Public officials have failed to protect the public from drunken drivers
As one who has lived within two blocks of the horrendous DUI-instigated crash and deaths last Monday, I was outraged and discouraged by the statement of one of our state legislators in the excellent article Sunday addressing state DUI laws [“Do state DUI laws go far enough?” page one, March 31].
I have 24 years of service in the Army, 21 as military police officer, and have seen more than a few DUI-related incidents. The statement of Rep. Roger Goodman, the chairman of the House Public Safety Committee, “I don’t know if we could have prevented a tragedy like that,” exemplifies why our officials have failed to protect the public from people who appear to easily flout the law and drive whenever, wherever and in whatever condition they please.
That drunken driver should have never have been allowed to remain on the street after his last arrest. At the very least, impound the offender’s car and release it only after the offender has paid the impound fees and paid to have an ignition interlock device installed. To anyone with an ounce of common sense, we could have done a lot more to save two lives.
Your solution, Mr. Goodman, to think of how to be “smart,” is precisely the problem that prevents us from reaching effective solutions and saving lives that do not have to be lost. Passing laws that are not enforced and wringing our hands over preventable tragedies is a tragedy in itself.
– John P. Bordenet, Redmond
Legislators should consider wheel boots
Just as with gun control, steps to deal with the incidences of DUIs on the road will never be perfect. But as with gun control, that’s no excuse for failing to enact reasonable measures that can reduce the carnage.
I suggest putting wheel boots on all vehicles owned by persons whose sentences include the requirement that breath-tested ignition locks be installed. Part of the fee for said installation would be a certification that the lock is working properly before removal of the wheel boot. Boots themselves would require a per-day fee to compensate localities for the expense of acquiring, storing and maintaining them. Ten dollars a day would probably do it.
Legislators should also consider a boot process for people arrested for DUI, like the woman who scurried back to her car, still drunk, to drive it into an innocent fellow citizen. Rules for pre-conviction use of such a process would probably have to be less strict, of course, but surely there’s a place for society to protect itself from such outrageous and costly irresponsibility.
– George Randels, Port Townsend
An engineering solution
If engineers can create smart cars that don’t get into accidents, they can also create devices that will lock the ignition of a car when a person is intoxicated so they can’t drive.
Courts can make it mandatory for every car.
– Wendy Haber, Seattle