House Bill 2900 Passes - Adds Fines For Drunk Drivers Who Refuse Breath Test


The following press release was issued by State Representative Randy Miller's office after the unanimous passage of House Bill 2900. Crime Victims United members Anne and Bruce Pratt and Janet Lovelace took leading roles in working for the bill.

State Representative Randy Miller
July 10, 2003 NEWS RELEASE

Tougher Penalties for Drunk Drivers-Bill Headed to Governor 

(Salem) "Passage of bills like House Bill 2900 will continue to send the message that drivers are expected to drive safe and sober or pay the price," said Janet Lovelace of Eugene after the Oregon Senate passed HB 2900 today. The bill imposes a $500-$1000 penalty on drivers suspected of driving under the influence of intoxicants who refuse to take a Breathalyzer test. Lovelace's 12-year old daughter Katie was killed by a hit and run driver in 2000. 

Senator Charles Starr (R-Hillsboro) and Senator Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day) carried the bill on the Senate floor. It passed 22-0, with 8 members not present. Starr told the Senate chamber Oregon has made a lot of progress in recent years with a decline in DUII related homicides and injuries, "however, it's starting to creep up again and we simply can't let this happen. There are some who are just not getting the message." 

10 other states currently have a similar law on the books. Senator Ferrioli urged his colleagues to vote for HB 2900, "because it will take drunk drivers off the road and possibly subject them to the same sanctions that might save some lives in Oregon." 

Over the 4th of July holiday weekend, Oregon State Police arrested over 100 drivers for DUII, nearly a 50 % jump from the year before. There were approximately 25,000 DUII arrests in Oregon last year and around 3,000 people refused to take a breath test. Under the current law, if a suspect refuses to blow they face a one-year suspension of their driver's license. 

"Passage of this bill is a significant step in targeting those who endanger all Oregonians by choosing to drive under the influence of intoxicants. House Bill 2900 has given law enforcement an additional tool to identify those 3000 individuals and remove them from our roadways," said Anne Pratt of Springfield. 

Pratt and her husband Bruce Pratt lost their son Brian Hood to a drunk driver in 1998. The Pratt's and Lovelace requested the legislation and worked countless hours with lawmakers to see it succeed. Representative Randy Miller (R-West Linn) who sponsored the bill, gives the victims credit for "bringing us a bill that will hopefully prevent other families from grieving." 

HB 2900 raises up to $5 million for the 2003-2005 budget cycle. It also sets up a special fund at State Police to help enforce DUII laws and maintain intoxilyzer machines. City and county law enforcement agencies would also benefit from the new revenue. HB 2900 passed the House 57-0 in late May. It now goes on to the Governor's desk for his signature.

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