Viewpoint: April 21, 2010

Last week, the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office arrested a man for driving while intoxicated, making it his 15th arrest for the same offense. And this hasn't been the only case this year involving multiple DWI arrests. This begs the question, "how is this possible?"

From laws surrounding breathalyzer tests to punishments for driving with a suspended license, our DWI laws are more lenient than others in the nation. And, there are loopholes that result in hundreds of cases being dismissed every year.

Last spring, the state's DWI task force was charged with making recommendations to toughen our laws. Changes were made and we applaud these stricter measures. However, it is clear that there is still more work to be done.

With Louisiana's alcohol-related fatality rates significantly above the national average and with plenty of evidence that those with multiple DWI arrests can take advantage of loop holes and court backlogs to get behind the wheel again and again, we urge legislators to continue revisiting and refining the DWI laws.

There is a responsible way to enjoy oneself without putting lives at risk. Through education, responsible choices and tougher laws, we believe Louisiana's alcohol-related fatality statistics can be vastly improved and more lives can be saved.