Letters: What can we do to stop drunken driving? Readers respond

AnchorageAugust 19, 2013 

Sobriety checkpoints may work

Alaska is one of the few states that does not have sobriety checkpoints.

Sobriety checkpoints are areas whereby law enforcement officers are stationed to check drivers for signs of impairment and intoxication.

In that we have few roads in and out of Anchorage, this may at least prevent carnage going north or south.

-- Margaret Hansen

Anchorage

Put Breathalyzers in new cars

Rallies, the REDDI program, increased police and trooper patrols, education, and severe consequences are all valid approaches to decreasing drunken driving.

However, what will have the greatest impact on the number of lives saved will be a requirement that Breathalyzers be built into all new cars as a standard safety start-up feature (similar to passive seat belt restraints) and added to all used cars involved in drunk-driving incidents. Yes, I understand that the automobile doesn't commit the crime, but addition of a Breathalyzer seems a logical consequence of using the vehicle while intoxicated.

To decry the giveaway of our personal freedom seems silly and selfish to me and would only echo similar protests over the requirement for seat belts decades ago.

Please contact your congressman and senators for changes in new car standards at the national level and your local politicians for required modifications of affected used cars within this state.

And, of course, none of us has to wait for passage of such a law to protect our own loved ones.

-- Sheila Lankford

Anchorage

Change our norms on driving

In our culture, driving is integral to daily life. Driving is viewed as a right.

Driving is not a right, it's a privilege.

Impaired drivers are not our only threat to safety on the road; distracted driving is increasingly just as serious a problem. In my lifetime, the social norms with regards to smoking have changed radically. We need to do the same with driving.

Radical ideas include more public transportation, more ride-sharing with only specially certified drivers behind the wheel, driving allowed only for those who can pass stringent testing and abide by strict laws.

There are a lot of great, less-radical ideas in the comments following ADN's Our View online, to start saving lives now. Once attitudes shift because enough people have simply had enough, we can see radical changes like we have with smoking.

Businesses protect their interests via lobbying, and individual interests (such as ensuring our own safety) are woefully underfunded in comparison. Please get on board before you suffer loss. Keep voicing your opinion to lawmakers. Use your vote.

-- Jen Huvar

Anchorage

Something has got to be done

I agree with stiffer jail times and fines for drunken drivers. I am a mom and I'm on the road a lot. It's scary how many drunken drivers are still on the road.

I also think that too many people are getting away with it. There needs to be something done. Too many people have died from this.

-- Chelsea Woolcock

Soldotna

Things are going to get worse

Alcohol and reckless driving have claimed another life.. Everyone is outraged about the problem of impaired drivers. Very little has been said about the issue of aggressive or careless drivers. Alcohol really only brings out tendencies that are there already.

Try driving the speed limit on the Glenn Highway during rush hour or slowing down for a yellow light in Midtown and odds are you will witness speeding, rapid lane changes, and all other sorts of automotive hot-doggery equal to any closing-time rush. And it's not the guy in a red pickup with a load on doing it. It's the good citizens on their daily commute. And yes, they cause accidents.

We are paying the dues for not having much formal driver's training for over a generation. APD isn't issuing a lot of traffic tickets for basic "rules of the road" stuff anymore, so it's only going to get worse. Maybe Chief Mew's citizen patrols should be out during the daily commutes as well.

-- Don Miller

Anchorage

We can't tolerate more deaths

In response to ADN's editorial about drunken driving: I was one of the founding members of Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Fairbanks in the early 1980s. At that time national research indicated that for every impaired driving arrest the driver had been driving drunk about 10 times before he/she was caught. These statistics are borne out here in Alaska. The majority of people arrested for drunken driving already have a previous conviction for DUI, and often do not have any insurance, which puts an even greater burden on their victims.

We must do more to stop people driving impaired. Increase jail time and don't let people off by wearing an ankle bracelet that allows them to pretty much live their lives as though nothing has happened. Mandatory treatment is a great idea but it only works if treatment is available, and the waiting lists are long. As a society we cannot continue to tolerate 15-year-old kids (or anyone else for that matter) losing their lives.

-- Jamelia Saied

Anchorage

 

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