12 Drunk Driving Convictions: Not a Crime?

ignition interlockResearch shows that for every drunk driving conviction, a person has gotten away with driving while intoxicated around 80 other times. Most states have a very low (or no) tolerance for drunk drivers, especially considering the danger that is posed and the financial cost to us all. With that in mind, how can a person with 12 drunk driving convictions not understand that driving drunk is a crime, and a potentially deadly crime?

With 12 OWI convictions in Wisconsin, the math adds up to around 950 episodes of possible drunk driving for one man in Wisconsin. That would be 950 chances for a family to be fatally injured just for driving down the same street as this convicted OWI offender. Yet, his understanding of drunk driving does not seem to mingle with the laws in the state, a state that has admittedly lax drunk driving laws: he does not see his actions as criminal.

Is it the drinking culture in Wisconsin that encourages a less serious approach to drunk driving, or, is this 12-time OWI offender simply ignoring the obvious: that his actions could have been much worse on his community? What does it take to show offenders the severity of a drunk driving crime, aside from an ignition interlock device or a prison sentence?

Perhaps the crime in this story is that this man has been convicted of driving while intoxicated a dozen times, and yet, there has been very little done to stop him. After one mistake that leads to a drunk driving charge, many people are remorseful and never offend again, either because of harsh drunk driving penalties or their own conscience. In this case, not only have the legal restrictions failed this man, and his Wisconsin community, but, his remorse may be “too little, too late” for him to get his life back on track. With stricter requirements for a drunk driving conviction, including a mandatory ignition interlock requirement, more offenders may sooner realize the errors of their ways, and turn to a safer, sober way of living, driving and moving through life without the negative effects of alcohol.

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