Drunk Driving: Stopping Repeat Offenders
How long must it be and how many people must die before we make the punishment for drunk driving fit the deadly serious crime that it is. If America is serious about putting an end to drunk driving, the first thing we must do is to stop calling it an “accident”. When someone decides to get drunk and then get behind the wheel of a car, it is anything but accidental. It is a deliberate act of irresponsibility that often ends in unspeakable violence. Drunk driving all too often results in a crash, a casualty, a tragedy.
It is still legally a crime, even if the driver makes it home without hurting anyone.
Driving is not a right, it is a privilege that carries a number of responsibilities, including safety for yourself and others. If you violate those responsibilities, you don’t deserve to drive.
Someone is killed in an alcohol-related crash every thirty minutes on our roads. During the holiday season, the rate goes up alarmingly. Repeat offenders, the ones most likely to kill someone, are let off with little or no punishment and allowed to continue drinking and driving.
In an effort to curtail the damage that these repeat offenders cause, I propose the following solutions.
If you’re pulled over and the breathalyzer test indicates that your blood alcohol level is over the legal limit, or if you refuse to take the test, your license is taken away on the spot. John Gavin agrees that “Since it is estimated that only one out of two thousand drunk drivers actually is arrested, the key to solving this problem is convincing people not to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol in the first place. Losing a license is a greater deterrent than paying a fine or even going to jail for a short time” (67). The fact is that most people depend on the automobile. If you lost your license, you suddenly have to find a new way to get to work.
You can’t even get to the store. Your life is changed completely. This in it self would deter criminals and protect the public. Yet it is only one part of the total solution.
Drunk driving is a crime of unique proportions. Few offenses are as horrifying, yet none is easier to commit.
The typical weapons are not involved. No planning is required. Malicious intent is not necessary. That is why it will take each of us, using every tool at our disposal, to see it defeated.
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Can Put an End to DRUNK DRIVING.” USA Today Mar. 1992:66-68.
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Zeman, Ned and Howard, Lucy. “Still Drinking, Still Driving.” Newsweek Oct. 19, 1992:8.