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In our opinion: Despite public awareness, DUI fatalities are rising

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  • Sundriver West Jordan, UT
    Oct. 24, 2012 2:59 p.m.

    For me, the passage of time is marked by seminal events. Graduation, marriage, the birth of children,a new beginning, a new job. Perhaps a foundation upon which to build a better life, to sustain hope and faith in the future.

    In May 2011, all of that changed. On a Sunday morning, my son was hit by a drunk driver. He died eight days later, and was buried in Provo,the city of his birth. Now, time is marked from those terrible days. Sorrow and loss have replaced hope and faith. Coping, struggling to forgive, and move on seem as distant now as they were the day he died.

    I'm not ignorant of the Savior and assurance in the resurrection. I firmly believe I will see my son again. But a final solution to the slaughter caused by DUI's escapes me. So does relief from the heartache and loss my children and grandchildren will carry for the rest of their lives caused by this savage, selfish act.

    Perhaps a solution will only come when legislators and alcohol profiteers are forced to look on in horror as their loved ones die from drunk drivers.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Oct. 24, 2012 9:24 a.m.

    @ Hutterite

    Trying to justify DUI's by using gun deaths is a smoke screen. (And you know it.) I did not say you shouldn't be allowed to drink; only that DUI should not be tolerated. Read again my post, please.

    I don't know why "responsible drinkers" are not up in arms about DUI, too.

    With respect to me becoming "snotty" because I "can't drink" you have absolutely no clue.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 23, 2012 12:27 p.m.

    @Mountanman
    "4 million Americans will be victims of drunk drivers this year which means your odds of being a victim is about 30% if we consider that there are about 130 million drivers on the roads."

    What the... Okay first off, there are not 4 million Americans who are victims of drunk drivers each year. Secondly 4 million out of 130 million is not 30%. This math is so awful I'd think you were drinking while commenting.

    @Rifleman
    "You more likely to be murdered there"

    The homicide rate spiked in Chicago after their gun ban was struck down.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 23, 2012 12:21 p.m.

    @Mountanman
    "Tell that to a victim's family and see if they think its inflammatory hyperbole!"

    By your logic people who own guns are killing everyone and it's totally cool to lump responsible drinkers/gun owners in with the ones that end up running someone over or shooting someone.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 23, 2012 11:34 a.m.

    Re: Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    "We cannot legislate to insure everyone uses everything properly."

    No, but we can enforce DUI laws and put the offenders in jail ..... where they belong, and where they can't hurt or kill anybody.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Oct. 23, 2012 8:49 a.m.

    Re: ". . . you're not going to prevent me from drinking."

    I don't want to. But I do want to make sure you pay the entire cost to society of your avocation.

    The industry that garners immense profit from supplying you with poison must be required to compensate the inevitable victims of your "fun."

    That'll probably make your booze cost a more, since the "hospitality" industry is unlikely to pay these costs out of the obscene profits they've gotten used to.

    But so be it -- it's only fair.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Oct. 22, 2012 10:47 p.m.

    "DUI is totally avoidable and it should be totally, unequivically, and absolutely unacceptable too. Why do we tolerate it?" Because gun deaths are equally preventable, and we absolutely refuse to do anything about them. Smoking related deaths, too. And those run into the hundreds of thousands per year. And yet we can blissfully ignore them. The truth is we cherry pick what to get worked up about and this is one of those items. Every preventible death creates a victims' family. No one wants that. But you're getting all righteous and snotty because you can't drink. Well, sorry about your luck. I'm not going to drink and drive, and most people who drink are the same. But, like gun owners and smokers, you're not going to prevent me from drinking.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 22, 2012 3:32 p.m.

    Hutterite,

    Yes you are. Driving, boating or flying impaired is a fatal accident waiting to happen. DUI laws are strict in Europe and they are effective.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Oct. 22, 2012 2:26 p.m.

    Re: "More people are killed or murdered with guns than . . . by drivers under the influence."

    Carefully worded. Technically accurate. But a misleading and irrelevant red herring, nonetheless.

    There were 12,252 gun-related homicides in 2005 [the latest year I could easily get my hands on statistics]. 80% were by career criminals or gang members, 600 in valid self- defense.

    So, non-hard-core/gang-war homicides? Something in the neighborhood of 2,500.

