Saturday, December 18, 2010

Solving DUI Problems

Gregg at ECW has a piece about the defense of an accused drunk driver that he was able to rescue from the jaws of pre-trial conviction and return his client to normal citizen status.  DUI is the new crie de couer for the obsessively over controlling of our society.  In one way, it is way too easy.  Mothers Against Drunk Driving doesn't have a version on the other side.  No one is going to advocate for drunk driving but in our search for witches to burn (otherwise known as drivers) in our new crusade, we also catch up people who are innocent and force them to prove that innocence.  Usually we do this by binding them up and throwing them in a pond.  Because water is pure, if they are guilty the water will reject them, and if they are innocent they drown.  Okay, maybe it is slightly more technical, but that is only if you believe the government.
So, here are my solutions to reducing the drunk driving rates in Montana.  First, we lead the country in DUIs per mile traveled.  Let's take the third Saturday of every month and require everyone to drive to a police station where a breath test will be administered and if you are clean, you then have to drive 500 miles that day.  This has the advantage of increasing the numerator so that we won't be leading the country any longer.
Next, I propose that we cut DUIs in half by giving all the cops in the state Saturday off.  No cops means no arrests.  Ordinary citizens would be instructed not to drive on Saturday night because we surrendered the streets to drunks. But, just like in the '70s when we quit picking up hitchhikers because they all seemed to be serial killers, and people quit hitchhiking because the only people who picked them up were serial killers, eventually with only drunk drivers on the road on Saturday night they will only kill each other.  Win-win, and no costs for incarceration or treatment.
Lastly, you need to understand that drinking and driving is not necessarily such a bad thing.  For instance, Montana has found that one out of three highway fatalities has alcohol involved.  Not necessarily under the influence, as for example the driver who is texting, runs a red light and kills a driver of another car who had two drinks.  If you think about it, this means that you are twice as likely to die if you and the other driver are both stone cold sober, than if one of you has a drink.  Therefore, in the same spirit of you should always bring a bomb on board any plane you fly, because what are the chances that there are two bombs, we should all have a drink or two and go for a drive.
This solution to a vexing problem is offered gratis as a public service.


Auntie Lib said...

ROFLMAO!!!! That's what I like about you - always thinking outside the box.

This is an issue that really concerns me though, because the emphasis seems to be on punishment rather than prevention, and always ends up with using a broader brush than necessary.

I have a daughter who is an alcoholic, and to date, to the best of my knowledge, has not had a DUI ticket, but has been driving while seriously impaired on several occasions. (In fact, we took our car away from her the last time she was driving drunk with three kids in the car!) She has been in treatment to little or no avail, and has been taken to the hospital at least four times with a BAL of over .34 (no, I am not kidding or exaggerating!) Yet there is no way to prevent her from getting behind the wheel.

You're more knowledgeable about this than I, but I suspect that most of the people who get DUI tickets and convictions have a known history of problems with alcohol and or drugs, yet are still allowed to drive. Brad Johnson is another case in point. Everybody knew he was out there driving while seriously impaired, but since there was nothing that could be done until he broke a law, everyone on the road was at risk.

Since driving is not a "right" isn't there some way to address the prevention issue?

Steve said...

You hit the nail right on the head. There is no prevention only punishment in the legal system, at least until you hit the felony DUI level (X4) then you will be sent to WATCH which is the best treatment program that I know of. It's a six month intensive inpatient treatment that is in Warm Springs for men and Billings for women. But again, why do we have to wait for a felony to begin serious treatment.
The other treatment that is offered, such as the ACT class is totally useless, and MCDC only works as long as you are already set on giving up alcohol to begin with.
In your case, I hate to say it, but you probably will need to let your daughter know that you will no longer tolerate her drunken driving, and that if you think she is driving under the influence, you will call the cops on her. She will probably just try and hide it from you after that, but it's the best you can do.
Alternatively, if your daughter recognizes her problem and wants to get treatment, the next best to WATCH is R-Tec. Their website and application page is
They are a residential treatment program for 60 days followed by continuing course of treatment for up to 9 months. They have limited space, but you can help her to try and get on the waiting list.
Good luck Auntie, this is always hadrd, and with your own child doubly tough. But if she does turn her life around, it will be well worth the effort.