A recent string of unfortunate car accidents across Seattle has police officials calling for more resources to prevent drunk driving accidents and adequately enforce the laws when people are convicted of DUI. The fallout comes after a tragic wreck when a man with a history of DUI killed several pedestrians outside a suburban school in the middle of the day.
Now legislators are being pushed to pass new, tougher DUI laws, but one DUI enforcement officer says it's not new laws that are needed, it's more resources. To be sure, the number of DUI charges in Seattle has gone up steadily over the past several years, but still this officer thinks there aren't enough personnel to keep drunk driving deaths from occurring.
It is truly a tragedy when innocent lives are lost, and stopping drunk driving deaths from occurring is a worthy cause. But the truth is that spending more money on more police enforcement isn't going to totally eliminate tragedies like this from occurring, but will probably result in more harassment of Seattle drivers who may come under undue suspicion of DUI by an overzealous police force.
People accused of DUI have rights, and the Supreme Court recently backed up the people's 4th amendment right to be free from invasive search and seizure in DUI cases. Officers who want to draw blood to determine blood alcohol content are required to get a warrant, and people under suspicion of DUI should never consent to these invasive tests under fear of police intimidation. People who have been charged with DUI from blood tests taken without a warrant may also now have new grounds to challenge their convictions.
Seattle police should use their resources to make sure that drivers with multiple DUI convictions are properly supervised not crack down on everyone else on the road with intrusive and troublesome blood-alcohol tests.
Source: Seattle PI "Seattle's top DUI cop: Not enough resources for existing laws," Casey McNerthney, May 3, 2013