Utah ranks as one of the “best” in low percentage of drunk-related deaths!

Here is an article about South Carolina, which ranks as one of the worst for percentages of drunk-related deaths.  However, Utah ranks as one of the best in the nation.

The article states:

–In the U.S., someone is killed in an alcohol-related accident about every 30 minutes.

–Roughly one-third of all drivers arrested or convicted of driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence of alcohol are repeat offenders.

–There were 13,470 drunk-driving traffic deaths last year in the U.S.

Some of the other "worst" states in percentage of fatalities involving a drunk driver: Montana, Hawaii, Texas, Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Connecticut and South Dakota.

These states are reported as the "best" in low percentage of drunk-related deaths: Utah, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Carolina, Alaska, Maine, New York, Georgia, Indiana and Iowa.

The author jumps on the bandwagon with MADD to get even more tougher on DUIs.  The author believes that jail time is a threat.  Most of the people I deal with do not intend to drive drunk.  They seem to lose their rational thinking at some point during the evening.  Calling on the powers of deterrence just doesn’t seem to work.  In the previous post I did, I like the solutions suggested by the Janice.  It’s too easy to gripe and complain.  It’s too easy to jump on the band wagon of "let’s get tough of DUIs.  Imprisoning people has never worked.  Look for other solutions.  Make car manufacturer’s develop cars that won’t start if alcohol is on your breath.  Provide other ways for a person to get home.  Just some things to consider.

DUI deaths: S.C. ranks 2nd worst
Saturday, December 8, 2007

This columnist takes great pride in reporting positive news about this great state. Conversely, it takes a great amount of thought to introduce a subject in which the state does not excel.

In this context, it is distressing to report that the Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization just released a study that shows South Carolina as the second worst state in the nation in a ranking based on the percent of total traffic fatalities that involve a drunk driver. Only the state of Wisconsin ranks worse.

Of 50 states plus the District of Columbia studied, our state ranks No. 50. Is it time for action? Please read on.

Specifically, the MADD report shows that 40.5 percent of South Carolina’s highway deaths in 2006 involved a drunk driver. That figure is based on 1,037 traffic crash deaths last year, with 420 alcohol-related.

MADD states in a letter to this citizen: "Charleston’s roads are a potential death trap for you and your family! Part of this is because South Carolina’s drunk-driving law has a number of loopholes in it, which allows for many driving offenders to be let off."

The thrust of MADD’S campaign is for the General Assembly to pass legislation to eradicate repeat-

offender violations, injuries and deaths through the mandatory use of ignition interlocks. With this device, a sensor perceives when a drunk is about to start the vehicle and locks the ignition.

In addition to the MADD initiative, your columnist has additional ideas that also could drastically reduce highway fatalities caused by DUI. Candidly, this state is not tough enough on first, second, third and even fourth offenders. Look at these statistics, published some time ago by The State newspaper:

–In a given month, 176 people were serving time for killing someone in a drunken-driving accident. Almost 18 percent of those people had at least one prior DUI conviction in South Carolina.

–On average, 40 percent of repeat-offense DUI cases from 2002 through 2006 involved guilty pleas to reduced charges.

–Just 826 of 6,500 sentences given out to repeat offenders during that time included prison time.

The newspaper also reported a statement from a chief prosecutor for Orangeburg, Calhoun and Dorchester Counties, David Pascoe: "Can you imagine if you tried every DUI case? You wouldn’t move any other cases."

Another chief prosecutor for the 15th circuit, Greg Hembree, said judges, too, are under pressure to accept pleas. "Judges are catching it all the time, that the prisons already are full, and they need to save bed spaces for the violent offenders. If you’re going to look at blame, I think it can be spread around pretty broadly."

DUI prison

That last point is especially significant if you recall the recent Post and Courier series on overcrowded jails. Here is one Spaulding Solution (SS): To overcome the reluctance of prosecutors and judges to sentence first-time DUI offenders to crowded jails and to keep them from violent criminals, build another jail for those convicted of DUI.

The SS Plan consists of a motel-type high-rise building that would be surrounded by a wire fence.

It would be known as a jail. There would be four beds to a room, no TV, no phones of any kind, with austere but clean conditions. The stigma of going to jail would help responsible citizens avoid driving while under the influence and use a designated driver or a taxi cab. A first-time DUI sentence would be three days in jail; second offense, seven to 10 days, etc.

Can you imagine the reaction of family members having to admit, "Daddy’s (or Mommy’s) in jail!"

Are mandatory jail terms a threat? Yes.

Your comments would be appreciated. Write: 2 Wharfside St., 2A, Charleston, SC 29401. At the same time, keep in mind these sobering facts:

–In the U.S., someone is killed in an alcohol-related accident about every 30 minutes.

–Roughly one-third of all drivers arrested or convicted of driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence of alcohol are repeat offenders.

–There were 13,470 drunk-driving traffic deaths last year in the U.S.

Some of the other "worst" states in percentage of fatalities involving a drunk driver: Montana, Hawaii, Texas, Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Connecticut and South Dakota.

These states are reported as the "best" in low percentage of drunk-related deaths: Utah, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Carolina, Alaska, Maine, New York, Georgia, Indiana and Iowa.

George Spaulding is a retired General Motors executive and distinguished executive-in-residence emeritus at the School of Business and Economics at the College of Charleston.

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Posted in Utah DUI Sentencings
One comment on “Utah ranks as one of the “best” in low percentage of drunk-related deaths!
  1. Guy Seymore says:

    It’s good to know that our state is lower on the DUI percentage than most other. Makes driving a little saver.

    Like

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