The penalties in the DUI law should be more severe

Dear Editor,

The President’s decision to hold off on signing the drunk driving legislation is truly a wise one. It shows the mettle of this man and his vision, as laws are not changed easily or frequently.

I believe that the current changes being advertised by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Commissioner of Police are lacking in teeth to be truly effective. The law should drive instant fear into those bent on drunk driving.

It must be noted that any drunk driver is a potential murderer. The fine of $7,500 for a first offence is ridiculous in my opinion, as are the other penalties.

Drunken drivers are extremely dangerous people who could not only kill, but destroy families, causing misery and pain. Accidents cannot be eliminated, but definitely people could learn to be more careful. Years ago I wrote in the press about seizing the vehicles of any drunk drivers.  I was heavily criticized by many, but both then and now I believe that some cannot see too far or understand the effect this would have on drunk drivers. Every police station should have more than one breathalyzer (in the event that one ceases to function).

Drivers should not have to be taken to a doctor to be tested, as the police do not have the manpower or infrastructure to ferry every drunk driver to a hospital. As for my suggestions on penalties, these should include seizure of the vehicle, substantial fines, imprisonment, and in the case of repeat offenders, suspension from driving for life.

When one wants to send a message, one has to send a proper message. The law in relation to using a cell phone while driving is more serious than the one on drunk driving, since it includes a jail term. This is also serious, but drunk driving in my opinion is more so.

Yours faithfully,
Roshan Khan

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