Why Drunk Driving Laws Don’t Work
Why Drunk Driving Laws Don’t Work

Federal and state laws exist to punish drunk driving offenders—but do these drunk driving laws work? The data on drunk driving accidents would suggest that laws in place to punish drunk drivers have not had a significant impact on the drunk driving problem. Why is that?

Twenty-eight people are killed everyday as a result of drunk driving. Perhaps we have simply gotten used to this reality—but if it were a train wreck or plane crash that killed 28 people in one day, it would be a big story.

The only tool our laws use to handle the problem of drunk driving is punishment. The trouble with that is that punishment does not fully address the problem. Although the threat of arrest might have some effect, the criminal justice system has never made a significant dent in the drunk driving problem.

The Nature of the Problem

To understand why the “punishment only” laws don’t work, you have to unwrap the nature of the problem. People don’t generally go out and intend to break the law. However, they are very often put into situations where it is foreseeable that they are going to become impaired and then drive.

All of our municipalities like to have restaurants with bars to create great tax revenue, and these establishments always have plenty of parking. So what happens? People go to these locations in their cars, sober, to have a couple of drinks. The alcohol then hampers their judgment and they think they are fine to drive, when really they are too impaired to do so.

Think about the Super Bowl we just watched. Did you notice the prevalence of advertisements for alcoholic beverages? You certainly did, considering that the alcoholic beverage industry spent $420 million on advertising just in the last quarter. That’s over $1.6 billion a year. Our society is promoting the idea that you cannot have a good time, or be involved with sports, without having an alcoholic beverage. Do you think the kids are getting the message?

The bottom line is that our policy is divorced from reality. We cause and encourage a problem, then we are shocked that it is not eliminated when the offenders are arrested after the fact. This schizophrenic approach will never successfully address the drunk driving problem.

Holding Businesses Accountable

What can be done differently? Addressing the astronomical amount spent on alcohol advertising would be a good start. We cannot expect people to take drunk driving seriously when we spend billions trying to convince them that drinking socially is the only way to have a good time. This is a drug that kills 28 people a day. It should go the way of tobacco company advertisements.

Another way to combat the problem more effectively is to hold accountable the establishments that serve alcohol. Mandatory breathalyzers on the premises would at least give patrons the opportunity to test themselves before getting behind the wheel.

Dram shop laws should also be reinitiated in California. Businesses who profit by serving alcohol would be held accountable if a patron they over-served ended up hurting someone.

“There area  lot of changes we could make to address the DUI problem, but increasing punishment isn’t likely to make any more difference than it has in the past,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group.

Our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout the California Low Desert and High Desert communities for over 30 years. With a 95% success rate, the California personal injury attorneys at Walter Clark Legal Group will fight to hold those responsible for your loss accountable and win compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured in an auto accident and want to discuss your legal options, contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We have offices in Indio, Rancho Mirage, Victorville, and Yucca Valley and represent clients through the entire California Low Desert and High Desert communities.

DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.

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