The Insanity of DUI Laws

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on February 18th, 2007

Albert Einstein once defined insanity as "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"…

Elevenfold Increase in Number Imprisoned for DUI

Columbus, Ohio. AP – Yearly incarcerations for drunken driving convictions have increased elevenfold in the past decade, the state prisons department reported.

Judges sentenced 465 drunken drivers to prison last year, up from 38 in 1997, when the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction began tracking DUI offenders. Tougher enforcement and increased penalties in state law contributed to the trend. Also, Ohio dropped the legal blood alcohol limit to 0.08 in 2003, from 0.10, putting more drivers in violation…

The following summary of DUI-related traffic fatalities for the same decade, compiled by the National Highway Traffic Administration, is from MADD's website:

1997 16,711
1998 16,673
1999 16,572
2000 17,380
2001 17,400
2002 17,524
2003 17,105
2004 16,919
2005 16,885
2006 (not yet available)

In the past decade, Ohio (as most states) has increased the number of citizens sent to prison by 1100%. During that same period of time, there has been no reduction in traffic fatalities. (Arguably, the DUI-related fatality figures would have increased, as factors such as seat belts, air bags and improved vehicle construction have lowered fatalities in traffic accidents.)

Is it possibly time to consider an alternative approach?

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