Every session the Missouri state legislature reviews some of the state's current laws and decides whether the laws need to be adjusted. One adjustment to state law may occur because of the withholding of federal funds for highway improvements. Penalties for repeat drunk driving in Missouri could become harsher in the future.

Drivers in Missouri who have had their licenses revoked because of a repeat drunk driving offense are allowed to drive under certain circumstances under current law. Currently, a driver who has had his or her license revoked can still drive to work, to school, to alcohol or drug treatment, to medical appointments, to an ignition interlock provider and for others reasons approved by the court. The current law may change.

The Missouri Senate recently passed a bill that would provide harsher license revocation penalties for drivers with repeat drunk driving convictions. The proposed law would allow drivers with revoked licenses to drive to work, school, ignition interlock providers and addiction treatment. The bill would move state law closer to current federal guidelines that do not allow repeat drunk driving offenders to drive to medical appointments or another reason approved by the court.

The bill would also increase the number of days a convicted drunk driver is not allowed to drive. The days are referred to as "hard walk" days, and the bill would increase the number of non-driving days from 30 to 45 days.

If the state's law on revoked licenses for repeat drunk driving convictions is brought in line with the federal guidelines, Missouri could receive additional federal funding for highway construction. Missouri could receive an additional $16 million in federal funding.

In order for the bill to go the House, the Missouri Senate must vote on the bill again.

Source: The Smithville Herald, "Harsher DWI restrictions get first-round approval," Jan. 20, 2012