Posted in on March 10, 2008

2 Teenagers Die on I-25 in Another Alcohol Related Accident

2 young teenagers, a brother and sister were killed late Saturday night in an accident on 1-25 and alcohol is suspected to be a factor.

As a matter of principal I do not like to blog about other families tragedies. I find it distasteful and disrespectful of the family’s grief. However, in this instance this hit a little close to home for me. A family friend whom I’ll call Alex was recently pulled over and charged with DUI. My fear and frustration has always been what if he’s drinking and decides to drive? Will he make it home without killing someone? Alex drives I-25 around 104th Avenue regularly and could have easily been the cause of this family’s tragedy if the timing had been different.

I do not know the facts of this sad story other than what I’ve seen on the news and read in the newspaper. And it doesn’t matter really. The only two facts that matter are, two beautiful, innocent young people are dead. And alcohol was involved. That’s all that matters.

In the New York Times a story just ran about how The Fort Drum Blizzard, the weekly newspaper for the Army’s 10th Mountain Division is running on its front page the photos or silhouettes of soldiers who have been arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated since January 1, along with their regiment information and blood alcohol content.

Maj. Gen. Michael L. Oates, The division’s commanding general, took action after a steady increase in D.W.I. arrests despite efforts to reduce the trend through meetings and designated-driver programs.

“I didn’t take this step lightly,” General Oates said in an interview on the base on Friday, a day after the D.W.I. issue was published. “I’m aware that there are people who are not going to be happy with this, but I felt compelled to do something, because when you drink and drive you place everyone around you at risk.”

Law enforcement officials in Albuquerque, N.M., Maricopa County, Ariz., and El Paso, Tex. have also published photographs of drunken-driving suspects in local newspapers or posted them on Web sites.

My first thought was, “Hey, aren’t we innocent until proven guilty?” But the numbers don’t lie, if your BAC is over the legal limit, then I believe you forfeit your privacy. If you’ve been convicted of DUI then you forfeit your privacy. Are the civil rights of a convicted drunk driver more important that the lives of two young teenagers?

What does this country need to do to get drunk drivers off the road? Obviously, meetings and designated-driver programs are not working. Maybe we can embarrass drunk drivers off the road. If only it were that easy.

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