Wisconsin Assembly Approves Drunk Driving Reform

The Wisconsin Assembly gave its unanimous approval yesterday to a series of drunk driving reforms. The Badger State would still be the only one not to make all first-time O-W-I a criminal offense. But first-timers caught with kids-under-16 in the car could be charged with misdemeanors. And first offenders with blood alcohol levels of point-15 or higher would have to breathe into interlock devices to start their vehicles – and all repeat offenders would have to do the same. These reforms and others now go to the Senate, which is still working on its own drunk driving package. Majority Leader Russ Decker expects final action this fall. Paul and Judy Jenkins of Mequon – who lost their daughter and two grandchildren in a crash caused by three-time drunk driver Mark Benson – called the package “baby steps.” Lawmakers promised more action, but they’ll need more money to handle the new offenders.