Saturday, September 5, 2009

Parsing, Tinkering At The Margins Make Some OWI Reforms Farcical

Bullied by lobbyists, and fearful of backlash from constituents enabled to drink and drive by a boozy culture and weak laws, Wisconsin legislators continue to consider OW reforms that edge close to meaningful change - - but fail to address the problem.

A new example; proposals to change Wisconsin's unique and embarrassing state law that now treats a first offense as a mere ticket to a misdemeanor - - like it is in the other 49 states - - but only if the offender has a minor in the car.

So it's still only a ticket if the driver has Grandma in the car?

What about the risks posed to people in other vehicles? Or pedestrians. Or cyclists?

The point is that an impaired motorist endangers himself or herself, and others nearby, and that should be a crime when it is exposed.

Other examples of this legislative timidity?

Making only some repeat offenses felonies, depending on the time frame in which the offenses happen.

Or perhaps requiring some repeat offenders to have and use an ignition lock on the car that can measure alcohol content in the motorist's breath.

Legislators have to stop pussy-footing around and make Wisconsin's laws tough enough to start saving lives.

Anything less is a waste of time.


Anonymous said...

We probably disagree as to the farcical nature of these reforms, but I think everyone should know that the people who drink and drive with kids in their car are, by and large, kids.

Cuz the 30 year old with the baby is news, but the 17 year old with the 16 year old is the far more common scenario. So the drunk 17 year old is a criminal, but the drunk 40 year old with the 40 year old wife is a ticket. What is this exactly accomplishing?

Anonymous said...

The State is being manipulated by the MADD group. Fines and punishment s/b graduated based on a breathalizer test. .08, minimal..10 to .16 substantial, but not criminal. Over .16, throw the book at them.

Betsey said...

Is this a right-wing plot to kill Grandma? Because it will take too long to kill Grandma the left-wing way: 1. Pass universal healthcare; 2. Wait for it to be implemented; 3. Wait for Grandma to get sick; 4. (Death Panel) to deny Grandma medical treatment; 5. (Finally!) Wait for Grandma to die from lack of treatment.

Good grief!

If we did things that way, we'd have old people dying before we'd get around to doing them in!

Far better--more effective and quicker--to stick Grandma in the car with an impaired driver at the wheel. And you can always say that right-wing people don't kill old people, cars do.

I like it . . . .

Those right-wingers! Always a step ahead of us Liberals!

Anonymous said...

It's easy to call for increased penalties and believe that one has "done something" about OWI. That's simply not true. The penalties are already severe enough to deter any thinking individual. Far better to continue with the public service announcements and change the culture until drunken driving is seen as something for which there is no excuse.