When tragedy strikes, the bereaved are often strongly motivated to do everything and anything they can to prevent similar tragedies in the future. While we can all understand that impulse, it usually leads to unnecessary fear and even costly and redundant “feel-good” legislation that is eagerly lapped up by selfish lawmakers needing positive press for upcoming elections.
As a pre-teen, my parents forbade me from riding a skateboard because some kid I never met was paralyzed in a skateboarding accident. Now, I wasn’t particularly interested in skateboarding, so it wasn’t any big deal for me at the time, but I’ve haven’t failed to notice the plethora of anti-skateboarding legislation in every local community I’ve lived in. Oddly, or not so much, the communities that ban skateboarding in public areas, like sidewalks and parks, etc. are very reluctant to build a skateboard park that would encourage riders to stay out of the other public areas. Why? Because they fear accidents and the law-suits that come with them.
So, today I read a tragic story. It seems a falling-down drunk mom driving a sedan at high speed flipped over three times and ejected several of the 7 little girl passengers, one of whom died. The Bronx, NY woman had a .132 blood alcohol level and the girls weren’t wearing seatbelts. In the wake of this horrible event, the father of the dead girl has vowed to go to city hall, congress, and the White House in a crusade for stronger laws against drunk drivers.
While I’m all for tougher penalties for drunk drivers who kill people in accidents, the grieving father’s efforts won’t do anything to prevent drunk driving accidents. Drunk driving is a result of overall irresponsibility and, as such, cannot be deterred by the threat of punishment. He would be much better off expending his energies toward making sure the driver that killed his daughter gets charged criminally and goes to jail for negligent homicide.
If that fails, he should take her to civil court and take her for an enormous some of money that she doesn’t have, so she’ll have to get a second job to pay the judgment against her, and if she fails to make her payment, she can be imprisoned as punishment. While it won’t stop the next irresponsible idiot from driving drunk, he could at least get this one off the street.