I just read an article in the Wall Street Journal about Wisconsin's drunk driving laws and the reforms some legislators are trying to push through.

41% of Wisconsin's traffic deaths are alcohol related and NOW they're finally going to do something about it. So they decided to take the "drastic" step of requiring first time offenders with at least 0.15% BAC (almost twice the legal limit) to install "ignition interlocks" in their cars. Oh, and they're also going to bolster penalties for repeat offenders and expand their alcohol treatent program... Wow.

Those are some mighty big changes going on up north. I mean, I realize Wisconsin is like the home of beer and they love their Milwaukee Brewers but enough is enough! First offenders getting traffic citations and fines? Police are bound by law to refrain from setting up sobriety checkpoints? This is stuff from a decade or two ago and it's gotta be fixed. Chuck Hurley of MADD says it nicely, that "only in Wisconsin" are the reforms they instituted a sign of progress.

But let's not kid ourselves. Virginia isn't all that great when it comes to DUI laws either. We have the ignition interlock, stiffer penalties for higher BACs, and sobriety checkpoints but what we don't have is penalties for the places getting people drunk.

It's time that bars start taking some of the blame for drunk driving. I don't mean to say that bars should stop operating but you'd think that good common sense would hold that the workers of an establishment know not to let someone drive when it's obvious they've had too much. Bars get in trouble if they serve underage kids, they lose their ABC license. Why not have it be the same for DUIs? If a bar serves a guy too much and lets him drive home, BOOM no more liquor license. I know there's a lot of grey area there but at least it's a start to finally getting the bar and restaurant industry to pick up part of the tab for the mess they help create.
Ben Glass
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Ben Glass is a nationally recognized Virginia injury, medical malpractice, and long-term disability attorney
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