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Illinois needs stricter drinking laws

Many people secretly feel a tinge of sympathy for drunk drivers. Perhaps they’ve been in their place at some point, having a few too many drinks in college and driving home, or having more margaritas than we intended when they met up with old friends. The truth is, though, that driving drunk is not something anyone should sympathize with. If you’ve done it and gotten away with it, you should not recollect the point with nostalgia. You should recollect it with shame.

Did you know that 71 percent of Illinois fatal drunk driving accidents involved a driver who had at least a 0.15 blood alcohol level? That’s double the legal limit. It isn’t even close. That kind of behavior goes beyond irresponsible. It even goes beyond criminal. It is straight up immoral. And it’s deadly.

Drunk driving ruins lives, it ends lives, it leaves lives entangled in complicated legal situations that require lawyers.

It may be that this country can never live without alcohol, but we ought to push harder to make this country limit its drinking as much as possible. Instead of advertising beer during football games, we should ban any reference to alcohol on our television, particularly during popular events that are watched by very easily influenced people like children and young adults. We should shame those who drink more than a beer or a glass of wine in one evening. One beer, fine. One glass of wine, fine, but if you need more, you need help, and that needs to be clear to everyone.

If that correct attitude were more pervasive throughout this state, there would be fewer people who “accidentally” drink too many margaritas and drive. If someone has to have a margarita, make sure they know it should be one, and it should be a small one.

We should also demand our legislature build more public transportation outside of Chicago so those who still do indulge beyond a reasonable limit have some option to get home other than picking up their car keys.

Finally, we should all campaign for a one-strike and you’re out law so that anyone caught drinking and driving loses their license for their entire lifetime. If they are caught again, it’s a jail sentence of at least ten years.

Those sort of hard laws will discourage anyone from risking driving under the influence. And if they still do, they will deserve everything they get.

Drinking and driving is a problem in this state, and it goes beyond simply the act of driving drunk. We have a societal problem. This society is too tolerant of drinking. It celebrates drinking. It loves drinking. That’s a sign of a sick society, and the sickest part is that the innocent can end up being the ones to suffer from that sickness. Unfortunately, it is often the sober driver who was following the rules who dies in such accidents. The fact such people could ever drive again or ever even walk out on the street again is just unfathomable, and we need to make sure such things are not possible int he future.

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Penalties for Drunk Driving in Massachusetts

All over the United States, alcohol-impaired driving is considered a serious offense. In Massachusetts, drunk driving is prosecuted as operating under the influence or OUI. Drivers caught operating their vehicles while having a blood alcohol content level that is beyond the legal limit can expect to face serious penalties.

These limits are as follows, as noted by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles:

  • For drivers operating regular passenger vehicles – 0.08 percent or higher
  • For drivers operating commercial vehicles – 0.04 percent or higher
  • For drivers under the legal drinking age( below 21 years old) – 0.02 percent or higher

Drivers who are pulled over by traffic officers at check points or due to particular concerns will be asked to take a breathalyzer test. This involves blowing into a special instrument that will measure one’s breath alcohol content level. The results will then be used to determine the blood alcohol content level in one’s system. A Cape Cod drunk driving defense lawyer would be aware that officers also employ other methods to test for sobriety. These field tests include asking the drunk driving suspect to do a one leg stand and the nine-step walk and turn.

Suspects who fail the breathalyzer and field sobriety tests will be arrested and charged with an OUI. Punishment for an OUI charge will depend on the age of the driver and the number of prior OUI arrests. These penalties include expensive fines, possible jail time, and the suspension of one’s driver’s license. In some cases, the driver might also be required to attend an alcohol education program. For drivers under 21, a first offense could entail a 3-year license suspension period, as well as required attendance to a 210-day alcohol program. Meanwhile, OUIs that lead to vehicular manslaughter can lead to a minimum 15-year license suspension, spending between 5 to 20 years in prison, and paying up to $25,000 in fines.

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