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Letter: It’s time to crack down on drunk-driving offenders

Like many Americans across our country, I was appalled at the two recent mass shootings. Something surely needs to be done. Politicians, celebrities and the media have called for all measures of gun control and mental health support.

Interestingly, there is another issue in front of us that is of the same magnitude as firearm homicides, yet is mostly ignored by politicians, celebrities and the media. That issue is DUI.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were an estimated 10,874 people killed in 2017 in drunken driving crashes. This compares to an estimated 14,716 firearm homicides in 2017, as reported by the New York Times.

In El Paso and Dayton, 31 people were killed in mass shootings, with widespread media coverage. Yet in the same week as those shootings, 209 people on average were killed on American highways by drunken drivers, and not a word was uttered by national media or politicians.

Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 214 traffic deaths in 2016 among children in DUI accidents. This equates to a Sandy Hook incident occurring every two months.

What do you think the outrage would be if there were 209 people killed every week by mass shooters, or a Sandy Hook shooting every two months? Yet that is what’s happening on our highways, and there is little urgency to stop it.

And the DUI issue has a solution that will, at least in part, stem the tide of fatalities: confiscate the vehicle from a DUI offender. There is no Constitutional protection of one’s right to drive or even own a vehicle. There is precedent for this action in other countries where driving is taken more seriously.

Let’s ask our lawmakers to get after both of these mass killing situations, and not ignore one in favor of politicizing another.

Dave Chatt


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