Mother's Against Drunk Driving wants to change Wisconsin OWI Laws

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - This is the second year in a row the Mother's Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is trying to appeal to Wisconsin lawmakers to change the current OWI laws.

Right now, only repeat OWI offenders and first time OWI offenders who blow above a .15 are required to put an ignition interlock in their car. An ignition interlock is a breathalazyer installed inside a car that tests if the driver is sober before being able to start their car.

MADD wants all offenders, even first time offenders who blow just above a .08, to put an ignition interlock in their car. "The Centers for Disease Control says interlocks are effective at reducing repeated drunk driving by 67 percent," Frank Harris, Director of State Government Affairs for MADD, said. "And reducing drunk driving deaths by 16 percent."

Their proposal also includes allowing prosecutors to charge first-time OWI offenders with a criminal misdemeanor, creates a mandatory minimum five year sentence for OWI homicides, and requires a person arrested for OWI to appear at their criminal court hearing.

Officials say that since 2006, those interlocks required have stopped over 300,000 attempts to drive drunk in the Wisconsin. MADD hopes to expand the law to all first time offenders to stop even more attempts.