May 23, 2013 at 6:34 AM
Businesses should have Breathalyzers
If you and the Legislature really care about stopping the inebriated, why aren’t the ones who sell alcohol required to have Breathalyzers [“Just say yes to tougher DUI laws,” NWThursday, May 16]?
A person convicted of a DUI can be sentenced to have a Breathalyzer in their car, but why not make it easier for everyone? Is the law meant to protect the innocent or to make money for the state from tickets?
People stop for a drink after work and often do not know when they are over the limit. That is not an excuse, but they would be less likely to drive if they knew.
But a Breathalyzer might hurt businesses. We can’t hurt business.
Barbara Perry, Bellingham
May 19, 2013 at 6:35 AM
Something must be done
Olympia should say yes to implement tougher DUI laws. Lately the number of car crashes due to drunken driving has significantly increased. We are not just going to sit back and look at this situation worsening every day.
Something must be done, and now is the moment. I agree with Jerry Large when he says the new legislation should increase sentences for DUI convictions, make the offense a felony on the fourth conviction rather than the fifth, and require installing ignition-interlock devices before a person arrested for a repeat offense is released from jail. [“Just say yes to tougher DUI laws,” NWThursday, May 16.]
After being released from jail, the convicted person should not have the right to drive, regardless of the circumstances. He/she should have his/her driver’s license revoked for at least 10 years.
If we don’t make drastic changes, innocent people will continue to be killed every day because of buzzed people driving when they shouldn’t be.
By hardening the sentence and making the laws that prevent innocent people from being victims of drunken drivers, the number of drunken driving-related accidents will significantly decrease, especially by the drivers who had been previously convicted of DUI.
Natacha Maheshe, Seattle
May 17, 2013 at 8:35 PM
Implement tougher DUI laws
I am frustrated by the government’s insistence that lowering the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) levels will improve Washington roads and deter potential drunken drivers [“DUI bill clears a Senate hurdle; U.S. panel pushes tougher rule,” NWWednesday, May 15].
Because of the harm it can and often does cause, drunken driving is an unforgivable offense. We need more tangible, immediate penalties. I agree with Republican state Sen. Pam Roach that making drunken driving a felony after four convictions is an underwhelming change. In some countries, individuals who are convicted of a single DUI have their licenses revoked indefinitely.
Lowering the legal BAC will not alter the amount people believe they can drink before driving. Until there is a zero-tolerance policy, one or two drinks will still seem reasonable. Plus, as stated, arrests are currently made whenever there is “evidence of impairment,” even under .08 BAC.
The article twice referenced “repeat DUI offenders,” as their target audience. But are the repeat offenders actually blowing a BAC between .05 and .079? Or are they, as I suspect, far above the current limit? The article failed to address this key issue.
Mackenzie Engel, Seattle
May 14, 2013 at 7:06 AM
Is alcoholism a disease?
Using the “alcoholism is a disease” catch phrase when speaking about drunken driving is insulting and misleading [“Editorial: Proceed with caution on DUI legislation,” Opinion, May 13].
Alcoholism mixed with driving is a strange disease indeed. It kills other people rather than the sufferer.
Stephen Gins, Kenmore
May 6, 2013 at 7:03 AM
Alcoholism must be treated like a disease
In my opinion, implementing stiffer DUI penalties, such mandatory jail time, is not the answer for drunken drivers [“Despair. Pain. Resolve.,” page one, May 1]. I want to preface my comments by saying I had a brother who was an alcoholic and ended up committing suicide, and now a family member who got picked up for DUI.
Breathalyzers, financial penalties and jail time are neither the fix nor deterrents. I can guarantee my brother wouldn’t have cared.
Alcoholism is a disease and needs to be treated as such. It’s like cancer; early detection and treatment may save the person. How about making every place (like bars) require people to take a breath test before leaving? How about more education about the effects of alcohol shown in schools?
We’ve become a nation that romanticizes drinking. Look at any ad for alcohol; it shows the person having fun or finding a beautiful person.
Spend money for mandatory treatment centers — rehab centers to specifically treat the problem. Deep down, alcoholics have no intention of hurting anyone. They’re just not cognizant of their situation.
Take a look at Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn He got a DUI; do you think he really intended to be driving?
The actions being talked about for DUI aren’t going to fix the problem. Take it from someone who has seen the worst with alcohol. It’s a disease, so attack it as such.
