A new bill introduced to Kentucky State legislature will help make Kentucky roadways safer for the longterm. Senate Bill 56, first introduced on January 06, 2016, would allow courts to “check back” 10 years for prior DUI convictions. Current state laws only allow courts to look back 5 years for DUI convictions. 31 of 50 U.S. states currently have a look back period of at least 10 years. Of those 31, 4 allow courts to look back over the lifetime of potential offenders.
The bill was filed in honor of late Elizabethtown High School graduate Brianna Taylor who was killed by a drunk driver in 2014 at age 17. During the voting processes, members of the House referenced Brianna as well as fellow family and friends who have been injured or killed by impaired drivers.
While an initial vote in the senate of 35-1 shows overwhelming support for the bill, it has faced criticism from others. Opponents of the bill claim it is too harsh and that one time offenders will have difficulty finding jobs with the offenses showing for 10 years.
Representative Robert Benvenuti spoke after the voting process on his satisfaction with the progress thus far. Just one year prior Robert’s friend, Lexington Attorney Mark Hinkel, was hit and killed by an alleged drunk driver during a bike race. Hinkel’s alleged killer had 9 previous DUI offenses, most of which occurred in the 5 year’s prior to Hinkel’s death. “Mark Hinkel was my friend, so I use him as an example. But there are many, many Mark Hinkel’s out there,” said Benvenuti. “They’re your friends, they’re your neighbors, they’re your family members.