Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Proposed Drunk Driving Legislation

Under proposals being considered by the state Legislature, convicted drunk drivers could face stiffer penalties, including tripling of mandatory jail time on a first conviction and requiring offenders to buy a special license plate.

Under the proposed legislation, first-time offenders would spend three days in jail, rather than the current one day, if they had less than double the 0.08 percent blood-alcohol content allowed by state law when arrested. They'd spend a week behind bars, rather than two days, if they had two or more times the legal limit.

Opponents say the proposal could end up costing cities and counties money. Even though the bill calls for offenders to pay for their incarceration, only 30 percent do that now.

Special license plates could also be required for those with drunk convictions. They would have a 'Z' on them to denote the offense. The plates would cost $100 more than what current plates go for.

What do you think folks? Of course I am against drunk driving, but I'm not sure about the license plate proposal. There are a lot of families with only one vehicle. What if a mother has to drive the kids to school in the car with the Z license plate on it because her husband was convicted of drunk driving? And what if you buy a car with a Z plate on it? Will you have to pay to change it out? Also, will the Z draw attention to you by law enforcement? Will they be more likely to pull someone with a Z on their license plate over? I just see a host of issues arising from this suggestion.


Rachel said...

I like the plates. That way everyone else can tell who the drunk driver type is. Maybe they aren't drunk right now, but at least you can tell you should avoid them on the road.

SRTC Staff said...

I talked to a couple people in passing who considered that 'profiling.'

Rachel said...

Meh. It's one thing if you label people based on a born trait, and something else if they voluntarily committed a crime.
That's how I feel anyways.

SRTC Staff said...

One of the younger folks in our office said that if something like this passed, all his friends would actually try to get bootleg 'Z' license plates. I found that to be an interesting addition to the conversation.

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SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

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