Repeat Drunk Drivers Would Forfeit Driver's License Under Proposal By Flower Mound Lawmaker

Drunk DrivingHarbordale Elementary School

It may soon be two and your out for drunk drivers in Texas, if a bold plan to crackdown on repeat offenders gets the legislative go ahead.

Prominent Flower Mound State Senator, Jane Nelson is proposing that on the second drunk driving conviction, the offender forfeit a drivers license forever. Currently, a license can only be suspended a maximum of two years.

Nelson says it was a recent crash involving an alleged drunk driver in Lewisville that prompted her to propose the legislation.

"It was just so horrible that these two lives were taken," Nelson said.

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33-year old Kandace Hull and her 13-year old daughter, Autumn Caudle were killed when a suspected drunk driver crashed into the family's car. Three other family members were injured.

Records show, John Patrick Barton had three drunk driving convictions when police say he was speeding and plowed into the family's car. Friends of the teen who died are angry.

"I thought he would have learned his lesson, but it didn't change anything," 8th grade student, Riley Higgins said.

But, some anti-drunk driving advocates question if the proposal is the best way to keep repeat offenders off the roads. Mothers Against Drunk Driver legislative liaison, Bill Lewis, believes sobriety checks and ignition interlock systems are proven deterrents.

"There are reams of data on checkpoints and interlock devices for first time offenders that show they help stop drunk driving," Lewis said.

While Nelson believes the stiff penalty may send a powerful message, MADD officials say targeting a slim, slice of repeat offenders may not alleviate a good portion of the problem. They say most drunk drivers who maim or kill are first time offenders.

MADD officials say not even California, which boasts some of the toughest drunk driving laws in the country, revokes the license on a second offense.

Nelson's staff is researching the bill and drawing it up. The plan is to present it during next year's legislative session.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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