Every year drunken drivers kill thousands of people, injure thousands more, devastate innocent families and destroy their property. In 2010, 10,228 people died in alcohol-related accidents, almost a full third of all traffic fatalities that year. This is irresponsible behavior that shouldn’t be tolerated as “business as usual” in our culture. Many other countries, including European countries where wine is ubiquitous, have taken steps to reduce the carnage. One measure that has worked is lowering the allowable BAC to .05. The NHTSA has a study of international DUI laws that states “The illegal BAC level has been found to have an effect on impaired driving crashes”. Another step is tougher punishments with higher fines and longer license suspensions. It’s time for the US to follow suit. Any DUI accident that injures or kills people should be prosecuted as a violent felony and result in significant jail time. For first or second offenses increasingly high fines, long license suspensions, DUI classes, and mandatory use of an ignition interlock afterward seem reasonable, and a third offense should be a felony. The powerful liquor lobby will undoubtedly object to a .05 BAC but it doesn’t have to deal with the agony of injuries and deaths, or the cost of accidents, caused by drunken drivers. Our lawmakers represent us, not the liquor companies.
No, I’m not being socialist. I’m holding people responsible for their actions. A liberal would probably suggest banning all cars that have engines over 200 horsepower or mag wheels (they’re so scary looking).