Thursday, January 04, 2007

40,000 drunks

Last year the State of Minnesota had 40,000 DUI arrests. The record number was cited as a horrible mile stone and a sign of an increasing problem by such groups as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The number was further cited as reason for even more severe controls on drunk driving with even harsher prison sentences and mandatory breathalyzers in ALL vehicles.

Two days later another statistic was published showing an almost 20% decline in traffic fatalities during the same period.

Is this a sign of an increasing problem? Is it the result of more rigorous enforcement of our current laws? The drunk driver who killed Timberwolves forward Malik Sealy 5 years ago was busted for drunk driving this year shortly after his release from prison. He did not kill anyone this time and is back in jail.

Are we making progress? I think so. I commonly hear people decline drinks citing a need to maintain sobriety. I object to passing more laws and adding more burden on the public when we still have work to be done with our current laws and public education.


Balloon Pirate said...

Unfortunately, our society is far more interested in punishment than treatment.

And it doesn't help when reporters describe alcoholic behavior with friendly terms like 'thirsty.'

Until we spend more time and money on prevention and treatment, this will continue to be a problem.


Old Man Rich said...

I'm a fairly regular drunk. And I don't drink drive. Its stupid, dangerous to others and you deserve to get caught & punished.
Over here we get fairly aggressive anti drink drive campaigns. Raised Awareness is at least as effective as increased punishment. The main reason I dont drink & drive is not so much the risk of being caught as the knowledge that its 'wrong'.

Gary said...

UK drink driving laws are pretty straightforward, get stopped, get breath tested, get arrested, compulsory big fine and one year ban - do it again for a big, big fine and a five year ban and driving test resit.

Like the last poster its pretty much a bad, bad thing to do now, you get no sympathy from anyone if you're caught and you'll get long hard looks from friends if you leave a pub and they know you're going to drive.

And its been that way for at least 35 years now so that the younger generation just don't do it at all, its very hard to find an under 30 who will drink drive - the most common culprit are people of my age group who still remember what it was like to drive to a pub, drink all night and then drive home without a second thought.

jj mollo said...

MADD never makes a nickel when they acknowledge improvements in driver safety. I do, however, think that existing laws should be enforced rigorously.