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Rep. Mike Harmon, R- Danville (54th District), announced last week that he has filed legislation for the 2013 Session that seeks to increase penalties for repeat offenders of driving under the influence (DUI).
House Bill 32, sponsored by Harmon and primary co-sponsor Rep. Kim King, R-Harrodsburg (55th District), seeks to streamline the punishment process for those who repeatedly choose to drink and drive.
“In many cases DUI offenders in Kentucky are released with little more than a slap on the hand,” said Harmon. “Unless we enact stringent laws punishing this behavior, violators are more likely to drive under the influence again, with the activity becoming a vicious and dangerous cycle.”
“There are many things that pose a danger to our children that we as adults should take the necessary steps to protect them. People who choose to get behind the wheel drunk don’t have the best interest of our children in mind,” said King. “It is up to all of us to make the right choice to keep our children and loved ones safe from repeat DUI offenders.”
Reps. Harmon and King were joined by the grandparents and mother of Branson Taylor Warner-Cummings at a press conference announcing the proposed bill.
On Oct. 2, 2004, Warner-Cummins died after the vehicle he was in was struck by a drunk driver whose blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit and driving on a suspended license due to a prior DUI conviction.
“After looking at the laws as they pertain to driving under the influence, I felt they were in need of revision,” said David Warner, Warner-Cummings’ grandfather.
“Knowing that I could not change the entire system, I chose to focus on the laws that would have a positive impact and, hopefully, prevent another innocent death. I want to thank Representative Harmon and Representative King for sponsoring this legislation on behalf of all DUI victims’ families.”
House Bill 32 would institute swifter punishment for subsequent DUI violations through a three-tier set of penalties, a reduction from the current four-tier system. Additionally, the five-year “look-back” window to monitor prior offenses would be expanded to ten years and the forfeiture of an individual’s vehicle would be permitted if their license had been previously suspended.
For more information on House Bill 32, go to http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/13rs/HB32.htm.