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Proposed changes to state DUI penalties causes concern

Drunk driving has long been and continues to be something that claims lives and leaves too many people grieving the loss of loved ones unnecessarily. West Virginia residents have seen a variety of different laws concerning drunk driving over the years. Now, new legislation is making its way through both the State Senate and the State House of Representatives. These two bills are SB534 in the Senate and HB4525 in the House.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving has expressed grave concern over the proposed bills. They fear that the passing of these laws would force West Virginia to take potentially deadly steps backward in the fight against drunk driving. The use of ignition interlock devices and the suspension of driving privileges are at the core of the debate over these bills. Proponents of the new bills indicate cost savings to be among the reasons for the change.

Since 2008, West Virginia has had a law in place that required all impaired drivers to use ignition interlock devices. Reports indicate that drunk driving fatalities have dropped by 40 percent since that law took effect. West Virginia law also currently mandates that drivers arrest on suspicion of driving while intoxicated have their licenses immediately suspended. Both of these current laws would change under the new proposals, loosening the rules on license suspensions and IIDs.

Accident victims and their family members deserve compensation after being involved in a crash caused by the negligence of a drunk driver. Talking to a lawyer after such an incident may be a helpful way to understand how to seek that compensation.

Source: WDTV.com, "Mothers Against Drunk Driving Speak Out Against New Bill," Cydney Cooper, March 3, 2016

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