No injuries in this single vehicle crash

A man arrested by the Wisconsin State Patrol for drunken driving has been identified as Paul Eckert, a Waukesha County Deputy Sheriff. The 37-year-old deputy was driving back home after a party following a swearing-in ceremony of Sheriff Eric Severson when his vehicle crashed in Genesee around 10:30 pm.

Drunk driving attorneys have said that according to a news release, an internal investigation has been ordered into the single vehicle crash, in which there were no fatalities or injuries. His car is probably not too happy though. Meanwhile, the deputy has been given administrative duties until the investigation is complete. You would think police would know when to sleep in their car for a few hours and then have something to eat before trying to drive home.

Ecker has worked in the Sheriff’s office for 12 and a half years.

Wisconsin needs tougher OWI laws

About 200 people die every year due to injuries caused by drunken driving, according to Frank Harris of the national group Mothers Against Drunk Driving. However, tougher laws on DUI elude Wisconsin, with the latest bill regarding drunken driving being blocked again.

State Sen. Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee, whose father had to quit drinking to keep his son’s support after a OWI arrest, authored a number of bills to strengthen the laws on drunk driving. According to Waukesha OWI attorneys, one of those included a bill to make a court appearance mandatory for first time OWI offenders.

Despite getting the support of committees in both houses and passing the Assembly on a voice vote, the bill was blocked by some including Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, who believes that merely increasing penalties have not resulted in a drastic reduction of such offenses. According to Fitzgerald, there has to be more emphasis on creating long term solutions.

The bills’ authors received about 90 positive responses, and about half a dozen critical responses.

There were 4,954 DUI related crashes in Wisconsin in 2013, as per the data provided by the state Department of Transportation while the state ranked 16th in the percentage of fatal accidents involving DUIs. Waukesha, WI DUI attorneys note that annual average was 218 deaths in the past five years.

A person whose mother, father and little brother were killed by a drunken driver, besides himself being paralyzed in the accident, said in an email that he appreciated the initiatives taken by legislators to invoke tougher laws for OWIs. He said he was embarrassed to be living in a state that allows repeat offenders to drive. The people against these tougher laws always consider that this person may have to get to work. But what is wrong with a breathalyzer having to be installed into someone’s car?

However, ever since the state has started monitoring the data, there have been fewer fatalities and more people are planning ahead so as to avoid driving while under the influence, according to Scott Stenger, a contract lobbyist for the Tavern League of Wisconsin.

Cost a deterrent?

The cost was another concern regarding these tougher measure ideas. Harsher penalties for third and subsequent offenders would cost the state $158 million to $226 million per year. Additionally over $236 million would be required for new prison space that does not include land acquisition costs, according to the state Department of Corrections. You do not need any new land for a breathalyzer.

You can also stop locking people up that smoke marijuana. A drunk driver is the one that is a threat to the public.