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report print email Source: Editorial: Cracking down on drunken driving
Time to restrict the sale of alcohol to abusers
February 26, 2012 | 03:04 PM

Virtually every week the Regional News carries an article involving the arrest of a person for multiple OWI's, sometimes resulting in injury or death to an innocent person.

Senator Kedzie's proposals will do little to reduce the number of abuser's on the road. Currently the only way that seems limit chronic abusers from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated appears to be incarceration, but that only works while they are in custody.

Outside of locking up abusers for decades, one way to limit people from first becoming intoxicated is to restrict their access to alcohol.

Think about this for a moment - if a person has been found guilty of OWI, or domestic abuse while intoxicated, why should society allow that same person to purchase alcohol again?

The law does not allow the sale of alcohol to person's under the age of 21. Why not extend this restriction to people who have been found guilty of OWI or domestic abuse while intoxicated?

This could be accomplished without some large multi-million dollar government expense. If a Wisconsin resident has been convicted of OWI or domestic abuse while intoxicated, all the state has to do is to confiscate their existing Driver's License or State ID, and issue a new one with a bridge red NA (no alcohol) restriction on their ID. The law could be changed to require all sellers of alcohol (bars, restaurants, grocery stores, liquor stores, etc) to ask for ID for all sales of alcohol. Out of state residents would be allowed to make alcohol purchases (unless their home state passes a similar restriction), while Wisconsin residents with the "NA" restriction would be prohibited.

Sellers of alcohol who do not enforce this restriction would face the same penalties that are currently in place for the sale of alcohol to minors.

Would this system be perfect - absolutely not, as out of state residents who abuse alcohol could purchase alcohol while in Wisconsin.

However, as a state that has a duty and obligation to protect its citizens from those that abuse alcohol, this would send a strong message that we as a society will no longer tolerate the sale of alcohol to those that would abuse it and harm others.

So, if Senator Kedzie and his fellow legislators are willing to ignore the powerful influence of those groups that support the current system, such as the Tavern League and those wealthy individuals that own liquor distributorships, we can start to protect our citizens against unnecessary property loss, injury and death.

If not, the carnage will continue and Wisconsin will continue to be a safe haven for those that choose to abuse alcohol.


JamesFromLakeGeneva
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