It appears that the Kentucky Legislature will consider amending Kentucky’s DUI laws for the next legislative session beginning January 4, 2011. In many ways, Kentucky appears to be following the guidance of the National Transportation Safety Board to combat hard-core drunken driving, which is urging states to enact stronger legislation to adopt strong countermeasures to stop impaired driving. According to the NTSB, more than 70% of all drunken-driving crashes involved hard-core offenders last year.
Two Kentucky Representatives have prefiled bills for consideration by the general assembly to address hard-core drunken driving:
Representative Mike Harmon, R-Danville, prefiled a bill (BR 33) for consideration by the general assembly session that would increase DUI penalties for repeat offenders. Rep. Harmon advocates changing the existing penalties from a four-tiered structure to a three-tiered structure, increasing the time a DUI remained on a persons driving / criminal history from five years to ten years, and allowing the forfeiture of motor vehicles used in a DUI if the offender’s operator's license had been previously suspended.
Representative Dennis Keene, D-Newport, also prefiled a bill (BR 290) to amend Kentucky’s DUI statutes. Rep. Keene proposes the following changes: 1) amend KRS 189A.005 to expand the definition of "ignition interlock device" ; 2) amend KRS 189A.010 to include driving the wrong way on a four-lane highway among the list of factors for triggering aggravated DUI penalties; 3) amend KRS 189A.070 to provide that a reduction in the time period of a license revocation does not lessen the time required for ignition interlock usage; 4) amend KRS 189A.085 to run the period of a license plate impoundment from the date of sentencing to the day the offender is authorized to resume driving and require ignition interlock usage beginning with the first DUI offense; 5) amend KRS 189A.340 to establish an assistance fund for indigent defendants; 6) amend KRS 189A.410 to require ignition interlock usage while an offender is driving on a hardship license.