Photo by Nerthuz

There is a bill being drafted to, in some ways, toughen drunk driving laws in Maine. As it is now, an ‘Operating Under the Influence’ or (OUI) conviction stays on your record for 10 years, the proposal would lengthen the time an OUI stays with you to 15 years. It’s a good start, but there really needs to more done.

Luckily I’ve never lost anyone to a drunk driver but I know of two people who have. All just due to another person's bad decision to hit the road over the ‘Blood Alcohol Content’ or (BAC) of .08%.

If you read the Maine driver’s handbook, it tells you what can happen if you get pulled over because of drunk driving. (pages 22 and 23)

The penalty for a first offense with no other charges (like reckless driving)  is a $500-$600 fine, 90 day license suspension, a reinstatement fee  and enrollment into an alcohol program. Yes, there are additional costs because of insurance rates but still, it seems pretty light to me.

For a second offense, you get two days in jail, a slightly higher fine, $700-$900, and loss of a license for 3 years plus the reinstatement fee and another alcohol program.

Third offense is 30 days in jail, $1,100 to $1,400 fine, and six years without a license, etc.

I think we need to work on stiffening up the first offense. Not the seventh and eighth offenses, or maybe it’s just me. I don’t even like ordering a drink out at dinner because, what if something happened even if you were within the legal amounts which by the way would be five beers for me if you go by the chart provided here

I understand people make mistakes but if you’re caught more than three times, you’re a habitual. Remember driving is a privilege, not a right. That too is in the handbook.