Kentucky Attorney Applauds Legislative Efforts Aimed to Curb Drunk Driving

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Billy Johnson, whose practice includes representation of those harmed by intoxicated drivers, says Kentucky must remain vigilant in the ongoing fight against those who drink and get behind the wheel.

Pikeville, KY Personal Injury Attorney, Billy Johnson

The fight against driving while under the influence or driving while intoxicated must continue until people stop losing their lives in this senseless way.

Well-known Eastern Kentucky personal injury lawyer Billy Johnson commented today on pending legislation aimed at expanding the definition of what constitutes an alcoholic beverage and at increasing penalties for DWI repeat offenders.

“There is no place on our roads for drunk drivers,” remarked Johnson, who tried a case against a drunk driver in 2009 which resulted in a $2.8 million verdict. “The fight against driving while under the influence or driving while intoxicated must continue until people stop losing their lives in this senseless way. The FBI has estimated that every day in this country, people drive drunk almost 300,000 times. That’s terrifying.”

Drunk driving is the single largest cause of motor vehicle related fatalities in Kentucky and accounts for almost half of the total number of motor vehicle related deaths every year. One of those fatalities in 2014 was Brianna Taylor, a 17-year-old Elizabethtown girl who was killed in car wreck caused by drunk driver, Michael Hilton. Hilton was subsequently charged with driving under the influence, two counts of assault, and murder. Although it was the sixth time he had been charged with driving under the influence, the most recent charge was considered his first because more than five years had passed since the last conviction and the “look back period” for prior offenses was only five years. In response, Senator Dennis Parrett drafted Senate Bill 34, which seeks to expand the window from five years to ten years.

“Senate Bill 34 just makes good sense,” observes Johnson. “Hopefully, the House of Representatives will agree with the Senate and pass the bill, making it one step closer to becoming law. Kentucky allows everyone one mistake when it comes to drunk driving. First-time offenders are given that “get out of jail free” card. Second and third offenders get jail time of up to six months or one year. A fourth offense brings a felony conviction. But under current law, none of those offenses can be used against a multiple offender if five years has passed. By increasing the look back window to ten years, DUI convictions remain on a person’s record longer and can be considered during sentencing.”

Johnson is also a supporter of House Bill 43, which adds powdered or crystalline alcohol to the definition of what constitutes an alcoholic beverage. “These days, people can consume alcohol anywhere by just adding water to a powder,” Johnson declared. “The law has to change with the times in order to adequately address society’s problems.”

About the Johnson Law Firm
Founded by Billy Johnson in 1998, the Johnson Law Firm is heavily involved in the community and invites people to stop by to find out for themselves why the firm is known as “the nicest place in town.” Located at 229 Main Street in Pikeville, Kentucky, the firm serves all of Kentucky. For more information or to get help with a potential claim, call 1-855-433-7512.

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