New law designed to keep repeat DWI offenders off the roads

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on October 11, 2012 at 6:07 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 5:15 AM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Within the past week there have been dramatic cases of how dangerous it can be when a repeat drunk driver gets behind the wheel.

A man allegedly killed a four-year-old boy and injured a 10-year-old in Pagedale while drinking and driving, and it was discovered his license revoked 19 years ago.

Just days later,  in south St. Louis another driver was charged with drinking and driving after hitting two teens and two toddlers on the street.  

Thursday in West St. Louis County, a woman was charged with a DWI for the sixth time.

News 4 is asking why a driver with so many convictions would be allowed back on the street to put the rest of us at risk. 

It’s been shown that taking away a driver’s license doesn’t seem to work, and that’s why Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been pushing for a change to the law that would do more to keep convicted drunk drivers from repeating their crime.

Chesterfield police say Lisa Estrada was driving along a stretch of Olive St. last Friday before she was found in her car, stuck in a stranger’s driveway.

“It was obvious she was drunk and was arrested,” said Chesterfield Police Captain Steve Lewis.

Because this would be the 49-year-old Wildwood resident’s sixth DWI offense—her case was elevated to a more serious level.

“Because she had previous offenses, we applied for felony warrants,” Lewis said.

Estrada’s license had been revoked. Mothers Against Drunk Driving says it’s both outrageous and common.

“It happens all the time, people who have their license revoked drive all the time,” said Meghan Carter, Missouri Executive Director of MADD. “That’s why we’ve been pushing for the use of technology.”

She’s talking about the use of interlock devices. A driver has to blow in it to prove they haven’t been drinking to start the car.

Missouri passed a law in 2012 and it will take effect in October 2013. The law will require all DWI offenders to have an interlock device for a at least a period of 72 days after their conviction. Besides stopping drinking and driving, authorities hope after the device is removed it will make offenders think twice before they get behind the wheel.

“Other states that have passed similar laws have seen their drunk driving deaths drop in half,” said Carter.

As a possible six-time repeat offender, Estrada faces up to four years in jail and having her license revoked for up to 10 years.

 

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