IN Senator Wyss: Senate approves legislation strengthening traffic offender law

E-mail from Indiana State Senator Tom Wyss:

Wyss: Senate Approves Legislation Strengthening Traffic Offender Law

Legislation crafted by State Sen. Tom Wyss (R-Fort Wayne) requiring closer monitoring of former habitual traffic offenders unanimously passed in the Senate today.

Wyss said Senate Bill 221 puts in writing a judge’s authority to enforce a zero tolerance policy where former habitual offenders are concerned. Wyss said the bill would require judges to monitor individuals who have committed at least two prior offenses, one of which must have occurred during the past five years.

“I have received support from judges, prosecutors, friends and families of victims of dangerous driving across our state,” said Wyss. “Unfortunately, this is not the silver bullet to end these types of crimes. However, it is a prevention method that could improve traffic safety for all Hoosiers.”

Under the bill, judges would be required to use one or more of the following monitoring methods to evaluate former offenders convicted of driving while intoxicated during a three-year probationary period:

  • An ignition interlock device that requires a vehicle operator to blow into a handheld alcohol sensor unit that is attached to the dashboard. The car cannot be started if a blood alcohol content is above a preset level;
  • A chemical drug or alcohol test the violator must submit to any time a law enforcement officer stops them;
  • A personal monitoring device the offender must wear to detect and record their drug or alcohol content during the hours they are permitted to drive. Wyss’ bill also gives judges the authority to specify and limit hours offenders are allowed to drive; or
  • Other reasonable monitoring methods determined by the court.

Indiana law defines a habitual traffic offender as a person who has either committed two major offenses that resulted in injury or death or committed three offenses such as driving with a blood alcohol content of more than .08 percent within a 10-year period.According to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, from 2005 to 2008 about 2,450 Hoosiers had their drivers’ licenses suspended for being habitual traffic offenders.


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