Car Culture and Drunk Driving — They Go Together

Drinking and driving laws vary from state to state, but in Wisconsin, it’s not until your fifth offense that you’re charged with a felony for drunk driving. That’s an awful lot of leeway for a behavior that so often leads to serious bodily harm.

But as Urban Milwaukee points out, it’s not just the law on DUI that needs to change. The supremacy of the driving culture plays a key role in encouraging offenders:

2786277723_b708ca030e.jpgPhoto by cobalt123 via Flickr.

So let’s start with lowering when a drunk driving offense becomes a felony, but understand the problem is that people make what at the time seems like a rational choice to drive, prior to what clearly is an irrational choice to drive drunk.

Point being that part of the drunk driving discussion that is always left out, is our driving culture. The State of Wisconsin is in the middle of spending $6 billion on freeway expansion in Southeast Wisconsin, while at the same time mass transit service in Southeast Wisconsin has seen budget cuts, service reductions, and any attempt to improve access or service is fought and often blocked. Knowing full well that customers will be living the High Life while attending Summerfest, State Fair, and a game at Miller Park, we still surround them with massive surface parking lots. The limiting of transportation options and prioritizing others furthers the cultural belief that driving is the only option, and that somehow other transportation methods are a challenge to one’s freedom.

More from around the network: Cyclelicious has the news on a new Missouri law that permits cyclists to roll through some red lights after stopping. Let’s Go Ride a Bike confesses that sometimes, she takes the sidewalk. And KC Bike.Info reports that the Kansas City Star has endorsed bicycle infrastructure improvements as one of the most effective uses of stimulus funds.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

How Cuomo Could Expand DWI Effort to Target All Serial Dangerous Drivers

|
Governor Cuomo announced Monday that new DMV drivers license rules have taken thousands of dangerous motorists off New York State roads. The changes set an important precedent by mandating the permanent revocation of driving privileges for the worst drunk driving offenders. But since the new policies apply only to DWI violations, the state is still allowing […]

Andrew Cuomo Could (Still) Save Thousands of Lives With One Phone Call

|
On Monday Andrew Cuomo hailed DMV rule changes that have resulted in license sanctions for recidivist drunk drivers. The governor, who spearheaded the reforms himself, could also use the power of his office to take driving privileges from motorists who habitually commit other deadly violations, like speeding, which kill and injure thousands of New Yorkers every year. In 2012 Cuomo oversaw an […]