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Roger Bailey, Bismarck, Published December 20 2012

Letter: Get serious about drunken drivers

The tragedy gripping the community of Newtown, Conn., (and the nation) is almost unfathomable. It was a senseless act of destruction by a disturbed person who took the lives of 20 children and six teachers – and forever altered the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands, more.

While grieving over this loss, consider the recent endorsements from North Dakota’s governor, attorney general and a couple of lawmakers to pass more rigorous penalties for drunken driving – an act that singly ends and destroys many more lives than the mass murders reflected upon in recent days. Deaths caused by drunken drivers in this country exceed 10,000 per year – many more than 20 of them children, but because they occurred one, two or three at a time, they become lost in the dustbin of statistics.

The current proposal of a four-day jail sentence and $750 fine for drunken drivers is only acceptable because North Dakotans and North Dakota lawmakers have a long history of going easy on drunken drivers (and speeders).

Ye gads, the voters banned smoking in places where drivers become drunken. It’s time to get serious.