Strengthen the Tennessee Drinking and Driving laws.
Did you know that in 2007, 904 Americans died in Iraq fighting the War on Terrorism During that same year, 12,998 people died right here in America in alcohol related crashes. Since the war on terrorism started in 2003, there have been 4,186 American casualties in Iraq, while right here in America, over 70,000 people have died in alcohol related crashes, including over 4,000 teenagers. While the American deaths in Iraq have decreased by over 60% in the past year, alcohol related deaths has decreased by only 3%. As a nation, it seems that the public, and many legislators constantly express outrage at how many Americans have died in Iraq fighting the war on terrorism. But how often do we hear about the total number of death by alcohol related crashes When is the last time you saw the headlines of the paper stating the number of alcohol related deaths While it grieves us to lose any American in combat, where is the outcry for the Americans we lose to drunk drivers Last fall I was in Washington DC at a safe driving summit, and at a question and answer session, I asked a legislator’s representative why so many people protested about the loss of life in Iraq very little is said about the drunk driving epidemic here in America. His answer was that drinking and driving was NOT the “In Thing” to talk about. It seems like the deaths by alcohol related crashes of over 100,000 Americans since the year 2000 should be an “In Thing” concern to any of us. Most states have stiff penalties for driving under the influence. Tennessee’s laws include license suspension and mandatory jail time after the second offense. Unfortunately, Tennessee is one of nine states that does NOT have Administrative License Revocation (ALR) laws, which allow the arresting officer to take the license of drivers who fail or refuse to take a alcohol test. While license suspensions and revocations do help reduce the number of people that drink and drive, statistics show that up to 75% of the people that have their driving privileges revoked, drive anyway. Last year I served on the grand jury, and most of the cases that came before us were people driving on suspended license. Many cases were about repeat offenses in drinking and driving including many who were arrested for drinking and driving while awaiting trial for prior DUI offenses, The facts show that suspending a drivers license does NOT stop the person from driving, and does NOT stop the person from drinking and driving. We don’t need to continue ignoring this epidemic when we CAN do something about it. We are not putting out this presentation out just to complain. We have a plan to reduce drinking and driving. So what can be done We are proposing several ideas and/or changes for the legislature to consider: •We propose that the law to suspend the driver’s license of someone convicted of DUI be changed to the license itself being changed to a special DUI license with the same restrictions that Under 21 license has – No Alcohol Purchases allowed. •Anyone arrested for drinking and driving, or who refuses an alcohol test will immediately surrender their regular driver license and receive a temporary DUI license by the arresting officer. The outcome of the trial will determine the regular driver license fate. •Tennessee is a state that offers dozens of specialty tags. Anyone convicted of drinking and driving will be required to purchase a special DUI license plate showing they have been convicted of drinking and driving. •Any person selling or giving alcohol to someone with the special DUI driver license is financially responsible for any liability damages incurred by the driver. •Any store selling alcohol to someone with a DUI license will be subject to fine/and or loss of liquor license. •Any person using a fake driver license to obtain alcohol will receive a mandatory jail sentence. What can you do Start making drinking and driving the In Thing that we should talk about. If you are regular citizen, we ask you to sign our partition supporting our proposed changes in the drinking and driving laws. You can also contact your legislator and urge them to support the changes. You can also make the drinking and driving problem the In Thing to talk about. Let your friends, family and coworkers know how big a problem it is. If you are a legislator, we ask you to sponsor or support a change in legislation. Together, we can make a difference. Together, we can save lives. By signing this petition, you are asking the Tennessee Legislature to consider the above proposals to strengthen the drinking and driving laws.