CARS HOMES JOBS

New approach needed to combat DWI

Saturday, May 3, 2014
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New approach needed to combat DWI

Every day someone, somewhere in America, is killed or maimed by an intoxicated person. And every day there are those who drag out the lame and tired excuses for the drunk driver.

Never have I heard excuses for the victim. What about the right not to have someone else’s stupidity forced upon the victim and their family and friends? I am tired of hearing that it’s a disease or that, “I didn’t mean to.”

If you are an alcoholic, then do what others with diseases do. Modify your behavior. Ride a bicycle, a motorcycle, or walk. If you are not willing to deal with your disease personally, then do not complain when others do whatever is necessary in order not to be damaged by you.

Everyone who causes an accident while chemically impaired is not an alcoholic. The vast majority of people getting plastered in bars or at parties every night are not alcoholics. Their lawyers will contend that they are, but they are not.

Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

As a society, we have passed law after law to increase the punishment aspects for perpetrators, but done very little to reduce the frequency of accidents. Let’s try something different. The threat of incarceration has been basically gutted by the legal profession. With all the dancing around in courtrooms about disease and diminished mental capacity ad nauseam, let's try a different tact.

Any individual who is found to be operating a vehicle while intoxicated will be required to carry liability insurance of $5 million. A second offense will require mandatory insurance of $20 million. Penalties for not having the requisite insurance will be five years or 20 years in jail, not subject to reduction by either the district attorney or judge.

Since the crime can now be absolutely determined, the tricks of the legal profession will be useless. Lawyers will no longer be able to foist their clients upon an unwary populace in a game of automotive Russian Roulette. Either the person has the required insurance or not. Disease, incapacity and all the other legal hogwash won’t be a factor.

If you are found operating a vehicle, drunk or not, after having been convicted of DWI and you do not have the appropriate level of insurance, then you do not pass go, you go directly to jail. The primary enforcer in this plan is economics. Insurance companies never lose money. The cost of such insurance will, in many cases, force habitual drinkers to find other means of transportation or be caught during regular traffic stops for driver’s license checks.

The certainty of jail will be a far greater deterrent than a ticket or fine. Those who truly suffer from alcoholism will have far greater impetus to seek help and avoid placing the rest of us in danger.

Frank Elfland

Charlton

Princetown board does a poor job serving the public

Shady politics strike in Princetown once again.

With the recent resignation of the newly elected town judge in Princetown following allegations of illegal conduct, the Town Board of Princetown found itself looking to appoint a replacement until the next election.

One might think a sensible decision would be to appoint a person who previously served in that capacity for over a decade, somebody who was already properly trained and able to restore the office of town justice (which has been in turmoil since March 17) quickly and seamlessly. Common sense would lead you in that direction. That’s not how the Princetown board rolls, folks.

Norm Miller, who has unsuccessfully run for public office in the town previously, was appointed to the vacant seat of town justice. While I am no expert, it is my understanding that he will need formal training that will not be available until July. In the interim, the town will need to continue to use the services of justices from other locales.

What is very troubling to me is the town did not follow a precedent it set when it appointed Sandra Fortune to the office of town clerk following Carol McClaine’s untimely resignation from the post earlier this year. Fortune ran in the November election, but lost to the incumbent, McClaine.

If they used the same logic they did when McClaine resigned, they would have hastily appointed Michelle VanWoert to the position. Ms. VanWoeart was the town justice for over a decade, already has the proper training and credentials, and despite what was thrown out in Mr. Joyce’s mud-slinging campaign last year, is a well-respected member of the community.

Michelle was beaten by William Reynolds in November by a narrow margin. In her years as town justice, there has never been the amount of disgrace that has afflicted our town in the last few months.

During last year’s campaign, Town Supervisor Mike Joyce and his supporters, who were holding office, did everything they could to shatter the reputation of both Michelle Van Woeart and Carol McCaine because the two would not bow to the political agenda of the board led by Michael Joyce. McClaine, won the election in November, but later resigned because the balance of the elected officials of the town treated her with disdain and disrespect.

I truly hope my neighbors in Princetown wake up and see what is happening behind closed doors at 165 Princetown Plaza. Mr. Joyce has professed to the community what a transparent government he is running. Yet many resolutions have recently been passed at agenda meetings that are not on public record and not available for public comment.

This board is a disgrace and an embarrassment, and it should be ashamed of how it is conducting itself and the duties the members were elected to carry out.

Nathan Pyne

Princetown

 

comments

May 3, 2014
3:41 p.m.
+0 votes

Amen Frank Elfland Amen! Enough is enough when alcoholics do not take responsibility and are able to just keep on driving putting everyone in their path in danger with their selfish narcissistic behavior, when they refuse to stay off the road. When they are able to bargain down in any situation it is criminal to all the public. There needs to be a Zero tolerance in DWI abuse. Never should they be able to postpone their court dates when charged with a felony DWI. It should never matter how much money you have to pay an attorney, pay the fines, and still drive on the road. We should never allow this game as you stated of "Automotive Russian Roulette". These attorneys should also be held accountable for defending such abusers. Thank you for this editorial we need these changes in the system now before more lives are taken.

 

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