M.A.D.D. director seeks tighter drunk driving laws
The Associated Press
OKLAHOMA CITY ' The new executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D) wants to tighten state laws regarding driving under the influence and driving while intoxicated.
Virgil L. Green, police chief in the tiny Okfuskee County town of Boley, leads a team of more than 70 volunteers who help families who have had a relative or friend killed by a drunken driver to navigate through the legal system and deal with their grief.
Sherri Rogers, a M.A.D.D. victims' advocate, lost her 18-year-old daughter Krystle to a drunken driver.
"I've suffered many, many days and nights of grief and pain," said Rogers, of Oklahoma City. Emptiness, loneliness and fear are her constant companions, she said.
Mild-mannered but tough-talking, Green often uses the phrase "you, drunk driver" in conversations.
"You can go out, celebrate and drink, but you, drunk driver, have got to get a designated driver, too," Green said. "You, drunk driver, what you're doing is a violent crime with the most serious consequences.''
"You, drunk driver, have created victims that will be living with their losses for the rest of their lives. And you did it," he added.
Green's first objective is aimed at Oklahomans convicted of driving under the influence for the first time. Their vehicles would have to be equipped, at the owner's cost, with "ignition interlock devices" for six months to a year.
Drivers have to use a mandatory breath test before the car will start. The ignition system locks down at the first indication of alcohol consumption.
"This successfully prohibits intoxicated drivers from repeatedly harming themselves and their fellow citizens," he said.
In 2006, the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office reported 148 fatal alcohol-or-drug-related crashes. For the same year, there were 5,442 alcohol-and-drug-related crashes reported in the state.
The breath-test limit in Oklahoma is .08 or higher for driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage.
Green believes breath-test requirements should be stricter and punishment harsher for all drunken drivers.
"As state executive director of M.A.D.D. Oklahoma, I want drunk drivers to start thinking of the choices they are abouto make, and the lives they are about to affect, and that's not just their lives," Green said.
"I'm tired of hearing about traffic deaths and lives adversely changed forever. So I say to you drunk driver, at least think the next time you drive the roadways about your deadly choices," he said.
Green, who's being paid $49,000 a year as state leader, became interested in the organization after attending a M.A.D.D. diversity conference.
It was reaching out to the 3,000-member National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and Green was chapter president for the state group.
"One thing we knew was that drunk driving doesn't discriminate. This violent crime of being killed by a drunk driver can happen to anyone of any race," the new director said.
Green said lawmakers must crack down on drunken drivers. "This crime of drinking and driving won't go away until states pass serious laws that will address this problem."
M.A.D.D. seeks tighter drunk driving laws
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I always said if you stopped a driver and he was drunk, he should get an immediate BIG ticket PLUS he should be thrown in jail for THREE DAYS!! Try explaining THAT to the boss and the wife/husband!!!
Maybe they'd think before driving while drinking if the punishment was much more immediate, much more strict and definitely UNARGUABLE!!! No ifs, ands, buts or maybes - go to jail, go directly to jail, do not pass go, do no collect $200.
They did manage to get the minimum drinking age raised to 21, which to me is idiotic. It would make more sense to now raise the voting age, and the minimum age to join the armed forces also to 21. I'm sorry, but I have a serious problem with someone being allowed to decide who the next President will be, and to take up arms and kill people in the defense of this country, but God forbid he drink a beer with his father. Good heavens, that would be a crime.
Therefore, underage drinking, if they're at least 18, doesn't even register on my radar.
Facts don't lie. Drunk drivers are a menace. Anything to help reduce the numbers of them is a good thing.
The legal drinking age here is 19. I think it should be 21.
It's easy MinPins, he hates cops and blames anything "law enforcement" as Bad. Even if it's drunk drivers killing people, it always bad cops, bad cops. My only prayer is that he and his family never meet a drunk driver face to face or should we say, bumper to bumper. If a guy gets pulled over and he's falling down drunk, it generally tells me he shouldn't be driving. Now what innocence or guilt was he talking about? Oh yeah, he might not be totally drunk, you know, not drunk enough, or maybe he should be unconcious and kill someone first. Then we have to see if his rights were violated.
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