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Enough worry keeps drunks on edge

Nobody likes to get caught in the traffic caused by a weekend night sobriety checkpoint.

Tuesday, September 07, 1999

Nobody likes to get caught in the traffic caused by a weekend night sobriety checkpoint. The wait could be several minutes while the officers peek their heads in cars to see if they can find someone who should not be behind the wheel.

Others claim the spot checks are a violation of their rights, saying that spotting 50 innocent people to find the one guilty party is an abuse of police power.

And that is an issue to consider.

But overall, checkpoints and other strong drunken driving prevention programs and tougher sentences for offenders are working.

Drunken driving arrests are down nationwide and there are fewer people dying these days, probably because more drunks are afraid to get behind the wheel.

And that is good.

Drunken driving is a senseless crime. A moment of stupidity and several lives are destroyed. Ask Larry Mahoney, the man who left a Kentucky prison this week about the consequences of drunken driving.

His moment of weakness lost him nine years of his life and ended the lives of 37 people – mostly children – who were on a church bus.

Even one death on America’s highways because of a drunken driver is one too many.

If checkpoints stop even one driver from hitting U.S. 52 at 65 miles and crossing the centerline because he can’t keep the car steady, or stiffer sentences make a drunk stop for a few seconds to think of the consequences before she gets behind the wheel, then the little bit of inconvenience that the delay causes the rest of us is worth it.

Drunken drivers still claim both young and old, leaving families scarred for life.

Mahoney’s release should remind us all that it only takes one mistake to ruin your life and to destroy families.

Prevention is the best way to make sure there isn’t another tragedy.

The Ohio Highway Patrol and other officials deserve our cooperation and thanks as they try to make sure no one dies in Lawrence County this year because of a drunk.

A few extra minutes in this case could save a life.