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Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016

Few more brochures won't solve problem

Wednesday, February 20, 2002

You'll find few others as adamant as I am when it comes to drinking and driving. In short I have no sympathy for those who drive drunk. I believe the punishment for the crime is far too lenient and I believe the crime is largely overlooked by society. It's that little dark secret that we seem to hide for some unexplained reason.

But I also believe that many of our efforts at reducing drunk driving in this state are misguided and just plain dumb. Take for example the latest efforts proposed this week in Jefferson City.

Two bills have been introduced that would provide brochures on the dangers of drunk driving to all new applicants for driver's licenses in Missouri. Now granted, this measure will cost taxpayers only $7,500 annually but that's not the point.

If a license bureau were to place a trash can at their exits, 95 percent of these brochures would end up there. It's not a bad idea, it's just a foolish idea. Do you honestly believe there is anyone who is unaware that it's unsafe to drink and drive? Do you actually imagine that there is one resident of this state who actually believes that driving drunk is safe?

We don't need some silly brochure to tell us that it's unsafe to drink and drive. That's a wasted effort only designed to make ourselves feel good. The only solution to drunk drivers is to hit them with such a severe penalty that they will never, ever repeat this stupid activity. There is absolutely no other way.

I find it amusing that we somehow believe that simply providing information will solve all ills. How long will it take us to learn that information is good only when placed into action? To make this next step we must sometimes force people into following the laws of society. And we do that only by making the penalty so severe that the anti-social actions will not be repeated. But that takes guts and sometimes our legislature lacks that ingredient.

We need more brochures like we need more holes in our head. What we need are prosecutors and judges to take DWIs seriously. You damned well can't do that with a brochure!

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