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Tennessee lawmakers seek to toughen DUI laws

Drunk driving is still far too common across Tennessee. Every year, victims and families are forced to cope with losses suffered when these intoxicated motorists injure them or kill a loved one in a drunk driving accident. This can be challenging, as the emotional toll alone can be staggering. Add physical pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages and possibly funeral expenses into the mix and the situation can become overwhelming.

Tennessee's lawmakers are trying to reduce the prevalence of these accidents by introducing bills aimed at implementing harsher penalties for DUI offenders. As the law stands now, tougher penalties are imposed on those who have four or more DUIs with no increase in penalties for subsequent offenses. The newly imposed legislation would triple the penalties for six-time DUI convicts, which could land them in prison for a significant period of time.

Additionally, the proposed law will seek to keep those accused of DUI sober while out on bail and awaiting a resolution to their case. Electronic monitoring, if imposed, will force these individuals to be tested which, lawmakers argue, will ensure they are sober and unable to hurt innocent motorists and pedestrians. Another bill seeks to further DUI preventative efforts by implementing ignition interlock devices on the vehicles of those who have two or more drunk driving convictions.

The state's efforts at curtailing drunk driving are certainly admirable and may make a real difference in the safety of Tennesseans. However, for the time being, it will be impossible to completely prevent drunk driving accidents from occurring. Those who wind up being injured, or families that lose a loved one in such a wreck, should therefore be sure to consider their legal options to possibly obtain closure, a sense of justice and compensation for their damages.

Source: WKRN, "Tenn. Lawmakers push to keep DUI offenders off the roads," Talia Kaplan, Feb. 15, 2016

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