Dui Deaths No Joking Matter

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Anonymous phone message:

"I'm just calling to thank you guys for the heads-up tip that you put on the front page of your paper because I'm one of them individuals who don't have a license and I do drink and drive every day. I appreciate you for putting that down on the page, that way I know when a cop tries to stop me I'll go ahead and outrun ‘em because they ain't gonna take my car. And my car will outrun any of them little old cars them old cops'll chase me in. Thanks for the heads-up."

The Roundup received this amusing, anonymous phone message Monday morning regarding our front-page story about new legislation that allows police to impound vehicles for 30 days if a driver is stopped for a DUI violation. This includes being cited for extreme DUI (blood alcohol content of .15 or above); aggravated DUI; or underage DUI.

The new law goes even further and allows impounding vehicles for other violations such as driving on a revoked or suspended driver's license.

I agree with the driver's license stipulation, but the most valuable punch in the law is the DUI consequence.

While the phone call above may have been made in jest, driving while intoxicated is no laughing matter.

I'm glad to see tougher laws that crack down on what I consider one of the most irresponsible things a person can do.

Personally, I believe we are far too lenient with convicted DUI drivers. It's especially sad when the behavior is repeated again and again without real, solid accountability.

It breaks my heart when we have to print another headline about an innocent child or family member who is killed because someone lacked self-control.

For victims like David Goddard, who lost his wife and two children to an impaired driver in July, the pain will last a lifetime.

We must continue to enact stiff penalties and send a clear message to keep our families safe.

In 1981, I was asked to accompany a friend to visit a little girl in the hospital. The 5-year-old child had been seriously injured when a drunk driver slammed his car through the side of her house and crushed her as she slept in her own bed.

I was a young man and still had much to learn about choices and consequences in life. But the memory of that little girl wrapped in bandages and casts made me understand that there are at least two kinds of tragedies -- those that are unavoidable, and those that didn't have to happen.

DUI deaths and injuries don't have to happen.

Please join the voices of countless parents, spouses, children and friends who needlessly lost their loved ones because of a stupid, unnecessary decision. Support legislation and legislators who say we've had enough tolerance for drunk drivers.

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