Governor Creates Team to Address Wyoming DUI

Gov. Dave Freuenthal has announced the creation of a team to review the issue of driving under the influence in Wyoming. The task of the group is to suggest laws and inducements to reduce drunk driving.

The Governor’s Team to Prevent Impaired Driving takes over for the Governor’s Council on Impaired Driving. The prior group focused on penalties for WY DUI, and was responsible for passage of a new law requiring DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. The council, however, had mixed results working with state lawmakers over the past two years, and the Governor hopes the new team will communicate better with the Legislature.

Wyoming has slowly taken the initiative to combat impaired driving, lowering the legal limit for blood alcohol content from .10% to .08%, and outlawing open containers in motor vehicles. As a result the number of arrests for Wyoming DUI has risen from 1,000 in 2005 to 1,400 in 2008.

The Governor’s Team will develop specific recommendations for presentation to the Legislature. Research is underway to analyze efforts and laws in other states, such as enhanced penalties for refusing to submit to a breath, blood or urine test. Prosecutors would like to criminalize such actions. Currently, the penalty in Wyoming is a longer driver’s license suspension.

The new team has fifteen months to develop a comprehensive plan to reduce incidents of driving under the influence in Wyoming.

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