On January 08 this year, a 73-year old Wisconsin man was charged with his 18th DUI offense following a crash that took out power lines, resulting in a power outage. Between 1988 and 2011, Wallace Bowers racked up 17 DUI charges. Astonishingly enough, he was in possession of a perfectly-valid drivers’ license when the latest accident occurred. According to local police chief Andrew Smith, the initial report was for downed power lines. When officers arrived on the scene, they found Bowers in an inebriated state.
Drunk driving is far too common
While the Wallace Bowers case is unique in some ways, driving under the influence is a lot more prevalent among U.S. drivers than we would like to believe. In fact, more than 4 million adults admitted to drinking and driving occasionally, according to a recent government survey. Considering how many people engage in impaired driving it is somewhat surprising that more people do not die at the hand of drunk drivers. At present, more than 10,000 road accidents fatalities occur on the roads of the USA every year as a result of drunk driving. This accounts for nearly 28% of all road fatalities in the country.
The punishment must fit the crime
A DUI lawyer can attest to the fact that DUI accidents are treated a lot differently to other traffic accidents because they involve severe criminal conduct. For this reason, there are many laws in place that protect the interest of American road users. After the Bowers’ latest incident, WLUK-TV reported that state law does, in fact, stipulate that a driver’s license must be revoked after a fourth DUI conviction if the last conviction was not more than 15 years ago. Bowers’ last conviction was in 2011, however, seven years before the law came into effect in 2018. A DUI conviction can have severe consequences, including jail time, court-ordered rehabilitation, and loss of employment. If driving under the influence results in a manslaughter conviction, the punishment will be considerably more severe.
You always have a choice
During his initial court appearance, Bowers’ stated, “I’ve been sober since the 2011 (incident), that last DWI, and I blame the medications I have to be on (they) can interfere with the few drinks I did have.” Whether or not he is speaking the truth is of no consequence, as getting behind the wheel while intoxicated is a choice. When you know you’ll be drinking, make use of a ridesharing app such as Lyft or Uber to get you home safely. Alternatively, appoint a designated sober driver, or make use of public transport. If you have no safe transport at your disposal, it may be in your interest to stick to alcohol-free drinks, as you don’t want to end up on the wrong side of the law like Wallace Bowers.
Driving under the influence can have grave consequences. When drinking, it is important to make an alternate transport arrangement to ensure you do not cause a potentially fatal car crash.