The Scarlet Letter Revisited

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on November 21st, 2005

Here we go again…..



Commentary: Perfect place for rap sheet:Back of a car

Palm Beach Post, Nov. 20.  What a great idea! Let's criminalize state license plates.

I'm referring to the creative bill filed this month by State Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, that would require convicted drunken drivers to change their license plates to pink ones with the first three characters being DUI….The bill would also allow police officers to "stop any vehicle that bears a DUI plate without probable cause to check the driver."

Unfortunately, Fasano's bill doesn't go further, failing to come up with the requirement for pink blinking lights around the plate for night driving and with color schemes for other crimes that might require the use of a car.

What color license plate should a convicted burglar be forced to use?

Not green. Green should be saved for the bank robbers, who nearly always require a getaway vehicle.

You can also argue that men accused of soliciting prostitutes from their vehicles should also get their own license plate, as a convenience to both future girlfriends and undercover decoy officers. Maybe these drivers wouldn't get their own color, but their license plates could be wrapped in latex and begin with the letters JOHN.

Although that may lead to other drivers to think that the driver is just emphasizing his love for a particular Bible verse….

The choice of pink for drunken drivers is bound to lead to confusion among other drivers who would associate the color with breast cancer awareness and ultimately lead to them to wonder if the driver's drinking problem may be health-related….

The American Civil Liberties Union, understandably, is opposed to this motorized version of Hester Prynne's scarlet letter A. The civil liberties group thinks it will only cause undue ridicule and harassment to drivers who have already been punished for their actions.

All that may be needed is a compromise: To allow the DUI drivers to customize their specialty plate by permitting them to pair it up with another existing specialty plate, and to pick their own vanity number-letter combination to go along with the DUI letters on the plate.

So you might have a drunken driver with a plate that's only half pink, with the other half being Save the Manatees or University of Florida, and the plate reading DUI R U or EZ 2B DUI or maybe even DUI UV U.


There appear to be a few sane folks left.

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