Nov 18, 2009

The Ying and Yang of D.U.I. Laws

Legislators in all states talk tough about punishing drunk drivers.  But to really evaluate lawmakers' attitudes towards drunk driving you have to look at what they do, not at what they say.
New York is poised to become the second state (along with Arizona) to punish drunk driving as a felony if a child is a passenger in the car.  Why the well-being of child passengers is so much more important than that of adults sort of escapes me, but I suppose it's easier to garner votes when you can say you're protecting kids.
At the other end of the country and spectrum, CA resdient WIlliam Simon was charged a few months ago with drunk driving for the NINTH time.  OK, Simon's an alcoholic, we get it.  But why, despite his 8 earlier convictions, did SImon still have a valid CA Driver's License?  The answer is that a drunk driver has to kill or seriously injure someone in order to lose his driver's license for good, and Simon hasn't done that-- yet.  
A lawyer who heads the CA DUI Lawyers Association argues that taking away licenses would be meaningless because alcoholics will just drive without them.  What a great argument.  I guess we should repeal the laws punishing murder, because people continue to commit murder anyway.