ND Lawmakers Hear Testimony on Tougher DUI Laws - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

ND Lawmakers Hear Testimony on Tougher DUI Laws

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Bismarck, ND -

After two horrifying accidents involving drunk driving this summer, there is huge public support for stiffer DUI laws in North Dakota.

Lawmakers are taking up the issue -- and have a couple plans to choose from.

The bills increase the penalties for those caught drinking and driving, along with new options to keep repeat offenders off the road.

The first of the DUI proposals is Senate Bill 2240.

When these two families speak, lawmakers listen. Their stories are ones of heartache all because of drunk drivers.

"One of the worst pains I have experienced I wish I could've died with the boys," says Juan Ruiz.

A drunk driver crashed into a tent at Lake Metigoshe killing Juan and Sandy's two boys.

"I'm telling you not so you feel sorry for us, but to have compassion for DUI laws, now is the time to make a difference," says Sandy Hernandez.

A plea shared by a family whose pain is also very fresh.

The Deutscher family lost their son, his wife and daughter in July.

This is what's left after a drunk driver hit them on I-94.

Tom Deutscher says, "This bill promotes responsibility. As citizens that is what we really want to do. It's a bill that causes inconvenience. It's one that causes people to think about what they are doing, hopefully."

Senate Bill 2240 increases the penalties - including fines and jail time for DUI offenses.

But it also proposes a marked license for DUI offenders, making it a crime to serve them alcohol.

It also requires the use of ignition interlock devices for all convicted drunk drivers.

Passing a blow test would be the only way they could drive.

Supporters say the interlock system is proven to work. 

"Change takes courage," says Cynthia Auen.

She shares her unique perspective, she told lawmakers how her dad was an alcoholic and drove home drunk everyday with her in the car...

"It's not about filling up jails, it's about no filling up our cemeteries."

There is a House Bill that also increases the penalty for DUI's.

HB 1302 is scheduled to be heard Tuesday.

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