When you have a high rate of drunk driving, it is time to strive for tighter restrictions on those who choose to operate a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI). Wisconsin OWI restrictions include higher court fines and fees or the suspension of driving privileges, but that may be the worst that is faced, especially for a first offense.
Wisconsin OWI law needs to catch up with the rest of the U.S.
If a person is suspected of drunk driving in Wisconsin, he or she will likely face two separate charges for the crime: OWI and PAC, or, operating with prohibited blood alcohol content. Because Wisconsin adheres to the national legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit that defines intoxication, anyone who registers a .08 BAC during a sobriety test may be convicted of both OWI and PAC. These convictions, together, could increase the penalties for drunk driving in Wisconsin. However, a first-offense Wisconsin OWI or PAC offender will not incur any major penalties, although a person can still be convicted of both charges.
There are perhaps more significant OWI penalties for underage drivers and those who hold CDL licenses, than the “Regular Joe” who is driving while impaired by alcohol. The majority of drunk driving incidents in Wisconsin and across the U.S. are committed by Joe.
Increasing criminal penalties for drunk driving in Wisconsin is the obvious first step. The next would be to require ignition interlock devices for all offenders. In a state that is well known for its drinking culture, it would only make sense to have appropriate measures in place to keep the fun in drinking, while eliminating the dangers faced on the roads. Until then, we can all make our own choice to remain sober if we are driving, or to find a safe way home once we dive into those drinks at the bar.