In the last week, two drunk-driving verdicts were handed down by local judges. In one case, the defendant was sentenced to eight years for killing two pedestrians in Cardiff; the other defendant was sentenced to six years for killing the mother of five children while she waited for a bus.
Since both defendants will probably not serve a complete sentence, the punishment doesn't seem to fit the crime nor act as a deterrent to other drunk drivers out there. It appears that many in our legal system, from the legislators to the judges and even the jury members, are still focused on the idea that "there, but for the grace of God, go I."
It is unfortunate that the thought only registers when looking at the defendant. What about the victim? What about the survivors of the victim? In the United States, drunk drivers are killing about 70 people a day, or one person every 20 minutes. A recent survey found that San Diego now ranks No. 3 in traffic fatalities in California, which means our chances of being killed or injured by a drunk driver has also increased.
We not only need stronger drunk-driving laws, we need our judicial system to implement these laws and be accountable for ignoring them. With the holidays fast approaching, drunk driving and its carnage will be increasing. Please join Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and tie a red ribbon around your automobile antenna to remind your fellow drivers that you are "tying one on" and not drinking while driving.