Tuesday, November 13, 2007

How to set a really bad example

Define irony: a sheriff's executive is charged with driving under the influence.

The L.A. Times reported that Division Chief Michael Aranda, a top-ranking Los Angeles county sheriff’s executive, is facing charges of misdemeanor drunk driving charges filed by prosecutors. He was arrested on suspicion that he was driving while intoxicated. See the report at Los Angeles Times.

This is an indication of a very sad state of affairs, when authorities who should serve as role models are going the wrong direction. Drunk driving is a very serious problem that needs to be addressed and not exemplified. It causes death and personal injury, not to mention an immeasurable damage to families who lost a loved one to DUI.

According to this article "Drunk Drivers / DUI", the group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) estimates that over half a million people get injured in alcohol-related accidents annually, or roughly a person per minute. The group added that in 2003, a total of 17,013 fatalities were recorded in alcohol-related crashes. This is probably the reason why some law firms now specialize in DUI accidents and injuries.

This is how serious the problem on DUI is in the United States, it is one of the major causes of deaths and personal injury. While both the government and the private sector work together to drastically decrease the number of DUI-related accidents, it really does not help the cause to see prominent and popular personalities getting caught driving drunk, especially people like Aranda.

In some countries, the penalties are higher when imposed against government officials convicted of committing common crimes. I consider it a good idea to open the debate on raising penalties against government officials in this case.