With the goal of keeping more repeat DUI offenders off the road, State Rep. Kelly Flood pre-filed legislation on Thursday, June 11 that would extend the current law’s look-back period for previous offenses from five years to 10. She is filing her bill in honor of Lexington attorney Mark Hinkel, who was killed late last month during the Horsey Hundred cycling event in Scott County.
“His tragic case underscores the need for a broader review, because had this bill been in effect, there is a good chance the driver charged would have been in jail because media accounts indicated he had more DUIs over the last decade than we know about,” said Flood, of Lexington. “Kentucky has made a lot of strides over the years in making our roads safer, and my hope is that this proposal will be the next step.”
Flood said her bill is identical to state Sen. Dennis Parrett’s bill that was considered during the 2015 Regular Session and that, like hers, has been pre-filed for the 2016 Regular Session. His is dedicated to Brianna Taylor, a Hardin County 17-year-old who was killed last summer in an accident involving a driver with a DUI record who would have faced stiffer penalties under Flood’s and Parrett’s proposal.
“I want to make sure that people like Mark and Brianna, and especially those in vulnerable situations like bicyclists and motorcyclists, are not put at undue risk while they are on the road,” Flood said. “If someone has multiple DUIs, they need to face a longer review time before their driving record is cleared. The worst need to be behind bars, not driving.”
Current law escalates the penalties for multiple DUI offenses, with the fourth or greater offense being a Class D felony that is punishable by up to five years in prison. Flood noted that alcohol was a factor in nearly a fifth of Kentucky’s traffic fatalities last year.
“My goal is to make sure no one impaired ever gets behind the wheel, and this bill would help us accomplish that,” she said. “We may not get to zero, but we have to try.”