Richard Charlson, Curlew
May 2, 2013 at 8:04 AM
Schulte family’s resilience doesn’t go without notice
Thank you for Christine Clarridge’s amazing article [“Despair. Pain. Resolve.,” page one, May 1].This tragedy for the Schulte family has been so overwhelming in so many ways. You have given voice to their amazing resilience and deep strength. We cannot help but respond to Dan Schulte’s words with compassion and love. And what a witness to our sense of community — we share their feelings!
Rev. Marvin Eckfeldt, Kent
April 25, 2013 at 8:02 AM
Do not take away right to buy alcohol
Stripping DUI offenders of the right to buy alcohol will be even less effective than the laws banning kids from buying booze and cigarettes [“Editorial: Tighten DUI laws but don’t rush,” Opinion, April 24]. Carding is ridiculously easy to defeat and putting an interlock device on a car or an alcohol-detecting bracelet on a offender has to be foolproof or they’re useless.
I don’t normally agree with guest columnist John Carlson much but taking the car away from offenders has to be, at some point, part of the fix to stopping repeat-DUI offenders.
Maybe for a first offense, put a nonremovable boot on the car right in the driveway or parking spot for 30 days, or impound the car and then increase the penalty with each offense until taking the car away is the only option.
Don Curtis, Clinton
April 22, 2013 at 7:31 AM
Sobriety checkpoints are effective
In their justified desire to do something to curtail drunken driving, it would be useful if the Gov. Inslee and legislators were guided more by science than emotions in determining which measures to consider [“Inslee, lawmakers plan DUI crackdown,” page one, April 17].
Sobriety checkpoints have been proven to be the single-most effective deterrent in keeping drunken drivers off the road. Punitive actions like more jail time and expensive sensors in cars do not work as well.
It is said that “the concerns of civil libertarians” have kept sobriety checkpoints from being instituted in Washington state. There are all kinds of trade-offs in a democratic society. Protecting innocent citizens from drunken drivers is worth the price.
Abraham Bergman, Vashon Island
April 17, 2013 at 5:34 PM
Legislation could impact families
Statistics show that most DUI offenders are male and many are married and old enough to receive Social Security benefits.
Proponents of the legislation being considered need to be reminded that jailed DUI offenders will have their Social Security benefits taken from them — and their families — while they are in jail [“Inslee, lawmakers plan DUI crackdown,” front page, April 17].
Consequently, it will be the families dependent on the offenders’ income who will also suffer if this legislation is made into law. Is that fair?
Saundra J. Raynor, Olympia
April 13, 2013 at 8:03 AM
Alert drivers when DUI offender is nearby
Solution to stop drunken drivers before they leave someone dead [“Governor, lawmakers working on changes to state DUI laws,” NWWednesday, April 10]:
• Change the “privilege” of driving to allow persons convicted of DUI to be stopped at any time and given a sobriety test.
• Require those persons to carry wireless-identification devices at all times when driving or riding in motor vehicles.
• Make the wireless reader available as a plug-in to smartphones so everyone knows when a person who has been convicted of a DUI is nearby.
• Don’t water down the enforcement details to make steps one through three impotent.
David Smead, Seattle
Make first offense felony; it’s worth the money
So “getting aggressive” about DUI means giving people three opportunities to kill others via drunken driving instead of five (five DUIs is the current felony level)? [“Governor, lawmakers working on changes to state DUI laws,” NWWednesday, April 10]. How about making the first offense a felony? How about zero tolerance?
My dad was on his way to work when he was hit head-on by a drunken driver while stopped at an intersection. He was injured, but survived.
In the 20 years since, he has seen three of his children get married, welcomed five grandchildren and enjoyed family birthdays, reunions, school band concerts, Veteran’s Day assemblies and countless other ordinary and extraordinary moments with loved ones. We were lucky.
Making the first DUI a felony would put teeth into state DUI laws. We’d have to build more prisons to hold offenders, but maybe, just maybe, when people see that the state means business, they’ll choose not to risk driving under the influence.
So, Gov. Inslee and friends — tax me, please. I’m more than happy to pay the price to get these selfish fools off the roads, because the cost of wrist-slapping DUI laws is already too high, and no amount of money can bring back a life taken by a drunken driver.
Beth Shepard, Kent
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