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Wisconsin buckles down to decrease proven trend of DWIs

For many residents of Wisconsin, stopping for a drink is something that is almost second nature. But while stopping is often done out of a sense of friendliness, there's nothing friendly about a drunk driving accident. Wisconsin's culture of drinking and driving is astounding, with nearly 300,000 residents of the state who have faced at least one DWI conviction, and 5,000 people have been convicted of a DWI four times or more.

Knowing that so many are out on the road impaired can be very unsettling, especially for those who have been injured or are close to someone who has been injured or killed as a result of a car accident caused by drunk driving. Prosecuting DWI drivers has become increasingly difficult because of an attorney shortage in the state and the lack of funds in the budget to remedy the situation.

However, the state is making an effort to crack down on DWIs by incorporating stronger penalties, particularly for repeat offenders, such as invoking larger fines, longer prison sentences and treatment programs for those who continually get back on the road while intoxicated. The legal blood alcohol limit is also reduced from 0.08 to 0.02 for those who have more than three DWI convictions. There are also bills in progress in the Wisconsin legislature that would increase penalties for drivers whose blood alcohol content is 0.15 or more.

Still, when a drunk driving accident has affected you in a personal way, stiffer penalties may not be enough, or you may just want to make sure those penalties are enforced. As long as some Wisconsonites continue a culture of drinking, DWIs are bound to continue, but hopefully more will learn their lesson before tragedy occurs.

Source: Channel3000, "Justice system struggles to curb Wisconsin's repeat drunken drivers: Lawmakers plan to introduce OWI bills next year," Nov. 15, 2012

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