It can be difficult to be one of the more populated areas in a state. It might even appear that there are more public transportation resources available, especially in a county that holds the state capitol. Dane County, Wisconsin, home of county seat and state capitol, Madison, Wisconsin, may be at the forefront of many of Wisconsin’s more progressive communities. Unfortunately, Dane County OWI drivers are illustrating a need to live up to more progressive standards for drunk driving offenses. We suspect that if the state capitol took a look at its high rates of OWIs, ignition interlock expansion might not be such a struggle for the state.
Dane County OWI charges are some of the highest in Wisconsin. Granted, higher rates of drunk driving incidents tend to occur in higher populations, so the numbers aren’t too surprising. But, those numbers still represent a growing danger in a state that hasn’t historically taken drunk driving too seriously.
As with most drunk driving situations in Wisconsin, Dane County OWI offenses aren’t criminal. Instead, they end up as more like super-tough traffic tickets and citations. That means no criminal record, and certainly no ignition interlock device. Unfortunately, that also means an OWI offender is more likely to try to drink and drive again. If the county and state treat an OWI like it’s no big deal, we can’t expect those who are drinking and driving to treat it as anything, either.
Wisconsin may have an uphill battle with expanding ignition interlock access, especially given the laws aren’t punitive enough as they read today. However, not everyone in the state is content to allow dangerous drunk drivers on the roads. Organizations like MADD, some legislators and many, many residents are tired of the beer culture and worry that goes along with it. Perhaps soon we’ll be able to see Dane County and the entire state of Wisconsin become a lot more progressive in fighting drunk drivers and expanding ignition interlock access to all offenders.