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Archive for Friday, April 29, 2011

2 Kansas agencies set up system to track drivers with multiple DUI convictions

April 29, 2011

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— Two Kansas agencies are working together to set up a system to track drivers with multiple drunken driving convictions in an effort to ensure that they are taken off the state's roads before causing serious accidents.

The Kansas Department of Transportation said funding the repository will be one of its top priorities, and the system will be overseen by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, The Wichita Eagle reported Friday.

The central repository was one of the main recommendations of the Kansas DUI Commission, which met for two years to discuss how to reduce DUIs, only to find that the state's budget problems might prevent funding the recommendations.

The commission began meeting after a mother and her daughter were hit and killed by a drunken driver while walking across a Wichita street in 2008. The driver was charged with his fifth DUI after the crash, but the state's driver's license database showed only two of those convictions. Prosecutors can charge drivers with more severe crimes if they have multiple DUI convictions.

Commission chairman Sen. Tim Owens, R-Overland Park, said other efforts to reduce DUIs won't matter if the central repository doesn't exist.

"It is important for the safety of all Kansas travelers that we work diligently to decrease the number of drivers operating a vehicle while under the influence," said KDOT's Lindsey Douglas, chief of governmental affairs. "An essential step toward that safety-oriented goal, in reducing injuries and deaths on our highways, is establishing a central repository."

The repository would help prosecutors know a driver's history "to ensure that parties are charged with the appropriate offense," she said.

Funding of about $2.5 million will be spread over several years "and will have absolutely no impact" on funds for construction or safety project on Kansas roads, she said.

The commission also called for tougher criminal penalties and ignition interlocks for all drunken drivers. The estimated cost to implement all of the commission's suggestions is $11 million.

Comments

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 10 months ago

Maybe I don't understand math as well as I think I do.

But, from what I think I understand, if you take $11,000,000 and divide it among the number of people that are killed by drunken drivers right here in Kansas every year (forget those who are in wheelchairs for the rest of their life), it seems to me that that cost per fatality that we suffer right now would be very low. Mabye it could be tacked onto their insurance payouts by government fiat?

And, after the costs of the database are covered, maybe we could be saving lives for free!

I hear about people that have multiple DUIs (I mean, 5 or 6) and for some reason, they are still on the road. And, they are still drinking and driving, and they tend to get caught again and again. Problem is, if it's not in the same county, they very often get away with it.

And about those "hardship waivers" that allow drunken drivers to simply keep on driving, and endangering the lives of others. If they need to get around, well, we have taxi services for that. A DUI conviction absolutely should result in terrific inconvience for you.

And here's one that literally bugs the hell out of me, and that's when the State of Kansas simply "loses" the evidence required for a drunken driving conviction. That happens a lot more than you might think!

Betty Bartholomew 3 years, 10 months ago

I think this is a fantastic idea! I have two ex-uncles who should have their licenses permanently revoked. One of them as recently as two years ago would drive drunk with his teenage daughter in the vehicle; and the other was taken to a DUI hearing last week by his daughter-in-law and granddaughter. Great role-modeling, huh? (Unfortunate that they can't be jailed for rampant stupidity in and of itself.)

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