A state Senate committee has passed a bill that would crack down on habitual drunk drivers.
The bill would double the five-year “look-back period” for driving under the influence, meaning someone convicted of the charge multiple times in 10 years would face increased penalties.
Kentucky’s current law imposes escalating fines, license suspensions and possible jail time for each DUI offense within five years. The fourth offense is a class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
State Sen. Dennis Parrett, a Democrat from Elizabethtown, says he sponsored the bill after a woman was killed by a drunk driver in his district.
“A young lady a week after high school graduation, was killed by a drunk driver that had already had several DUIs and another one pending,” Parrett said. “But because of the five-year look-back period, those had been wiped off. I believe five years is not enough.”
Sen. Danny Carroll, a Republican from Paducah and former police officer, said he saw a correlation between drunk drivers re-offending right after their look-back period ended.
“It frequently seemed like we were dealing with the same people over and over again,” Carroll said. “I feel like this is a needed law in our state and I have no doubt that it will result in lives being saved.”
The bill also expands the 90-day reporting period during which a prosecutor can charge someone with driving under the influence to 100 days.
Lexington Democratic state Rep. Kelly Flood has also filed a bill in the state House that would double the look-back period.