Wisconsin still soft on drunk driving

Last updated on June 11th, 2022 at 02:35 am

Wisconsin is a leading law-and-order state – except when it comes to drunk driving. The state now spends more tax dollars on its prison system than it does on its university system.

Wisconsin ranks first in the percentage of black males who are incarcerated. The prison rate reflects in large part the “war on drugs” and “truth-in-sentencing” laws initiated during the 1970s and 1980s.

Gov. Scott Walker’s administration continues to prosecute civil citations against hundreds who participated in sing-a-long Capitol protests against legislation maiming public employee unions. Judges have questioned the cost-benefit analysis of the government’s continued decisions to press the cases.

Walker, who led the fight for fixed criminal sentences while he was in the Legislature, declines to consider pardons.

Then there is drunk driving. Along with awards to compensate the injured for personal injuries, wrongful death or punitive damages may also be recovered. Wisconsin often leads the nation in drunk drivers and binge drinking. Nearly 40 percent of fatal accidents in the last decade have involved at least one drunk motorist. Those who are arrested for drunk driving may need to hire a lawyer and a bail bonds agent who can provide professional bail bonds services to help facilitate your release. On the other hand, if you have been injured by a drunk driver, hiring an auto accident attorney may give you the advantage when filing a claim.

Earlier this year, the Assembly passed an anti-drunk driving package, but the state Senate adjourned without adopting the measures.

The drunken driving issue was shuffled off to a task force that is to make recommendations for the 2015 Legislature. But four citizen members of the task force – two physicians and two health professionals – resigned. They complained about the Tavern League’s large role on the task force, contending their own participation was being used just to lend a measure of credibility to the group.

Matt Pommer is a veteran correspondent covering the Capitol in Madison. His columns are published with permission from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.

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