Thursday, February 23, 2006

Special License Plates for Repeat Drunk Drivers.


Lawmakers in Maryland are currently debating a number of bills addressing drunk driving. One of the bills, introduced by Montgomery County Delegate Herman L. Taylor, Jr., would require the state's Motor Vehicle Administration to issue special license plates to people convicted of at least two drunk driving offenses. NBC4.TV reports:

It's intended to track people who have had two or more offenses dealing with drunken driving," Taylor said.

The license plates would contain the letters "DUI" in bold. Taylor said a drunken driver struck him last May, and at the time of the crash, police had no idea that person was a multiple offender.

Taylor considers the DUI plate an ounce of prevention because it gives police a license to stop the driver at any time.

"(The bill) will allow (police) to, without probable cause, pull them over and check" their driving records, Taylor said.

Other states currently engage in similar measures, despite criminal defense lawyers' questions about possible civil rights questions concerning such plates. Ohio, for example, issues habitual drunken drivers a yellow license plate with red numbers; Oregon and Washington put a "zebra" sticker over the plate of habitual offenders.

Interesting. This, of course, does not prevent repeat offenders from driving somebody else's car without the "scarlet letter" plate, and it also makes somebody else driving a repeat offender's car appear to be a repeat offender. But innovation in the area of preventing drunk driving is necessary, and if this makes any difference at all maybe it's worth looking into.

For some incredibly comprehensive information about drunk driving laws across the country, including pending legislation and hearing dates in every state, check out The National Hardcore Drunk Driver Project (.pdf files used heavily).

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