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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

DUI on the rocks

According to a Tucson Police Department news release, 10 of the 650 drivers stopped at a sobriety checkpoint Friday were arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, illuminating an unremitting problem, unabashed by the strict law enforcement, the life-altering repercussions and the clear betrayal of moral and ethical protocol. This begs the question: is the juice worth the squeeze?

The juice merely amounts to an imperfect night, or day for that matter, of throwing down a few beers or taking some shots without having to pay for a cab, calling a sober friend for a pick up or leaving a car at the place of inebriation. In other words, it’s one part stupid and two parts worthless, on the rocks. The possible squeeze, however, compresses to one simple term: loss — loss of money, loss of license, loss of freedom, loss of life.

According to the statistics available at alcoholalert.com, Arizona suffered 937 traffic fatalities in 2008. Of those fatalities, 329 were alcohol related, an atrocious 35 percent. Of the 937, 266 instances of traffic fatalities involved a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or above — a whopping 28 percent of the total 937 traffic fatalities and 81 percent of those alcohol related. 

For each number listed — all 329 — Arizona lost a life. These people could potentially still be among us if someone had made a simple call to a cab company or sober friend. Two hundred and sixty-six mothers, fathers, children and grandparents could potentially attend family dinner tonight if someone had refused to sit in the driver’s seat illegally, start the ignition and sacrifice someone else’s life or his or her own.

Despite the horrifically morbid possibilities, people continue to ignore the risks and selfishly take the wheel — and so came to be the strict DUI protocol of Arizona. The squeeze for a first DUI conviction includes a $250 DUI base fine, $200 Arizona DUI surcharge, $10 probation surcharge, $500 prison construction assessment and $500 Arizona extra DUI assessment.

From there, the squeeze continues to tighten, requiring a minimum of 24 hours and maximum of ten days in jail. A license suspension ensues as well, ranging from 90 to 360 days, and court may order the installation of an ignition interlock device at the convicted DUI offender’s expense. 

The law should not have to implement such strict punishments to encourage human beings to be morally descent. When you make the conscious and selfish decision to drive after drinking, or even allow a friend to make that decision, you don’t only risk your own life, but you risk all of those around you — a risk you have no right to take, legally or morally.

So, the question remains: is the juice worth the squeeze?

Is potential jail time worth that drink? Is the possibility of paying hefty fines worth the couple of dollars required to pay a cab driver? Is the chance of robbing someone of his or her life — stealing a child from his mother, a father from his newly born, a wife from the love of her life — worth bypassing a quick call to a sober friend of family member?

Here’s a hint: No. Nothing is worth that squeeze, so don’t drink the juice.

— Rachel Leavitt is a creative writing sophomore. She can be reached at

letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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