A new bill was proposed on Dec 1 to make repeat sentences for DUI offences progressively harsher. Besides the parts about driving boats, planes and trains, the bill concerns those who are "mildly" impaired:
Currently, a 24-hour suspension is imposed for drivers caught with a blood-alcohol concentration of .05 per cent or higher. The new law when passed would bring in a 24-hour for a first offence, 15 days for a second violation, 30 days for a third and 60 days for a fourth and subsequent violation. -fp-I am all for progressive penalties like this. I think we should do more of it. If you have been reading this blog for a while you may remember a post I did last year about logarithmic sentencing. The premise being that punishment will be most effective if it gets progressively harsher with each additional offence. Not marginally harsher. Dramatically harsher. Make people think really hard about re-committing an offence. "Nobody should ever be the fifth or sixth victim of a criminal."
So I think this proposal is a good idea in principle, however it sort of misses the mark. Why are we going through all this effort to target people who are only slightly impaired, when the biggest risk is from people who are truly impaired?
On occasion, we even encourage people to drive with serious impairments. Who hasn't seen a story on TV about some poor sap who lost both his arms and the left half of his brain in a tragic cooking accident, but can still lead a "normal" life by driving around in a specially modified van. We're supposed to feel good about this. I don't know about you, but I would rather share the road with an able-bodied person who has a b.a.c. of 0.06, than a mentally handicapped person driving a van with his mouth.
I started writing this almost three weeks ago and filed it away for a while, but finally decided to finish it off even though it will probably mean that I will never get friended by MADD on Facebook. I'm just trying to make the world a better place. Is that so wrong?