October 22, 2013

Another View: Don’t use interlock device to soften drunken-driving penalty

By Mike Berkowitz of Saco

I’m afraid you offered a license to drink and drive in your Oct. 16 editorial, “Our View: Maine taking right steps to fight drunken driving.”

Yes, the judicial use of the ignition interlock system could be a good application of technology to monitor this reckless behavior. However, your endorsement of its overuse invites disaster.

Yes, it is fair to give to give first-time offenders a second chance. Breath-analyzing controls that require that a driver be sober can provide a good check on those who are willing to correct their ways. (While hopefully learning from their error, they still have the opportunity to maintain their job and family requirements.)

But allowing four-time offenders a shortened sentence is a tragedy waiting to happen. They should not be given fifth, sixth and seventh chances with a pattern of behavior so dangerous. If they haven’t learned to not drive when they are drunk by that point, there should not be a softening of the consequences.

Tolerance for drunken driving merely enables the irresponsible drinker. Repeat offenders need to be kept from behind the wheel – not put back there more quickly.

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