Lawyers Are Definitely Needed In Cases Of Drunk Driving
From time to time governors and state-police commanders announce "get-tough" policies toward drunk driving, but they're soon enough forgotten. Moves to raise the legal drinking age, and thus to make it more difficult for car-happy teen-agers to get loaded, almost invariably expire in vast messes of lobbying.
Really it would be quite simple to make people think twice before climbing behind the wheel crocked. Suspend their licenses on the first offense for at least a year; send them to jail for 30 or 60 days for the second; treat drunk-driving accidents involving injury or death as voluntary manslaughter rather than driving offenses. Make the penalties mandatory and automatic, so that people who can afford drunk driving lawyers would be as liable for suspension and imprisonment as those who cannot.
Establishing laws such as these would be a simple matter and almost certainly would have wonderful results for drunk driving lawyers. But it isn't going to happen. Americans long ago came to regard the privilege of driving as a right, and they chafe at any restrictions on it -- even on their right to kill. Which is why it is difficult to work up much optimism that the current lobbying efforts will produce anything more than token action. These men and women who have been testifying before legislative committees have heartbreaking stories to tell, but no one seems to be listening. Perhaps no one really wants to.
The public is just beginning to awaken to the challenge of drunken driving and the terrible damage it can do. A few states are now taking firm steps against the drunken driver. But far too many states have yet to take appropriate action to curtail the tragedy taking place on American highways, symbolized by the collision in Boston recently that claimed the lives of an entire family. As the holidays end, it seems a fitting moment for Americans to insist on new ways of ridding their highways of those who would abuse the right to drive.
A number of political jurisdictions are doing just that. New York earlier this year enacted a tough law that provides for mandatory jail sentences of seven to 180 days for conviction of drunk driving after a driver has already had a license suspended or revoked for a prior offense. Motorists in Maine now face a mandatory sentence of 48 hours. Many states have raised their minimum drinking age. The result has been lower accident rates.