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Slap on the hand dishonors victims

Slap-on-the-hand penalties of those convicted of driving under the influence dishonor the victims of drunken driving and increase the risk for the public. Rising deaths and injuries require increased protection from those who drive while so impaired.

Why has the increasing incidence of people killed by drivers with multiple DUI felony convictions become pandemic? I suggest that it is basically because we allow it. Social conscience and outrage have yet to bring about changes to reduce the collective impact from several things. First, the existing limits on the amounts of alcohol consumption allowed for driving legally have proven to be inadequate. Second, existing penalties for drivers who exceed those limits are insufficient. That is compounded by the inadequacy of penalties for conviction of driving impaired, multiple felonious impaired driving convictions, injuring people while driving impaired, and driving after one’s license has been revoked for such convictions.

The lack of specificity in laws dealing with accused DUI offenders needs redress. During trials, wiggle room in existing antiquated laws provides loopholes to subvert or dismiss the consequences of harm caused by alleged DUI perpetrators.

The repetitive drunken driving behaviors of repeat offenders confirms their disdain for the law and disregard for public safety. There is a critical need to remove them from society for extended periods of time. The need for well-thought-out, major changes in existing drinking and driving regulations, laws and penalties is essential. Anything less will not reduce the alarming increase in DUI tragedies.

Conrad F. Toepfer

Getzville