Proposed changes to Georgia's Implied Consent Laws - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Proposed changes to Georgia's Implied Consent Laws

February 2, 2006

Albany-- Over the past two years, Georgia has seen a significant increase in the number of DUI fatalities. The Governor's Office of Highway Safety says confusing implied consent laws are part of the problem. Proposed changes may soon help crack down on impaired drivers and make Georgia's roads safer.

A 25 member task force including prosecutors, state legislators and law enforcement want to change some rules of the road when it comes to DUI.

"It'll help the officers make the arrests. It'll help the person who's out there on a crash understand their legal rights," says Sgt. Jamie Sullivan of Georgia State Patrol. Georgia. Sullivan says right now Georgia's Implied Consent Laws are confusing and complicated. "I would have to do all types of investigations to determine if the suspect is DUI or not before I can place him under arrest, before I can ask him the implied consent would he take a test," says Sullivan.

The law made it harder to prosecute impaired drivers after an appellate court decision in 2002. "We had this in place at one time that we could read a driver implied consent if they were involved in a serious motor vehicle crash but the appellate courts ruled that it was unconstitutional the way it was worded," says Fatalaties went up. So did the number of drivers refusing to take tests but new legislation may help change that.

"Our legislators feel like it would be a better job investigating motor vehicle crashes with serious injuries and fatalities if we'll be able to imply consent people before the custodial arrest is made," says Sullivan. The bill would give drivers a clearer view of the consequences of driving impaired. Also included is a proposal to give law enforcement more power in administering blood alcohol chemical tests by search warrants.

"Any help that we can get from our legislators is a win-win for all," says Sullivan. It's a win that could rid Georgia's roadways of drunk and impaired drivers with the help of less confusing laws.

The bill was introduced Thursday and is sponsored by several lawmakers including Senator Joseph Carter of Tifton.

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