“Some recent study just named Wisconsin the second drunkest state in the country,” Schmidt says. “That’s a disgrace. The amount of people who are dying, who are sick, and who have an alcohol problem is disturbing. It should be registering with everyone by now, that this is not the right way to do things.”
Schmidt says increased OWI Patrols are in effect, but punishment needs to be stricter.
“The harsher the penalties, and the more severe judgment people get, the better chance we have of changing behavior," he said. "If someone takes a gun and kills someone, they got to prison for a long time. But, a driver can get behind the wheel while impaired, smash into somebody else, and say it’s an accident. That’s not an accident. It’s a deliberate act that endangered people.”
“That young lady killed someone and could possibly walk away with maybe 4 years of jail, because it was a first offense?” Tania said. “That’s not enough.”
Tania believes the new law that would permanently revoke a driving license after four OWI’s is a great measure, called for a stronger punishment for the first OWI.
“What letters can we write?” she said. “What can we say to the governor and the powers that be, who make these decisions and laws, so they can feel how serious and damaging this is? It’s affected so many people. But nobody hears about that. You don't hear much about the family members who have to go on.”
Like Candace Franckowiak’s young son and daughter, who’ve been forced to live the rest of their lives without their mom.
“Every Christmas, birthday and milestone in their life that comes to pass, she’s not here,” Tania said. “Every day we wake up knowing that our life is the way it is, because some stranger changed it, with one single, reckless decision.”
The new “4-strikes-and-you’re-out law” means that anyone who drives after their license has been revoked could face a year in jail and hefty fines.