DUIs...Your Thoughts?

As I write, Michel is wrapping up an interview on the enforcement of DUI — that is, Driving Under the Influence — laws in America. The discussion, of course, is triggered by controversy surrounding a certain pop culture icon who's been in the news as of late.

...But aside from your personal thoughts on "the life and times" of Paris Hilton, what's your take on penalties for drinking and driving? Too strict, or not strict enough?
How are laws enforced where you live?

And, we hear a lot about celebrity "infractions" on websites like TMZ.com, but with more than a million DUI arrests each year, it's likely that someone you know (if not you, yourself) has had a brush with the law on this very issue.

We're always interested in how people's experiences impact their everyday lives.
So, what about you?...

Ever been arrested on DUI charges? If so, was the punishment significant enough to keep you from repeating the offense. Or, have you ever been affected by someone else's decision to drive under the influence of alcohol?

Talk to us...



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I think th laws are not strict enough. It makes me upset to think that no matter how safe and responsible I am on the roads, that I or a loved one (for that fact, anyone) could be killed by an irresponsible, drunk driver. The laws are not tough enough. If I were to go outside on the highway and begin indiscriminately shooting a gun in the air, at cars and all around -- I'd be in big trouble. The same should go for drunk drivers -- they are a homicide waiting to happen.

Sent by james | 11:43 AM | 6-11-2007

Drunk driving laws are not sufficiently enforced, so there's no way to know if they are sufficiently strict. Family members of drunk drivers are lost when they try to get involved. Everyone says "somebody ought to do something about it" but when you try, law enforcement states that an officer must see the person in the process of driving under the influence. Officers can't be everywhere at once.

My family member has lost her license for drunk driving. She persists in visiting bars and driving home drunk. Short of spying on her and calling the police the moment she leaves drunk, what can a family do? Efforts meet with a negative attitude from law enforcement.

Sent by Carol | 5:09 PM | 6-11-2007

I, myself, had a DUI offense many years ago when MADD was first making an impact on how judges viewed the offense; no more slap on the wrist. I spent 3 days of a Memorial Day Weekend locked in a facility that gave classes on the consequences of the behavior and got us to look at how serious it could have been. It was a turning point for me and changed my behavior concerning drinking and driving. I haven't done it since and I think if more people had to go through something like that, it might get them to open their eyes and change their ways. Some people will not learn a lesson until they injure or kill someone because they keep getting away with driving while intoxicated. Maybe if law enforcement were tougher, say, NO tolerance for any alcohol in your system when operating a motor vehicle, then the statistics would change. Until then, we'll keep reading about it in the paper and hoping that the drunk behind the wheel isn't coming at us.

Sent by Marni | 8:21 AM | 6-13-2007

When I was in my early 20s, I drove drunk, a lot. I was convinced that my behavior was nobody's business but my own. Good grief ... how selfish, how stupid, how deliberately blind can you be? I was lucky enuff to live to be able to quit drinking altogether. Now I think that more intense enforcement is needed, and severe national-standard penalties should be imposed in every state. It's time to face the problem that selfish, stupid people can kill at will. And it is a choice.

Sent by Pen | 6:17 PM | 6-13-2007

More jail time is needed. If somene is going to drive drunk, they are also likely to drive without a license (Hello, Ms. Hilton). Taking their license away doesn't help. Jail time might.

Sent by Scott K. | 10:09 PM | 6-15-2007

Penalties for low-BAC drinking and driving are too harsh. The current penalties for such offenders are out of proportion to the risk posed when compared to similarly risky driving behavoirs, such as the use of cell phones, which many people engage in with impunity.

High BAC offenders are a different story altogether. There is an alcoholism issue there.

When will the public's outrage and vengence turn to the other causes of unacceptable driving behavoir and advocacy groups petition legislatures to criminalize those activities as well? Seems a slippery slope and just a matter of time to me.

The American system of justice is excessively political, capritious and inconsistent compared to legal systems in the European countries. May seem like a separate issue but it is not considering the harshness of the penalties involved.

Sent by john | 11:22 PM | 6-18-2007

I didn't learn how to drive until I had to move to L.A. I now work with Safe Moves, A Teen DUI Prevention Theater Program supported by the City of L.A. and Office of Traffic Safety. We go into middle schools and try to get the message to stick by involving the students in writing, creating and performing their own theatrical piece or short film about the message. Some Principals are hesitant because they think that middle school students are too young, but from hands-on experience I know they have been exposed to relatives or older siblings who drive under the influence. They know about DUI. Even if all we can do is empower them to become safer passengers and stand up to their role models who might drive under the influence, we are successful. It's too early to tell if we're making a difference, but I hope it helps make our roads safer.

Sent by Cindy Marie Jenkins | 2:25 PM | 10-31-2007

MADD Is big businees and that's it! Now they are trying to lower the BAC to .05?What is that ONE drink! This will not increase the safety on the roads, but it would increase the number of supposedly " drunk" drivers--and, hence, the perceived need for MADD! They are a bunch of ZEALOTS out for revenge not safety on the roads! Basically if a state does not lower the BAC like when it was lowered to the .08 there would be no federal funding for that state! Is this not a form of EXTORTION! What ever happened to our constitutional rights anyways?!?!

I'm thinking person's on their cell phone's and persons that drive wreckless weaving in and out of traffic etc... cause more accidents than a person that has had one or two drinks! When is there going to be a lobby against these drivers to?? And stiff unrealistic punishments against them as well? DUI has become a social crime and no politician will speak against the charges or means of applying penalties if they wish to remin in office! Even the founder of MADD Candy Lightner is no longer a memeber as she states it has lost it's direction!!
MADD needs to be put in there place for once! They are a bunch of tyrants I'm sure Stalin or Hitler would have loved this group! I quesion why nothing has been done to stop them from the outragious claims they have made!And the ridicilous unconstititional laws that they have pushed to be put in place! Bottom line DUI is the "CASH COW" for many person's MADD included!

Sent by melissa | 11:41 AM | 12-12-2007

Alcoholispoison.org if you are thinking about dropping the alcohol habit. Alcohol is the cigarette of the 21st Century.

Sent by Daniel | 10:38 AM | 6-21-2008


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