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Old 10-22-2009, 05:22 PM
 
989 posts, read 3,133,176 times
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Why does Montana have such a problem with drunk divers? I like a drink now and then just like the next guy, but I have sense enough to not drink and drive.

My wife and I were returning from a great day out at the lake this summer when we came across a fatal traffic accident. A guy who was over the legal limit hit this young couple who were out on a Harley ride. Killed them both!
There they were, still lying on the road with blood stains all around, and skid marks and broken glass telling the story. They were just out enjoying the day and it all ended forever because this wise ass didn't care enough about others to stay off the road!


What about the Montana State Senator, Greg Barkus, who was drunk this summer and crashed his boat at Flathead Lake?

Consider this:

The defendant, Barkus, whose blood alcohol content registered twice the legal limit, has a previous arrest for driving under the influence.
The prosecutor's deputy attorney has a previous arrest for DUI.
The original judge's ex-husband - who was city attorney in a nearby town - has a previous arrest for DUI.
Even Barkus' own defense attorney has a previous DUI arrest. The lawyer's case, however, was dismissed, in part because the arresting officer was not available to testify - he had been killed by a drunken driver.

To have that many people involved whose personal or professional lives have been touched by DUI, that really says something about who we are as a state.


People say its "Montana culture", a way of life with a strong tradition of drinking and driving. "Give people some freedom" they say. What about my freedom, what about my right, my freedom to drive on Montana roads with some amount of assurance that the guy coming at me isn't blind drunk? What about that freedom?
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Old 10-22-2009, 05:32 PM
 
Location: Gallatin Valley
496 posts, read 1,189,450 times
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Because Mt is not hard enough on these people.
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Old 10-22-2009, 06:33 PM
 
989 posts, read 3,133,176 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desertrose34 View Post
Because Mt is not hard enough on these people.
The lawmakers are not "hard enough on these people" because we the people have not expressed our concern with the situation. Honestly I don't think there is that much concern. Hell, the lawmakers themselves have more DUI's than you can shake a stick at.
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Old 10-22-2009, 07:37 PM
 
Location: Orlando, FL
317 posts, read 945,859 times
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The trouble with Montana is there is not very good transportation alternatives from the bar to the drunk person's house. A lot of bars are in the middle of nowhere, so it's hard to find an alternate way home.

By the same token, if the state were harder (revoke licenses), it would cause people to lose jobs, families, homes, and everything. States that are harder most often have decent public transporation so if they revoke your license you can still get to and from work.

I don't agree with the looseness of laws in Montana and not defending it, but trying to answer the question you posed.
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Old 10-22-2009, 07:59 PM
 
Location: NW Montana
6,258 posts, read 12,920,546 times
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Maybe if the owners of the establishments are held responsible for the actions of those they pour for...

The money follows action IMO.
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Old 10-22-2009, 08:00 PM
 
989 posts, read 3,133,176 times
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Originally Posted by cedar_bluff_tree_farm View Post
By the same token, if the state were harder (revoke licenses), it would cause people to lose jobs, families, homes, and everything. States that are harder most often have decent public transporation so if they revoke your license you can still get to and from work.

The newspaper said the couple we saw dead on the road had children. I'm more concerned with them than the drunk who might lose his job. I have very little sympathy for those who put my family at risk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cedar_bluff_tree_farm View Post

I don't agree with the looseness of laws in Montana and not defending it, but trying to answer the question you posed.
I understand.
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Old 10-22-2009, 08:02 PM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,543 posts, read 12,611,276 times
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Before you cry for heavier anti-drunk-driving laws, remember that 990,000 Montanans did NOT drink and drive that day.

And we don't want to make laws so restrictive on the relatively tiny percentage of ne'er-do-wells that it impacts the freedoms of the responsible -- doing so is the road to tyranny (as Calif is well down the road to demonstrating).

