Time for a Change
Information courtesy of Lawrence Taylor - DUIblog
In response to my recent post ("MADDness") about the failure of the two-decades-old "War on Drunk Driving", I've been reminded by readers that it's one thing to say the system doesn't work -- and quite another to offer solutions. Point well taken, so here goes...
But before looking at the solution, let's first understand the problem.
One does not deal with 1000s of DUI clients over the years without drawing certain conclusions:
1. The system, clearly, does not work: despite unfair laws, constitutional violations and increasingly harsh penalties, the problem remains...and people continue to die on the highways.
2. Playing games with statistics, as MADD and the government are so fond of doing, only obscures the problem.
3. The problem is not black-and-white, but involves shades of gray. It is convenient to punish anyone with a .08% blood-alcohol concentration, but neither fair nor productive. It is easy to lump all offenders into the same category of "drunk drivers" and simply adjust jail time by a reading on a machine, but neither fair nor productive.
4. You cannot simply identify what the problem is ("drunk drivers are dangerous"), but who the problem is. The problem is not people who drive with .08% BAC or higher, but people who represent a real danger to others on the highway. Who are they?
The problem is the person who severely abuses alcohol and chooses to drive. You can call him an "alcoholic", but it has been my experience in dealing with those 1000s of clients that there are different kinds of "alcoholics" and that using a simple label is no answer (we do love to put things in neat categories).