Wednesday, April 01, 2009

No spine for tougher penalties

And, as the 'Dog might say, the camel's nose gets a little further into the tent:

AUSTIN — The Texas Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would allow police in urban areas to set up sobriety checkpoints on roadways known for alcohol-related problems.
The bill now goes to the Texas House.
The final vote in the Senate was 20 to 11, with seven Republicans and four Democrats voting against the bill.
Opponents said the checkpoints would be intrusive and violate motorists’ rights to not be stopped unless an officer has probable cause to suspect they are intoxicated.
“You’re stopping and harassing people, innocent people who are not drunk and have not been drinking alcohol,” said Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen.
But the bill’s sponsor, Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, said that traffic safety experts say checkpoints are the most effective deterrent against driving while intoxicated.
“We lead the nation in drunken driving deaths. We have to do something different than what we are doing today,” said Carona.
...Carona said the federal safety group estimates that 300 lives would be saved through use of checkpoints.

Checkpoints the most effective deterrent, eh? You know why this is? Because no one with any power has the stones to mention the possibility of, say, death by firing squad for DWI. I suppose some might say that's way overboard, and perhaps it is...but isn't that the whole point? To get the message across that such negligence will not be tolerated? Everybody should know by now the risks of getting behind the wheel when drunk. I know there are those who will say, "If those checkpoints save just one life..." but how many lives could be saved by meting out the ultimate punishment for driving drunk? How many situations like this could be prevented?