In an effort to make Michigan roads safer, two bills headed
to Gov. Jennifer Granholm's desk are intended to crack down on the state's
worst drunken drivers.
Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Elsenheimer, R-Bellaire, and Sen.
Jason Allen, R-Traverse City, the legislation would end the practice of removing
a drunken driving conviction from a driver's record 10 years after the offense.
The bills were inspired by the death of Heidi Steiner.
According to The Detroit News, the
Bellaire, MI, woman was killed at age 16 in a crash with Daniel Buffman, who was
Buffman had a string of alcohol-related offenses and was
sentenced to prison for Steiner's death. Shortly after his release 10 years
later, he was arrested for drunken driving, the newspaper reported.
Michigan's statute of limitations prohibited the first
conviction from being taken into account. He was sentenced to 93 days in jail,
the maximum for a first-time offender, the News
Elsenheimer's bill - HB6009 - would eliminate the current
10-year statute of limitations between first and third, or subsequent, felony
drunk or drugged driving offenses.
"This bill will ensure that people who repeatedly endanger
the public receive the punishment they deserve, and more importantly, allows
the courts to take appropriate steps to protect the public safety," Elsenheimer
said in a written statement.
Allen's bill - SB1241 - would require the Michigan Secretary
of State to maintain driver records for the lifetime of offenders.