New York Law Enforcement Has Its Priorities TwistedApril 12, 2013 | in Defensive Driving Tips
By Doris Aiken
Recently here in Upstate New York, there were two stories reported in the media that suggest our justice system still has its priorities out of whack concerning pot and DWI.
A 20-year-old kid who was allegedly selling pot from his apartment is remanded on $10,000 bail to the Schenectady County Jail. The day before, in Gloversville a repeat felon drunk driver who allegedly fled the scene of a crash while drunk was released on his own recognizance. With this drunk driver’s track record, you would think that he would have been the one who was sent to jail.
It was also reported that members of the Glenville Police Department and a Schenectady Police Department canine team assistedScotia officers with the arrest. Area law enforcement seem to be investing scant police resources to fight what is essentially a consensual crime while drunken drivers continue to receive a get-out-of-jail-free card with their reckless behavior.
In America, drunken driving accounted for 9,878 deaths in 2011, according to NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). The actual figure for DWI fatalities is much higher; since the NHTSA study failed to include any offending drivers with a BAC (blood alcohol content) lower than 0.08.
These habitual drunken drivers are random killers on the road. The fact that a repeat drunken driver is free to go back on to the streets with no bail requirements is appalling, yet not surprising. The 20-year-old who is accused of selling pot wasn’t selling to anyone without their approval or consent. What these two criminal cases reflect is the public decades-old, irrational fear of one drug (marijuana) which has never accounted for a single overdose death and a blind acceptance of a much more dangerous drug (alcohol).
Our society has made great strides in making drunken driving socially unacceptable through the education and efforts of groups like MADD and RID. Recently our elected leaders have slowly made progress with the passage of more sensible marijuana laws. The irony of these two tales of injustice should serve as a reminder that we still have a long way to go.
Doris Aiken is the President of RID (Remove Intoxicated Drivers), the original anit-DWI national organization in the United States. You can find more infomation at rid-usa.org.← What Are the Crash Test Ratings of Your Car? | Smartphone Driving Apps Worth Trying →