In an effort to make Michigan roads safer, Gov. Jennifer
Granholm has signed a pair of bills intended to crack down on the state's worst
drunken drivers. The new rules are now in effect.
Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Elsenheimer, R-Bellaire, and Sen.
Jason Allen, R-Traverse City, the legislation ends 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 driving drunk.
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 -eliminates 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 - requires the Michigan Secretary of
State to maintain driver records for the lifetime of offenders.