State house fails to pass drunk driving bill

A proposed bill to prevent repeat drunk driving offenders from purchasing alcohol was denied by the Tennessee legislature.

A new piece of legislation made its way to the Tennessee House of Representatives recently but was voted down. According to MyFoxMemphis.com, the bill would have required people with three or more drunk driving convictions to have special notations placed on their drivers' licenses. These notations would have prevented anyone from selling alcohol to them for as long as 15 years.

Opponents of the measure indicated that the bill would have done nothing to prevent sales of alcohol obtained with other forms of identification. While that is true, the bill could have helped prevent some sales and every bit of assistance to combat drunk driving is important.

The true dangers of drunk driving in Tennessee

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 995 deaths in automobile accidents statewide in 2013. Drunk drivers were responsible for 277 of them. County statistics include the following:

  • Shelby County had the most number of drunk driving deaths, losing 30 people to drunk drivers.
  • In Davidson County, 24 people died in drunk driving accidents.
  • In Knox County, 16 people lost their lives in accidents involving alcohol.
  • Neighboring Tipton and Fayette Counties lost a combined eight lives in these crashes.

These statistics do not even include the number of people who suffered catastrophic injuries due to the negligence of drunk drivers.

Recent stories show the continued risk

MyFoxMemphis.com reported on the recent DUI arrest of a member of the Memphis Fire Department. The man was stopped and found to have a blood alcohol content of at least 0.158 percent. His seven-year old son was also riding in the car at the time he was seen speeding through a construction zone.

Residents in North Memphis were without power temporarily after a utility pole was downed by a drunk driver. The 36-year old man was found to have a suspended driver's license as well as a vehicle registration violation according to wmcactionnews5.com.

A story on wreg.com told of a 10-year old child operating a vehicle while sitting on the lap of an intoxicated woman who was not her mother. A citizen noticed the child driving and alerted authorities, also staying to block the vehicle from fleeing until officers could arrive on the scene. The woman faces multiple charges including child endangerment and DUI.

An ongoing risk to innocent people

Every day, people in Memphis run the risk of being injured or even killed in drunk driving accidents. Victims should always be prepared to take action and talk to an attorney in these situations.

Keywords: drunk driving, accident, injury