Little progress made in getting repeat OWI drivers off road - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Little progress made in getting repeat OWI drivers off road

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MARSHFIELD, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin has made little progress in getting repeat drunken drivers off its roads, with more than half of its counties seeing no change or an increase in convictions for driving drunk five times or more.

An analysis of state Department of Transportation data by Gannett Wisconsin Media found 822 motorists were convicted of their fifth or more drunken driving charge last year. That's up from 819 convictions in 2013.

Half of Wisconsin's 72 counties had no change or more chronic drunken drivers in 2014 than their previous five-year average. The counties in which OWI convictions exceeded their previous five-year averages include: Dane, Fond du Lac, Manitowoc, Oconto, Portage and Waushara.

Penalties for drunken driving are softer in Wisconsin than in most nearby states, yet state lawmakers have repeatedly rejected efforts to toughen penalties for OWI offenders.

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