Letters to the Editor

DUI related deaths

The Nov. 1 story about the habitual drunk driver hit on a subject that has been bothering me especially because some choose to alarm us about gun death cases while they ignore the DUI laws and prosecutions, which are much more alarming.

There were 10,322 DUI related deaths in the USA in 2012, the last year of complete records. (321 or 34 percent of all traffic deaths in Illinois.) There were a large number of gun related deaths as well, but over 40 percent were suicides, with the states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Utah leading the way. Why are we so ineffectual in stopping this? What would you do if there were 10,000 accidental gun deaths?

When I was young, drinking was as much a sport as a way to enjoy yourself. I overdid it only three times, and never when I was driving. But now with the highways much more crowded and traffic moving faster (where are the state police) it is even more important to stop this.

I drove professionally for 10 years at 50,000 miles a year. No accidents then, but I could not do it now. So many are driving over their skill level. Add alcohol and you have a predictable outcome. The only real way to stop this is mandatory jail time on every conviction. “Supervision,” suspension or revoking of license or fines does not work. That seems clear. These people, who should know better, must be taken off the street. Your life depends upon it.

Joseph M. Reichert, Belleville

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