Dear Future President of the United States,
I am heartbroken as I tell you healthy, innocent people are being brutally killed every day. As stated by the Association for Safe International Road Travel, car crashes are the ‘single greatest annual cause of death of healthy U.S. citizens traveling abroad.’ Every day, around 27 people are killed in a drunk driving accident. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) That adds up to 9,855 families losing a loved one every year. This issue is not about someone having just a little bit too much to drink. This is personal.
As of right now, the penalty for drunk driving is not near as extreme as it should be. Every day, people drive drunk more than 300,000 times, but only about 3,200 are arrested. (MADD - Drunk Driving Stats) On a first offense, the penalty is a maximum of 93 days in jail, 6 month license suspension, and a fine from $100-$500. (Michigan DUI Driving Laws) We need to update the penalties on this law and make it much more difficult for those who think they can get away with drunk driving. I believe we should raise the first offense to a year in jail, one year license suspension, and a minimum fine of $600. With this put into place, new and repeat offenders will think twice before they drink and drive.
As effective as we may think our penalties right now are, 50 to 75% of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on a suspended license. They are on our roads and endangering every citizen out there. In addition, about 1/3 of all drivers arrested or convicted for drunk driving are repeat offenders. (MADD) By raising the penalty, we will be able to drastically decrease the amount of repeat offenders. Knowing the extremely high stakes is one thing, but having to pay the price is a different story. If we give them a severe punishment, it will be enough to bring not only our numbers down, but to keep our loved ones alive.
As a normal citizen, you have to ask yourself, when is enough enough? But as the primary leader of the United States, you need to do what is best for the people of our country and raise the stakes included in our drunk driving laws. This simple addition to these penalties will save thousands of lives. New and repeat offenders will think twice before they drink and drive. If you have the power to save thousands of innocent American citizens with one simple law, why wouldn’t you?