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Diageo Applauds Wisconsin Legislature and Governor Jim Doyle for Their Efforts to Combat Drunk Driving

MILWAUKEE, Dec. 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Diageo, the world's leading spirits, wine and beer company, applauds the Wisconsin legislature for passing DUI reform bill SB-66 yesterday and commends Governor Jim Doyle for committing to sign this critical legislation into law. The revised bill, which does not include the previously proposed tax hikes on distilled spirits, increases penalties for drunk driving, offers treatment options for offenders, and is aimed at preventing individuals from operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI).

Referred to as the Drunk Driving Reform Package, the bill's public safety measures include protections for Wisconsin taxpayers.  The estimated $15 million cost for the increased penalties will be paid by those who break the law: the bill will raise court costs for drunken drivers as well as raise the cost of reinstating their driver's license.

"We commend the Wisconsin legislature and Governor Doyle for passing this meaningful legislation to combat drunk driving without relying on hardworking taxpayers to cover the costs," said Josh Sanders, Senior Director of State Government Relations, Diageo North America. "We hope this bill is signed quickly, and we at Diageo remain committed to keeping our roads safe."

DUI reform bill SB-66 makes a first offense OWI a crime if someone under the age of 16 is in the car and makes a fourth offense a felony if it happens within five years of a previous offense. The bill also expands the use of Ignition Interlock Devices for all repeat drunk drivers and for first-time offenders with blood-alcohol levels of 0.15 or greater. 

In 2008, 234 people were killed by drunk drivers in Wisconsin and another 4,000 were injured, making cracking down on drunk driving a top priority for state lawmakers and local officials.

Diageo strongly supports measures that combat drunk driving and is working with legislators to pass laws in the states that do not have comprehensive drunk driving programs.

About Diageo

Diageo (Dee-AH-Gee-O) is the world's leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, wines and beer categories. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff, J&B, Baileys, Cuervo, Tanqueray, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards wines.

Diageo is a global company, trading in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE).

For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at Diageo.com. For our global resource that promotes responsible drinking through the sharing of best practice tools, information and initiatives, visit DRINKiQ.com.

Celebrating life, every day, everywhere.

SOURCE Diageo

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