Alaska editorial: Drunken drivers need harsher punishments

Posted: Friday, July 28, 2006

This editorial appeared in The Voice of the Times:

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It's difficult to know what to say about drunken drivers who almost routinely kill our fellow citizens.

It happened last weekend when Paul Evon, 55, was accused of running a red light and killing the driver of another car, Martha Grace Brown, a 41-year-old mother. Police say Evon's blood-alcohol ration was .377. The legal limit is 0.08.

A few days before that Saturday afternoon crash, police say, Adam Milazzo, 25, ran a red light and killed 59-year-old Gene Burch, who was on his way home from his job as a bus driver.

These are only the most recent fatalities involving crashes at intersections. What as a city can we do?

Individually, we can pledge to ourselves and our families that we will not drive after drinking. We can ensure our friends and family members do not drink and get behind the wheel of a car. We can teach our children the idiocy of drinking and driving. We can stop fudging on red lights.

Government can suspend or revoke the licenses of bad drivers or drunks, or it can jail them, or even confiscate their cars, but too many of them continue to find access to a vehicle. Too often, it ends in tragedy.

Some countries in Europe have no patience when it comes to drinking and driving. A first offense can carry a very stiff penalty, including confiscation of the vehicle and jail time. Perhaps it is time for us to follow suit.

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