Iowa family disappointed drunken driving bill died during funnel
Written by Michelle Corless, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
WAVERLY (KWWL) -
When the Bigler family gets together, there's always a family member missing. The youngest member, Drake, was just 5 months old when he died in 2012 after the car he was in was hit by a drunk driver.
"We don't want any other person or any other family to have to go through the loss and the heartbreak that we did," said Lloyd Bigler, Drake's great-grandfather.
Since Drake's death, the Bigler family has been fighting for new drunken driving laws. Lloyd Bigler lives in Waverly and has been working with his legislators to come up with improved laws for Iowa.
"It was our determination that if we could do anything to help other people not have to go through what we did for our loss that we were going to do it," said Bigler. "It was worth it."
One representative he spoke with was Sandy Salmon. She says she was moved by Bigler's story.
"It really highlighted the real problem we have with drunk driving," said Salmon, a Republican state representative from Janesville.
Salmon sponsored a bill in the Iowa House which would have increased the mandatory minimum amount of time someone spends in jail after being caught drinking and driving from 48 hours to 7 days. The bill also would have increased the minimum fine from $1250 to $3750. That's just for a first offense. It gets harsher for repeat offenders.
"When you get behind the car it could be just as well as getting behind a machine gun," said Salmon. "You have a lethal, deadly weapon in your hands."
The bill failed to make it out of committee this week and due to the legislature's self-imposed funnel date -- it can't become law this year. Salmon plans to run for re-election this fall and hopes to pick up the issue again next session.
The Biglers say they won't stop their fight, either.
"We're not going away," said Lloyd Bigler.
To read our original story with the Bigler family, click here.
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