerth in a Louisville Courier Journal article, legislators unanimously approved House Bill 58 which is hoping to make drunk driving more difficult.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Dennis Keene, D-Wilder, after his daughter encountered a head-on crash with a drunken driver just before her high school graduation. House Bill 58, if passed, “will require the use of an ignition lock to prevent individuals convicted of drunken driving from being able to start their cars if they’ve been drinking” said Yetter and Gerth.
Keene reported about 200 people were killed in Kentucky alone with many more reported injuries due to drunk driving wrecks in 2008. This bill alters the current law which allows judges to order that these devices be put in the cars of individuals after they have received at least two DUI convictions. Mothers Against Drunk Driving reported the current law rarely saw action and see this proposed bill as a vast improvement since it will require installation of devices for all offenders.
Kentucky will join 12 other states to require the use of these devices if the bill gets passed by the Senate. Previously in similar legislation the Senate approved Senate Bill 144 which allows any driver with any amount of a controlled substance in their blood stream to be charged with a crime. Sen. Ray Jones, D-Pikeville, sponsored the bill saying that it would make it easier to prosecute drivers who are driving while abusing prescription drugs. But Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, called the bill “unconstitutional” because it placed the burden of proof on the defendant. Regardless, SB 114 passed 34-2 and is headed to the House.