California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    DUI Laws Are Not Severe Enough

    On average, there are 28 deaths per day happen in the United States due to drinking and driving according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. The consequences to drunk driving need to be more severe. 

    I was involved in a drunk driving car accident my senior year of high school. My family and I were on our way to Los Angeles and a car was going the opposite way on the freeway. Had my dad not swerved several inches, I would not be alive today. 

    The driver’s blood alcohol concentration levels were insanely above the legal limit. However, luck was on his side because we found out later that he did not serve much time in jail.

    To this day, I still get scared to drive because I have a fear of something similar happening to me. We were lucky that morning that nobody died. That man  made a decision that could have easily ended a lot of people’s lives.

    According to dui.drivinglaws.org, current California laws state that during your first offense you may face up to six months in jail and your license is suspended for four months. Fees are also a threat, but this still leaves room for people to commit the offense again. 

    Laws and programs need to be implemented so that people do not get their licenses back until they can prove that they will not drink and drive again.

    The consequences in California need to become more severe. Even if you drive drunk once, it is enough to kill someone and ruin an entire family’s life. 

    Something we do not see often is DUI checkpoints. Investing money in these kinds of efforts clearly shows that we are trying to enforce the laws more and it could possibly decrease DUI-related incidents. 

     The Los Angeles Times reported on a program that was having its trial run in certain counties across California, one of those being Los Angeles County. Those who are offenders would have a device, such as an ignition interlock device, which can tell if they are drunk and the car does not start unless they are sober. This is a huge step in efforts to stop repeat offenders. A combination of these types of programs and increasing fees would be even better. 

    Increasing fees immediately upon first offense would prevent people from drinking and driving. Do not give people the time to commit the offense again. Treat the first offense as if it were the the person’s third strike. People don’t want to pay a hefty fee because they may not have the resources available and they don’t want to face the jail time.

    Teaching our youth early on and designating more programs to educate them and show them the consequences of their decisions, increasing fees and suspending licenses for longer periods of time are all useful. 

    “We should teach students in elementary schools to warn them, but I would not do it in an intimidating way,” Frausto said. 

    There are many ways to prevent drunk driving and make the consequences more severe. With all these methods we may be able to save more lives from drunk driving. With the proper education and consequences, we can reduce the amount of deaths that occur. 

    How do we avoid being the drunk driver? For one, if you are the designated driver for the night, do not drink. There was a reason you were picked. If your D.D. does get drunk, call another friend and tell them the predicament that you are in. I would rather have my friends call me at two in the morning than be woken up by a call saying they were in a car accident that was DUI-related. Lastly, if nothing else works, just use Uber or Lyft to get home. 

    Don’t let a temporary situation ruin your life. We need to enforce and make our current laws more severe. I know people who laugh about getting away with drunk driving. 

    Vianca Castaneda-Correa
    Reporter