I am alarmed to read of the insufficiency of serious prosecution and treatment of Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII) cases in Astoria. In 1993, my first wife, Elaine Myers, was killed by a drunk driver in a neighboring county, and the losses to her and our community were horrific. The driver who killed Elaine survived, and she and her family and friends also suffered grievously.

Drunken driving must be made unthinkable: It is a deadly, murderous error. The hazards must never be brushed off lightly. Self-deception by drunks is especially dangerous, because they can experience driving sometimes without crashing, fooling themselves into thinking that the risks don’t apply to them. Then one day their reflexes fail them and they crash – and other people, families, and the community pay an awful price.

Even first offenders should be not allowed to drive again without evidencing that they have corrected their life to avoid repeating the error. Treatment must be legally mandatory and ferociously effective. Unfortunately, many drunks attempt to evade treatment, so crushing, effective prosecution is a necessary tool. This is not harsh to offenders: it is a gift to both drivers and the community to stop drunken driving before more people are hurt or killed.

My life today has been well healed by a loving marriage and supportive community, thanks to Astoria. But the losses to Elaine and the community are irreparable, and all too common. We’ve got to stop drunken driving.

DAVID LEE MYERS

Astoria

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