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  • Jeffrey V. Scherer, Esq.

An Ounce of Prevention Might Curb DUI/DWI...

Many of you may have seen the fairly recent "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" television commercial sponsored by the New York State Governor's Traffic Safety Commission. In the video, police are shown covertly observing a group of individuals who appear to be intoxicated prior to getting into their autombile and driving away. The police are camoflauged as if they are secretly waiting to catch another drunk driver - the commercial's tagline, "they'll see you before you see them." What is interesting about this video is the fact that the police actually wait until the driver has driven away to apprehend him - allowing him to drive in his condition despite the obvious danger to others on the road. Is this the message that law enforcement really wants to promote?

A few questions cross my mind after watching this video and hearing about the tragic implications often associated with DUI/DWI. Wouldn't it make sense for law enforcement to take an active, preemptive approach at DUI/DWI before a driver has made the decision to drive - is the real goal here to stop DUI/DWI, or to make an arrest? For the amount of time, effort and resources that go into enforcing DUI/DWI laws on a daily basis, wouldn't it be wiser for police to attempt to prevent DWI by stationing at least some units outside of known establishments/areas where alcohol consumption is prevalent (known bar/club strips & college bars) and warning drivers of the implications of potentially operating their automobiles before those same drivers make the poor choice of driving while intoxicated? At the very least, these warnings would deter at least some potentially intoxicated drivers and hopefully save lives.

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