    The 16K gun suicides, most committed under the influence of intoxicants, are more properly attributed to "hospitality" industry carnage, than to gun violence. There were also 16,885 alcohol-related traffic deaths, 55% resulting in the impaired driver's death. As with gun suicides, a drunk driver is usually as much a victim of the "hospitality" industry as his victims.

    So, with proper math, we're left with about 2.5K real-people gun murders. "Hospitality" industry carnage makes a large hole in 30K.

    Every year.

    And that doesn't even consider the 254,000 injuries and $3.2B in property damage.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Oct. 22, 2012 1:27 p.m.

    Joe Blow. My information comes from MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving).

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    Oct. 22, 2012 1:23 p.m.

    As per my last post, I can find a list of the top 15 killers in Utah, and the term Accident is a catch all category. So DUI deaths are not in the top 15. And coming in at 69 deaths, I doubt its in the top 25.
    That being said, its awful to be a victim in an accident. Lets prevent things, but lets keep them in perspective.

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    Oct. 22, 2012 1:21 p.m.

    @procuradorfiscal
    We cannot legislate to insure everyone uses everything properly. We cannot legislate people to be smart. DUI's are a small amount of deaths in Utah. Put it in perspective and we shouldn't be giving any resources towards it.
    Lets see the list of what kills the most people in Utah. Will DUI's even be on it?

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Oct. 22, 2012 1:13 p.m.

    DUI is totally avoidable and it should be totally, unequivically, and absolutely unacceptable too. Why do we tolerate it?

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Oct. 22, 2012 12:36 p.m.

    Re: "Alcohol is a legal product that causes you no harm when used responsibly."

    True enough.

    The real problem, though, are the thoroughly horrendous, readily foreseeable, easily calculable, statistically stable, human and financial costs of irresponsible use that are inseparably connected to "responsible" alcohol consumption.

    Those costs are borne today almost entirely by innocent victims of irresponsible drinkers, many of whom -- at least in Utah -- don't share "responsible" drinkers' enthusiasm for the practice. This, notwithstanding the fact that the "hospitality" industry rakes in blood-soaked billions in alcohol profits every year, almost none of which is directed to the industry's victims.

    It's tempting, in a state where most don't drink, to just prohibit alcohol consumption, which would, of course, decrease the carnage.

    But there is another way.

    Fix Utah's lax dram-shop laws, extending liability for injury by drinkers to those who profit so handsomely by it.

    That would provide, not just relief to innocent victims, but meaningful incentives to those who profit so handsomely by it, to stop the carnage.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 22, 2012 12:04 p.m.

    Re: Republicantthinkstraigh Anywhere but, Utah, Utah
    "Your logic of keeping guns (to protect your family) when obviously guns provide more harm than good compared to alcohol, is flawed to say the least."

    The majority of Utahns think you should hold the drunk driver and not Ford Motor Company responsible for his misdeeds.

    Likewise, if someone misuses a firearm we think it is the individual and not Smith & Wesson who is responsible. Luckily for us we have the 2nd Amendment and the US Supreme Court on our side. People suffering from a gun phobia should move to Chicago. You more likely to be murdered there but liberals are not known for using logic or common sense.

  • Republicantthinkstraigh Anywhere but, Utah, Utah
    Oct. 22, 2012 11:38 a.m.

    More people are killed or murdered with guns than are killed or murdered by drivers under the influence. Your logic of keeping guns (to protect your family) when obviously guns provide more harm than good compared to alcohol, is flawed to say the least.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 22, 2012 11:36 a.m.

    Re: JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    "Alcohol is a legal product that causes you no harm when used responsibly."

    No one is questioning whether alcohol is a legal product. If you want to drink it that's perfectly acceptable. Just don't get behind the wheel after you do. Drunk drivers belong in jail.

    I never allow myself to get overly concerned when I hear that a drunk driver has destroyed his (or her) car and is in the hospital. It helps keep them off the street.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Oct. 22, 2012 11:25 a.m.

    I think there is no doubt that some folks can drink responsibly.

    There is also little doubt that a smaller portion of the population cannot.

    Irrespective of local drinking laws (where I am some counties/cities are "dry" or "wet") there is NO doubt that all of this changes once someone gets behind the wheel.

    At that point a private act becomes a public danger. Prosecution of that crime should be harsh (because the fact that no one got hurt/killed this time was just luck). And if you drive without a license (because yours was revoked due to DUI) then you get to spend some time thinking about it at public expense.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Oct. 22, 2012 11:18 a.m.

