Second Chance for Alaska DUI Offenders
By: Gerri Elder
In Alaska, a home school teacher has helped pass a bill to help people who have been banned from driving after DUI convictions. Narda Butler met Robert Herbert, a DUI felon who has been sober for six years, and appealed to her legislator to pass a bill that will give some people who have found sobriety the opportunity to legally drive again.
Butler was successful at convincing her legislator that convicted DUI offenders should be given a second chance and a bill that will help misdemeanor DUI offenders drive again has now been signed into Alaska DUI law. The Anchorage Daily News reported that misdemeanor DUI offenders who have been banned from driving will be able to drive if they have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles. The ignition interlock devices are devices that require the driver to pass a breath test with a blood alcohol content of .025 percent or less before the car can be started.
According to SignOnSanDiego.com, a recent MADD program in an El Camino, CA high school was met with anger and confusion by some of the student body. It seems that, in late May, MADD and the local police department had 36 high school students volunteer to play victims of drunk driving accidents.
That is, the students volunteered to be dead for educational purposes.
Sources indicate that police officers entered classrooms one morning and told the students that their classmate (who was not present) had been killed by a drunken driver. Going so far as to give a eulogy and place a rose on the "dead" students' chairs, the officers then apparently left students to go about their normal routines for about an hour.
Later in the morning, the school reportedly held an assembly at the sports stadium and watched a police-run demonstration of a car crash involving impaired drivers. During the enactment, the "dead" students allegedly played the role of ghosts circling the scene of the crash.
The stunt, which was part of a program called "Every 15 Minutes," has caught the attention of media sources nationwide. It seems some students were angry that they had been deceived and others were emotionally distraught when they believed their classmates to be dead.
But, according to reports, the police officers and other organizers of the event believe such distress and anger to be justified if the program has the effect of discouraging drunk driving.
The officer in charge of the program apparently expressed the opinion that "talking nicely" to students isn't effective in conveying the don't-drink-and-drive message. Evidently, he believes that students today are so exposed to violence and gore via the Internet and movies that only an emotional jar will effectively reach them.
That may be the case, but some critics still feel MADD crossed the line with this hoax, calling the ruse "psychological torture" and questioning the effect such a stunt will have on the students' ability to trust police in the future.