Congressmen Cohen, Chabot Introduce DUI Reporting Act

March 27, 2019
Press Release
Bill seeks to stop repeat drunk drivers from being charged as first offenders

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) today introduced the DUI Reporting Act to address the loophole in our nation’s drunken-driving laws that enables repeat DUI offenders to be charged and tried as first-time offenders because of inconsistent reporting.

The bill has been endorsed by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and has in the past received overwhelming bipartisan support.

Congressman Cohen pointed to a 2015 case just outside his district in which 
two teenagers from Memphis were killed by a drunk driver who had accrued seven DUI charges but had been allowed to plead guilty five times to a first-offense DUI charge.

The bill would harmonize law enforcement reporting of DUI arrests, allowing police officers anywhere immediate access to the latest and most accurate data, including pending cases, at the time of traffic stops.

“This bill will save lives by enacting common-sense, bipartisan reforms to harmonize reporting standards for DUI offenses across the United States,” Congressman Cohen said today. “Repeat drunk drivers should not be getting back out on the roads because of a reporting loophole. It should not matter where you are caught driving drunk. If you drive drunk, previous offenses should be recorded and penalties should increase so innocent lives can be saved. The accrual of multiple first-time DUI offenses is unacceptable and must be brought to an end.”

“One of the most impactful steps we can take to combat the serious threat to our families and communities posed by drunk and impaired drivers is to facilitate the ability of states to share information about DUI convictions,” said Congressman Chabot. “By most estimates, approximately a third of all DUI offenses are committed by repeat offenders.  Unfortunately, the lack of a centralized list of DUI offenses that states can reference can lead to older convictions or charges from other states being overlooked, which in turn can lead to lighter punishments or a quicker restoration of driving privileges than the law would otherwise allow. The legislation we are introducing today will help make our communities safer by providing states with an accurate and complete list of DUI convictions, thereby making it easier for states to keep habitual drunk drivers off our streets.”