Skip to comments.DUI bill dies, no doubt from embarrassment
Posted on 02/18/2008 6:15:04 PM PST by elkfersupper
Finally, common sense prevails in dealing with the state's laws on driving under the influence of liquor and drugs.
A bill steeped in election-year, get-tough-on-crime grandstanding has quietly gone to the burial ground for bad bills in the state Legislature. It failed to make it out of the Senate Transportation Committee before Tuesday's deadline.
Senate Bill 6402 would have required people convicted of a DUI infraction to put fluorescent-yellow license plates on their cars for one year after having their driving privileges restored.
Who knows why overreaching bills even get a hearing in Olympia, as this one did last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Maybe it's in the spirit of Shylock's demands for debt repayment of a pound of flesh in Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice."
(Actually, some opponents preferred a "Scarlet Letter" analogy, a reference to another literary classic -- Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1850 novel in which the heroine must wear the letter "A" as punishment for adultery.)
The gaudy plates would theoretically warn the motoring public and law enforcement that someone convicted of DUI is on the road, even though that person already has jumped through the hoops demanded by tough state laws and has had driving privileges restored.
That embarrassment factor seems like piling on when DUI offenders can already face jail time, even if for a day, higher insurance rates, mandatory counseling and suspended or restricted driving privileges.
And once those privileges are restored, the state Department of Licensing requires a person to drive only a motor vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device. That certainly would seem a more effective approach in dealing with post-DUI driving considerations than a license plate that glows in the dark.
You know this legislation overreached when even Mothers Against Drunk Driving declined to support it. They also prefer measures such as interlocks and sobriety checkpoints.
If lawmakers want to ratchet up DUI enforcement, they should have approved the checkpoints that were requested of them by Gov. Chris Gregoire.
This short 60-day session in Olympia has too many pressing issues to waste valuable time on feel-good legislation.
There's a joke in Olympia during sessions that no bill is really dead until the Legislature has adjourned for good. Even then, it's a good idea to allow 24 hours to make sure they don't come back.
This is one bad example of government excess that should stay buried.
* Members of the Yakima Herald-Republic editorial board are Michael Shepard, Sarah Jenkins and Bill Lee.
My whole point in this thread is that drunk driving is make out to be the most serious thing on the road when in actuality it is involved in only a minority of the fatal crashes.
I feel alcohol laws are politically motivated because the incidence of it in fatal crashes doesn’t call for the punishment to be so much worst then other causes.
What better type issue out there for the government to get more control? They can raise taxes to spend more on the Police and their special teams, they can fine the offenders tons. They can make money off the driving schools. Plus the politicians get to look like they care about the public and get votes from it.
A minority? I'd like to see data on that, but I think what makes it seem more serious is that it is preventable. Whether or not there are fatalities, impaired people just should never have been behind the wheel. There are some causes that are avoidable, others not. How many of the other crashes involved factors not preventable? Alcohol laws are politically motivated, like many other rules and laws. Right or wrong. I agree, for some politicians, it's win-win, they look good and have little to do with it, but pat themselves on the back and take the approvals. But where do we draw the line? Sure, the .09 level driver might be fine, or maybe not, but the repeat offender who doesn't stop till he tops .20 and has multiple offenses is quite another. And that is preventable.
They are the same color that New Mexico (or maybe Arizona) plates were for a while. Visitors from that state got extra scrutiny until the cops got close enough to see they weren't Ohio drunk plates.
I have NO sympathy whatsoever for anyone who gets a DUI. I don't care if it's 2 or 3 beers or 2 cases, get them off the road.
Sure would be interesting to see those flourescent yellow plates in the parking lot of your local pub though ... wouldn’t it.
And that was the point.
No intelligent person is going to give ANY credibility to a website created and maintained by drunks trying to excuse their own selfish, "me first", sociopathic, homicidal behavior.
Give it up. I know first-hand the dangers and terrors of drinking and driving. Both of my parents were alcoholics. You drunks will get ZERO sympathy or accommodation from me.
See stats in post # 29.
Less than a majority (30%) during the week -- but a clear majority (53%) on the weekend.
All of which, as you point out, are totally preventable.
30% is a minority.
It still comes out to somewhere under 40% overall. Statistically speaking, then, over 60% of fatalies are caused by sober drivers, making sobriety a bigger problem. Maybe we should be fighting sobriety instead...? :-)
But really... this license plate idea was wrong. IT's NOT THE CAR that broke the law, and it's not always the drunk that drives that car. Dumb idea.
The problem is simple: We're expecting people to make good judgments, but we also know that drinking affects judgment. We're relying on people to make good choices who are sometimes ~incapable~ of doing so. Of course, no drunk ever thinks he's going to crash or get caught "this time".
It's not the driving part that is the problem, it's the drinking part. It'll continue to be a problem as long as bars have parking lots.
Why not attack it from the drinking side of the problem? After a DUI, ban that person from buying or consuming alcohol in public for some amount of time. Say, a year for a first offense, five years for a second... whatever... some amount of time. Issue them a new license that indicates (color?) that they are no longer trusted to buy alcohol. They have, by their actions, reverted to the status of a "minor".
I would guess (don't have stats on hand, but I think its a good guess) that the biggest part of the worst DUI's come from people hanging out as regulars in their local bar, having too many, and driving home. This would stop that. The local PD could even be sending out a list of names to bars and convenience stores and such, of people that are restricted. That way... bartenders know who they can't sell to anymore. Maybe they'll find a way to get somebody else to buy them booze and sneak it home and get drunk there. Well... first of all they aren't on the road like they were. It's already a smaller problem.
I think it would work better. I think a drunk would fear the loss of the drink more than the loss of a license. Furthermore... taking away somebody's car and license, even when they're sober, just makes the problem worse. They'll just drive w/o the license, and they'll eventually get busted for that. They'll lose a job and begin that downhill spiral into worse and worse behavior. Again... if they're driving sober they're not the problem. Attack the drink, not the car.
I don’t even drink. I just know a government extortion scam when I see one.
why is this an issue... take the license away... period...
let the cabbies drive them around.
I hate MADD!!!
You said cell phones caused more deaths, not more accidents.
Did you ever actually read The Scarlet Letter? There were a few lessons in there that you apparently missed. Hint: It wasn't a "good example of local governance and enforcement" guide.
It’s amazing the number of Prohibitionsists that survived the 1920’s.
I do like your "bust 'em back to minor status" idea, but I expect that enforcement would be costly -- worth it, but costly.
But only as long as they're doing so. The impairment disappears instantly when the phone or make-up are put away, whereas the drunk is drunk for the whole trip.
Could it be that too many politicians would have to tag their cars also??
Lol, you chickenshit.