To the Editor:
I was deeply disheartened to read your editorial on the proposed three strikes legislation. Let’s step back for a minute and look at the true intention of this proposal: to attempt to hinder driving under the influence and potentially save lives.
Driving a car is a privilege and not a right, and with that privilege there is an understanding that there are rules to be followed. In New York state it is illegal to operate a vehicle when under the influence of alcohol with a BAC of .08 or higher. A driver who chooses to drink, drive, and is subsequently pulled over must accept the consequences. For this to happen three times before the possibility of permanently revoking their license is more than generous on the part of New York state.
It is a proven fact that consuming alcohol, even one drink, directly impacts the functions of the frontal lobe, impairing judgement, reaction time, and problem solving abilities. To condone a driver who drinks and then drives “a short distance down an unpopulated stretch of rural road while just a sliver over the .08 BAC limit” is irresponsible and reprehensible. That one instance could result in the loss of life. Many in this North Country community may remember the two young camp counselors who were killed by a drunk driver on such a rural road. Because of someone else’s choice, their young lives were taken and ripped away from their families, who were then left with a lifetime of grief and sorrow. This driver, by the way, was a repeat offender.
It is simple. If you choose to drink, don’t drive. Have a designated driver. Find a ride. And if this is not a possibility, stay at home. I think that those who have driven under the influence and have hurt or killed someone as a result would give the same advice. We must place the lives and livelihood of the residents of our communities above the hardships and inconveniences of individuals who have had the chance to make a change, yet continue to choose to endanger the lives of others by repeated drinking and driving.