Lawmakers in three states could
take up efforts to get tough with people who drive under the influence.
In Louisiana, a state legislator
is pushing for consideration of a bill that would allow authorities to charge a
driver under the influence of drugs with possession of narcotics - in his body.
Sen. Art Lentini, R-Kenner, told
the Senate Insurance Committee the change in classification would get the
attention of drivers.
His comments followed testimony
before the panel by State Police Trooper Jay Cripple. Cripple said Louisiana law allows authorities to suspend the driver's license of a motorist stopped for
drunken driving if they refuse to take a breath test. However, the rule doesn't
allow the suspension of a driver's license if they are stopped for driving
under the influence of drugs and refuse to take a urine or blood test, The
Proposals to combat dangerous
driving are being sought in New Mexico.
Among the efforts likely to be
brought forward for lawmakers to consider is more money for treatment of
alcohol abuse to allowing judges to order any juveniles convicted of a crime to
install ignition-interlock devices in their vehicles, The New Mexican
reported. The crime committed wouldn't have to be drunken driving.
Another proposal could be to count
out-of-state driving while intoxicated convictions as part of a state law
requiring the use of ignition-interlocks.
New Mexico law already requires residents convicted of drunken
driving to install an ignition-interlock device after their first conviction.
Gov. Bill Richardson would like to expand it to cover all drivers' license
applicants in the state if they had a DWI conviction elsewhere since 2005.
The state typically ranks among
the states with the highest rates of alcohol-related traffic deaths, The New
In addition to his
ignition-interlock proposal, Richardson has offered a handful of other
initiatives. Among them is a requirement that hazard-elimination devices be
installed on highways, such as spikes to shred tires that are headed the wrong
way on ramps.
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford
said he intends to push for tougher drunken driving laws next year in an effort
to cut down on alcohol-related wrecks in the state.
Sanford said he has no specific legislation that he was proposing
but favors harsher penalties against those convicted of DUI. The governor said
he supports a House bill that failed passage earlier this year.
Sponsored by House Judiciary
Committee Chairman James Harrison the bill sought to increase penalties
depending on the level of alcohol in the driver's blood. It also called for
mandatory counseling and public service and required prison time for those
convicted of three or more drunk-driving offenses.
Harrison, R-Richland, said he plans to file legislation again for
the session that begins Jan. 9.