Demonstrating once again that no man’s women or cattle are safe while the Legislature is in session, a Connecticut lawmaker wants to extend our drunk driving laws. Drive a car drunk, lose both your driver’s license and your boating license. Too many beers on the old Sea-Ray? Lose both licenses too.
[Usual blather here about how I am aware of the danger of drunk drivers, the horrible tragedies they cause, how they should be tied up and burned, twice, until sent to Hell by an angry God]. BUT:
Our legislature seems unaware of what these little alcohol law extensions do. I know of a minor, 18 years old, who was caught buying a six pack of beer to share with five of her friends. They weren’t driving but, because they’d used a car to get to the liquor store, they were charged with possession of alcohol by a minor and the loss of their driver’s licenses for three months. $25 fine, so big deal, right? Wrong. A suspension of a license dumps them into the assigned risk pool for three years, at an extra premium of $3,000 per year. That’s a $9,000 fine for one unconsumed beer, and our local State’s Attorney will not plea bargain on this crime. I defy you to (a) deny that you had a beer when you were 18 and (b) find an 18 -year-old who knows of this provision of the law. No knowledge, no deterrence.
Similarly, while I am aware of drunk boaters out there (even the police, who love this proposed law as they love all proposed criminal laws, admit that drunk boating is a rare occurrence) but is there any evidence that a fisherman who has too many beers in the sun will also drive our streets drunk while on land? None was mentioned in this article.
I don’t drink, at all, so please don’t send me clippings of horror stories – I’m aware of them. My point is that we need a sense of proportion here. Just as banning convicted sex offenders from our beaches goes too far, in my opinion, hitting a drunk boater with the loss of his car driver’s license, thousands of dollars of insurance premiums and possibly the loss of his job seems uncalled for, excessive and too harsh.