Wednesday, October 7, 2015

First drunk driving arrest

It’s been 118 years since the first arrest for drunk driving.

On September 10, 1897, a young London cab driver named George Smith was driving tipsy when he slammed his taxi into a building. He was fined 25 shillings.

We’ve had a long time to try to deal with the too often fatal consequences of drunk driving. We haven’t made a lot of progress.

Think about in these terms: everybody knows it’s illegal and dangerous to drive drunk, but the structure of enforcement is that cops have to try to catch the offender while he’s actually doing it so the intoxication test can be administered in a timely way that will hold up in court.

Penalties are too light to significantly prevent repeat offenses. More than half of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive with suspended licenses.

I guess it’s true that people have been driving drunk ever since we learned how to ride animals.

I guess it’s a comfort to think that folks who were riding horses drunk never killed anybody else.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2015 All rights reserved.

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