Iowa Cracks Down on Drunk Driving
A recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article referenced yet another border states approach to drunk driving as a blueprint to improving Wisconsin’s drunk driving laws.
Iowas stance on drunk driving goes back to 1925 when the state imprisoned first-offense drunk drivers for up to a year, even in cases without personal injury or death. To this day, Iowa maintains the one-year jail term as the maximum penalty and has a mandatory minimum of 48 hours behind bars.
Since then Iowa lawmakers have criminalized the first offense, made the third offense a felony and increased the number of repeat drunken drivers who receive treatment while they are serving time. Three things that Wisconsin lawmakers may be asked to consider when they reconvene, according to the article.
Three-time and subsequent offenders are sentenced to a facility where they receive counseling throughout. They are also expected to get and keep a job during their treatment and are allowed to earn privileges such as overnight stays with their families.
Even if the counselors feel the inmate has completed his sentence they must go before a parole board for a final decision. If released, they are expected to keep their jobs and return to the facility for weekly treatments.
What are the results? In a recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, Iowa ranked third behind top-ranked Wisconsin in binge drinking, but ranked second-to-last in alcohol related crashes while Wisconsin ranked among the highest.
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