What a sad irony

I awoke this morning to hear about the tragic car accident in Bridgewater involving Bridgewater State College students. One was reported dead. Two more were reported seriously injured. The driver was reported to be drunk. The alleged drunken driver was 19; two years younger than the legal drinking age, and she was allegedly driving in front of a bar in town when the accident occurred.

What's makes the pain of this accident more acute is the fact that the state Legislature is being rapped this week by the governor and advocates for stronger drunken driving penalties for its watering down Melanie's Bill, a measure that would require very strict rules for repeat drunken driving offenders. I would hope that this death would shake some sense into the brains of the politicians on Beacon Hill.

I was listening to Howie Carr last night on the way home from work, and a defense attorney was telling Howie how his clients have had prior arrests on their records (solely for drunken driving wasn't clear) that weren't theirs, and he was arguing that this was a reason why the proposed law was bad (judges could use prior records in determining sentencing, unlike now). That may be the case for some people, but I wonder how many people lugged in for DUI are affected by this. As such, this example isn't a reason to consider softer drunken driving laws. But the deadly accident, which also injured another student and a man standing in the group, should be the reason we toughen our drunken driving laws. It's apparent to me that we don't have enough of a deterrent to drunken driving, and if someone gets a harsh sentence on the first offense, he or she will be less likely to drink and drive again.


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