Letter to the editor: State should confiscate vehicles of drunk drivers

Kelly Boe’s death and the history of the man who killed him reveal that Vermont does not take DRUNK DRIVING seriously. That the statutes regarding penalties for such behavior could include the phrase “fifth or subsequent time” defies reason. The increasing penalties for repeated offenses attempt to affect the behavior of people who are a demonstrated menace to all who walk, bike or drive on Vermont roads. Some are sick.
Alcoholism is adisease. Must we continue to allow people with this particular illness to work out their problem in cars and trucks? There are four ingredients in this tragedy: the victim, the driver, alcohol and the vehicle. The State does nothing for the victim. As the statistics on repeat offenders reveal, the driver is easily returned to the road.
Jailtime, community service and fines appear to do little to significantly dissuade drunk drivers. Not all drunk drivers suffer from alcoholism. Those that do have a serious group of professionals and dedicated recovered alcoholics to help them. What about the vehicle?
Without a vehicle the drunk is less dangerous to society. Why not have all Vermont drivers use the road with the clear understanding that the State will confiscate the vehicle used to commit this crime. First time, no exceptions.
It doesn’t matter who owns it. If it’sthe weapon of choice, it’s gone. If it has any value, sell it and help pay for the medical costs or funeral expenses of the victim(s). Or help pay for the treatment of the criminals. But please, let’s not have more of the same.
Patrick Stine MD

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