It's the same basic issue as gun control. 3000 gun owners shot and killed someone last year. But 150 MILLION gun owners killed no one. Despite this, many cities and states restrict gun ownership and carry rights, under the theory that this will eliminate the few irresponsible or criminal gun owners. But as we know, it doesn't work that way -- rather, it destroys everyone's rights, while affecting the perps not at all.

Alcohol is no different. A few will drink and drive no matter how heavily we penalize them. But don't let that fool you into believing checkpoints and interlocks on ALL vehicles is the answer. (And remember that police occupied in manning checkpoints cannot patrol the streets.) There is no perfect answer that doesn't destroy the rights of the citizens as a whole, hence there will always be a few unfortunate and sometimes deadly incidents.

But remember that giving up YOUR rights will not stop someone else from being a danger to those around him.
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Old 10-22-2009, 08:09 PM
 
Location: Orlando, FL
317 posts, read 945,859 times
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One thing I should say is that drinking & boating is not unique to Montana. I've been to many, many other places where drinking & boating is as big or bigger than in Montana.

Now drinking & snowmobiling, that might be a Montana (and Canada and Minnesota) problem....
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Old 10-22-2009, 08:15 PM
 
2,087 posts, read 1,418,938 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seven of nine View Post
Maybe if the owners of the establishments are held responsible for the actions of those they pour for...

The money follows action IMO.


That concept completely releves people from having to be responsible for their own actions.


The idea that its because of public transportation is totally false also. Unless you live in a pretty big city there is no public transportation late at night with the exception of a cab. If you live in any state in an even relatively rural area people don't use cabs either.

Its personal responsibility, have DD, if you are going to get intoxicated beyond the legal limit do it at home or somewhere you can stay. Perhaps the laws need to be tougher but I don't necassrily think that tough laws always deter people. I mean if the idea of wow I am drunk and could kill someone or myself driving home doesn't deter you is the possibilty of losing your license or maybe doing 15 days in jail gonna deter you.

I also think there is something to be said for the fact that many montanans have alot farther to travel on there way home and therefore more opportunity to make a mistake driving.

I completely agree that we all have a right to be safe on the roads from drunk driving at that freedom is much more important than any other to do with this issue. But how do we do that??? make a 1st dui offense punishable with months in prison? Perhaps. we do it to non-violent drug offenders all the time so why not??
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Old 10-22-2009, 08:49 PM
 
989 posts, read 3,133,176 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reziac View Post
Before you cry for heavier anti-drunk-driving laws, remember that 990,000 Montanans did NOT drink and drive that day.
13,000 Americans are killed each year in alcohol-related crashes, and Montana has more alcohol related accidents per mile than any state in the Union. We were one of the very last states to even make open containers unlawful. In boats open containers are still legal here. I don't want to cloud this discussion with open container debates, but I bring this up to point out how relaxed our alcohol laws are here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reziac View Post
...we don't want to make laws so restrictive on the relatively tiny percentage of ne'er-do-wells that it impacts the freedoms of the responsible --
You and I have very similar philosophies on government involvement in peoples lives. As Ronald Reagan once said, "Government is not the solution, government is the problem!" I am for smaller government, and I do not want them making restrictive laws. BUT... when it comes to protecting me, or those I love, from drunk drivers, I think Montana does not do enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reziac View Post
It's the same basic issue as gun control. 3000 gun owners shot and killed someone last year. But 150 MILLION gun owners killed no one. Despite this, many cities and states restrict gun ownership and carry rights, under the theory that this will eliminate the few irresponsible or criminal gun owners.
Comparing gun control to drunk driving does not work for me. The gun is an inanimate object. Blaming the gun for an accidental shootings is like blaming the pencil for spelling a word wrong. With drunk driving we're talking about people being drunk-- living breathing people who drink alcohol to the degree that they become intoxicated, then get behind the wheel of a car and drive. You are not put at risk by the guns I have in my truck and under my bed. You are put at risk if I drive down the road drunk.
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