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July 25, 2013 at 6:34 AM
Punishments and prevention must be intensified
The Legislature didn’t pass tighter rule changes because of presumed cost increases. [“Guest column: Legislature must do more to end the mayhem caused by drunken drivers,” Opinion, July 21.]
It should have also looked at changes that would cover or reduce these costs. Tickets issued during emphasis patrols should be at least double. People get warned and speed anyway? The public shouldn’t have to pay for stupidity.
If a driver can’t walk the line to the police car, he is drunk, and should go directly to jail on a week’s stay that he or his friends pay for. The costs of the court are mostly avoided.
There should be no time off for celebrities, judges, police, or college athletes. There is really no excuse for repeat offenders: What part of “don’t drink and drive” isn’t understood?
Penalties should be significantly harsher: jail for first offenses, felony status for a second one, deportation for the third. We need a ”zero tolerance” policy for DUI offenders.
If the offender wants an ignition-interlock device, he can pay for it, not the public. We pay for too many peoples’ ignorance already.
Terry Slaton, Federal Way
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 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 2, 2013 at 4:10 AM
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
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