Lawmakers push for tougher penalties for drunk drivers - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Lawmakers push for tougher penalties for drunk drivers

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By: Chelsea Priest

cpriest@abc6.com

Multiple drunk driving accidents led to several arrests this weekend, including one that left an  eleven year old girl in critical condition. 

It's not just anyone driving under the influence, it's becoming a more apparent trend that parents are driving intoxicated and bringing their children along for the ride.

A head-on collision Friday night in Warwick caused by a drunk driver left an 11–year old injured and in critical condition. That is just one of multiple drunk driving cases from this weekend, two involving children.

Gabrielle Abbate, executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, says "When you start taking kids and it's like one after another after another, that speaks to me as if there is no fear, there's an arrogance about it."

Which is why state law makers are proposing multiple bills to toughen the penalties for drunk driving. One of those bills being proposed would change driving under the influence with a child in the car from a misdemeanor to a felony.

State Representative Robert Craven says, "it is not unusual in the law, a crime that otherwise would be considered a misdemeanor would be elevated to the level of a felony which means be punished by more than a year in jail and more than a 1000 dollar fine"

Representative Robert Craven has proposed the bill, hoping that the punishment will fit the crime, at least in reference to the punishment. People who get it will hopefully act as a deterrent for others to think before drinking and getting behind the wheel. 

Multiple bills pertaining to drunk driving will be heard Tuesday night at the house judiciary committee meeting. The house judiciary committee will also hear a bill that would require convicted drunk drivers to take a breathalyzer test to start their car.

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