I decided to add a politics category to my blog, which IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m certain no one cares about, but it was something I have stayed clear of in the past. If nothing else, I would like to add my own 2 cents to the world. And maybe it will spark some interesting debate.
Today I was giving some thought to drunk driving. Drunk driving is either up or down, depending on which publication you reference. But I think if you look at the overall stats, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll see that itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still a significant problem. And I think we can all agree that DUIÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s are not taken as seriously as they should be. Why should one individual have the right to endanger myself and my family because they are too self-absorbed to avoid driving after they have been drinking? IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not a saint in this either. I can think of a couple times in my youth when I probably shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have been driving. But that ended before I turned 18. I also have friends that have been arrested for DUI, and to be honest, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not certain they really learned the lesson they needed. So how do we stop paying this a lot of lip-service, and start doing things that would actually have an impact?
The first thing I think makes sense is prevention and education whenever, where ever possible. Obviously, we already have programs in schools to help with this, but I have found that information to be cloudy. So how about this for a rule to live by: if you have more than 1 drink, you should not be driving. If you cannot limit yourself to one drink while out, then you should be making transportation arrangements. Sound too harsh? Is it really infringing on anyone to ask that they limit their alcohol levels to insure the safety of others, and themselves?
Also, why not make the installation and maintenance of an in-house breathalyzer mandatory for any establishment with a liquor license? Any business serving alcohol should be required to have at least one operating breathalyzer machine per 100 customers. What would be the harm?
And obviously, an effective path to eliminating DUI offenses is to start removing those committing the offense from the roads. DUI offenses should have mandatory sentencing.
First offense – 30 days suspended license, required to install breathalyzer ignition on vehicle for 1 year. If you violate within the 1 year mark, you serve the remainder in prison. If you fulfill the obligation, charge is dropped to misdemeanor.
Second offense – 30 days in jail, 1 year suspended license, 3 years probation with breathalyzer ignition. If you violate during the 3 years, you do the remaining term in prison.
Third offense – 90 days in jail, lifetime suspension of drivers license, can be appealed after 10 years.
If we put these into place, we would have more pro-active prevention measures, a solid slap on the wrist for first time offenders (but measures in place to assure against a second offense), and very strict actions to prevent those showing a consistent disregard for the safety of others from being behind the wheel.
And I think it should go without saying that anyone caught screwing with their breathalyzer to get behind the wheel drunk should be given a 1 year sentence in prison and have their license revoked permanently.
I think too often people complain about the impact drunk driving convictions have on their lives, so they clearly are not getting the bigger picture of what impact their actions could have had on the lives of others. Criminal law is not about punishing people. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about protecting the public and setting a precedent. This would follow that idea.
I would love to get feedback on this.
[tags]dui, drunk driving, criminal law[/tags]