Do tougher DUI laws really make our roads safer?

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Louisiana DUI Law - Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias L.L.C.A recent article in The Times-Picayune poses a compelling argument for more education for individuals who drive under the influence of alcohol.

In a letter to the editor, the Executive Director Marjorie R. Esman of the ACLU of Louisiana states, “Arresting them [drunk drivers] doesn’t work, and we can’t afford it. Education and alternatives to arrest whenever possible are less expensive and more effective than trying to arrest our way out of every problem.”

Esman compares several regions in the state of Louisiana: New Orleans and Jefferson Parish with St. Tammany. Though New Orleans and Jefferson Parish have increased arrests through a crackdown on DUI, the areas have not seen a corresponding decrease in DUI offenses. St. Tammany, however, has seen both a decrease in arrests and impaired driving. These numbers demonstrate that law enforcement cannot arrest their way out of every crime problem.

Because refusing the Breathalyzer test results in automatic loss of driving privileges, many suspected DUI offenders are already taken off the road; therefore, Esman argues, no-refusal blood testing initiatives serve only to increase the number of arrests, not promote public safety. And with the criminal justice system unable to bear the cost of paying for public defenders and operating jails and prisons, it’s time to closely examine the most effective, cost-efficient ways to deal with drunk driving.

Education about drunk driving and its consequences as well as alternatives to arrest in certain cases may not only be less expensive for the criminal justice system but also effect the change that law enforcement has so desperately been striving for: fewer drunk drivers and alcohol-related accidents.

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Categorized as Blog, DUI, DWI

By George Vourvoulias

George is a founding member and managing member of Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias L.L.C., a New Orleans law firm. George concentrates his practice in maritime personal injury, construction litigation, personal injury, workers' compensation, medical malpractice, and DUI defense. George Vourvoulias's Google+ Profile