Drunk Driving

A Mothers Against Drunk Driving lobbyist says a DUI recidivism reduction bill which has passed the state Senate includes several improvements in how people convicted of drunk driving are handled, but also has at least one big flaw.

Carl McDonald, who is now retired following many years with the Wyoming Highway Patrol, says Senate File 86 "fixes some problems."  He says that includes the fact that people convicted of drunk driving in Wyoming no longer be able to avoid having a restricted license that imposes either an ignition interlock device on their vehicle or mandates they take part in the "24/7 sobriety program."

McDonald says "that's a good fix because before it was voluntary."

He says another positive in the bill is that it would get rid of the current mandatory 45-day suspension of the driver's license for those convicted of impaired driving. McDonald says "mandatory suspensions just don't work." McDonald says typically people will drive anyway because "they have to get to work" and will find out that if they are careful they can get away with driving on a suspended license.

He says under the current law after the 45-day suspension, they opt out of the currently voluntary placement of an interlock device on their car.

But McDonald says the big problem MADD has with Senate File 86 is the ''24/7 sobriety program" and the way it is structured. The program, which has already been tried as a pilot program in some parts of the state, requires someone convicted of a DUI to take a breath test twice a day at a Wyoming Sheriff's office.

But he says the problem with that is the fact that the times for taking the test are pre-scheduled, so that if the second test of the day is scheduled for 7 p.m., for example, the person can then start drinking after taking the test, knowing what time they have to be sober the next day for taking the first scheduled test that day.

McDonald says MADD would instead prefer the mandatory use of interlocking ignition devices on the vehicles of all people convicted of impaired driving in the state.

Senate File 86 has been received for introduction Wyoming House after passing the Senate.

McDonald says of the chances of amending SF 86  to eliminate the '24/7" program with only about 10 days left in the session 'it's not likely to happen. That's the honest truth."

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