    Mountan,

    Looked at your statement

    "4 million Americans will be victims of drunk drivers this year which means your odds of being a victim is about 30% if we consider that there are about 130 million drivers on the roads."

    Thought is sounded high. Cant find any stats that even remotely come close to what you have written.

    Could you please cite the study, or tell me where you got these numbers?

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Oct. 22, 2012 11:06 a.m.

    Alcohol is a legal product that causes you no harm when used responsibly. You can disagree, but my statement is supported by research.

    Same with guns and the same with cell phones and the same with prescription drugs.

    Alcohol has a place in society. It always has. Remember when Jesus turned water into wine?
    Beer came about because it was safer to store and keep than water.

    Your statements show an obvious prejudice against alcohol. I assure you that I have a brain and enjoy alcohol responsibly. As do most others.

    Issues like this CAN be discussed using logic and reason by logical and reasonable. You do not seem capable of doing that for whatever reason (religion? personal incident?).

    Cant have a reasonable discussion with unreasonable people.

    Let me ask you this. What would you propose as a solution? Details please.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Oct. 22, 2012 10:37 a.m.

    Joe Blow. 4 million Americans will be victims of drunk drivers this year which means your odds of being a victim is about 30% if we consider that there are about 130 million drivers on the roads. Statistically you are more likely to drown in a swimming pool in America than be killed by a gun. Also, I use guns to defend my family from criminals who will use guns to harm others. How can I defend my family from drunk drivers?

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Oct. 22, 2012 10:18 a.m.

    "Those of you who defend drinking alcohol are killing (literally) the rest of us!"

    That certainly sounds illogical.

    Let me try.

    "those of you who defend gun ownership are killing (literally) the rest of us!"

    Nope. Doesn't make sense either.

    Both products, when used responsibly, have no ill effects on ones self or society in general.

    And, Over-the-top, inflammatory, incorrect rhetoric serves no purpose.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Oct. 22, 2012 10:17 a.m.

    Hutterite. Tell that to a victim's family and see if they think its inflammatory hyperbole!

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Oct. 22, 2012 9:42 a.m.

    We who enjoy a drink are not out to kill 'the rest of you', any more than someone with a handgun or an elderly person behind the wheel. And certainly not nearly as much as smokers. This kind of inflammatory hyperbole is not helpful. And for everyone who wants the old standby, the 'crack down' or 'clamp down' of more laws, we need a different approach. It's the old 'outlaws will still have guns' situation. Reasonable people everywhere who drink to not drink and drive. The problem ones will do it without license or insurance no matter what the laws. And these are the ones that end up on the news.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 22, 2012 9:32 a.m.

    It is tolerated because we allow it to be so. When our legislators work for the people rather than the hospitality and liquor industry things will change. Evidently people who are killed as the result of DUI are expendable, alcohol profits are not. Their idea of stiff enforcement is "Please drink (get drunk) responsibly."

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Oct. 22, 2012 8:11 a.m.

    Why do we continue to tolerate alcohol? Why would anyone with a brain drink alcohol? Cause it's "fun"? Those of you who defend drinking alcohol are killing (literally) the rest of us!

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Oct. 22, 2012 8:06 a.m.

    I cannot say how prosecution of DUI works in Utah. But in other states where I have lived, it is incredibly lenient (unless there was a severe accident involved).

    Rifleman is correct. We need harsher sentencing.

    In Europe, where driving is seen a more of a privilege than a right, the rules are much stronger. We would do well to emulate them.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 22, 2012 6:13 a.m.

    The reason is that we, the people, continue to tolerate it. If we put our foot down and insisted that drunk drivers serve a harsh jail sentence for a first offense these needless deaths would drop drastically.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Oct. 22, 2012 5:19 a.m.

    Re: "The Legislature should . . . review and assess the statutes in place to combat the problem . . . ."

    It should. But it won't. Because the legislature is in the pocket of the "hospitality" industry.

    That industry, including brewers, distillers, and distributors, continues to reap billions in blood money from their actions, while enjoying near-immunity, at least in Utah, from the entirely predictable and easily preventable consequences.

    The ONLY solution that has even a ghost of a chance at reducing the carnage is strengthening Utah's lax dram shop laws, incentivizing "hospitality" industry responsibility for its insane irresponsibility, requiring it to pay for the carnage its billions in profits cause.

    But, since that would require Utah legislators to take a step or two away from the industry, we've come to expect little.

    Legislators inevitably choose self interest over protection of the innocent public they're elected to serve.