September 24, 2005


Henry County's Circuit Clerk was arrested over Labor Day weekend and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

Debra J. Doss, 50, of Galva, was arrested at 10:21 p.m. Sept. 3, by Illinois State Police at the intersection of Illinois Route 78 and Prospect Street in Kewanee, according to court records.

Records indicate Ms. Doss' blood alcohol level was .150. The legal limit is .08.

Ms. Doss was stopped during a roadside safety check, according to court records. The report said she had a strong odor of alcohol, slurred speech and uncoordinated actions.

It was Ms. Doss' first DUI arrest, records indicate. Her first court date is scheduled for Oct. 10.
I can't help but feel for this person, though of course, we all know we shouldn't drink and drive. But the fact that she's a public official means she gets the spotlight in the paper, and it's also a "there but for the grace of God, go most of us" sort of story.

I may be wrong, but I suspect a very great number of people out there, even the otherwise completely responsible and upright readers here, might get behind the wheel while over the very low legal intoxication limit. These dragnet checkpoint deals that cops run have got to be a goldmine, and there's an aspect of them that really, really sticks in my craw.

There seems to be something inherently unfair about busting someone stuck in a checkpoint. They could be utterly safe, even more than a person on a cell phone or turned around backwards fighting with screaming kids, yet they're busted just as hard and suffer the same consequences, all things being equal, as the idiot who gets behind the wheel so drunk they couldn't crawl a straight line.

Surely the cops have their hands full busting drivers who are obviously drunk or who come to their attention by speeding, weaving, having lights out, or other violations. Do they really need to resort to stopping every single driver to see if they've had more than two drinks in the past couple hours?

I suspect cops see it more as a revenue mining opportunity than a public safety effort. And after all, they just stand around pulling people over and writing tickets. Easy money. Beats going out and actually having to work to find bad drivers I guess. But it somehow doesn't seem quite fair.

What's your opinion?


At 9/24/2005 1:21 AM, Blogger SENOR MF BADASS said...

Holy Crap!! I agree with you!

I feel dirty.

This must be what it feels like when a straight guy gets turned on by gay porn.

At 9/24/2005 4:43 PM, Blogger Dave Barrett said...

My opinion? You seem to be saying that you think someone can be driving drunk and yet still be a safe driver. It is hard to imagine how an intelligent person could believe such a thing unless they were a habitual drunk driver in deep denial.

At 9/27/2005 9:05 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

It's an indisputable fact that some folks are much safer drivers after a few drinks as compared to some people stone sober. People who have had a few drinks are actually more likely to be very attentive to their driving, as opposed to harried mothers, people with a cell phone in one hand and trying to take notes with the other, people driving when they're far too tired or inattentive, on medications, including cold medications used by millions, both legal and illegal drugs, and on and on.

I find it hard to beleive that an intelligent person actually believes that having slightly more than a .08 blood level automatically renders them a reckless menace on the road.

Simply common sense would show that, before the mad mothers stampeded legislators to continually compete to slap their names on bills to see who can appear the toughest on driving and drinking (not exactly courageous, as there's no big lobby for common sense on the issue) that there were literally millions of drivers who would drink responsibily and drive responsibly.
In a nation where millions upon millions of people used to routinely drive when they'd be far past the present legal limit, the fact remains that only a fraction were ever involved in accidents.

While the effort to reduce people driving while they've had enough alcohol to significantly impare their ability to drive, and reducing the tragedy of lost lives due to drunk drivers, it's simply overkill to set up dragnets to criminalize otherwise perfectly safe drivers who happen to have had a couple drinks within a few hours of driving.

A sober person has the sun in their eyes and gets in an accident, and suffers no consequences. That same person has the sun in their eyes and has the same accident but has had two drinks, and it's suddenly a "drunk driver" which caused the accident, even if alcohol had nothing whatsoever to do with it.

I'm all for an intense effort to find and arrest drivers who are obviously impaired and a menace to others. I've seen many of them out on the road and have even called the cops on them myself.

But setting up sting operations and busting people who are not violating any other traffic regulation at all is simply unfair and unjust, in my opinion.

And this view has nothing to do with my drinking habits, but rather the fact that these efforts ruin people's lives and have zero effect on public safety.

The pendulum has swung too far and needs to be adjusted to a saner, fairer, and less draconian level.


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