Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Whitewater police need to punish drunk driving, not condone it

In a state soaked in a culture that revolves heavily around alcohol, it is no wonder the topic of drunk driving is present in almost every source of news we watch or read on at least a weekly basis.


While I could go on about the obvious dangers and consequences associated with drunk driving, my real concern lies in the stories we seldom hear about until it is too late.

I’m talking about the lack of intervention by police across our state and, as it has been brought to my attention, in Whitewater.

A couple months ago, I was deeply disturbed to hear the firsthand account from a student who was caught drunk driving by the Whitewater police after a night out at the bars.

He was taken to the police station and asked to perform a field sobriety test, which he failed. After being informed of the many consequences of his actions, he was told he would be the lucky one to get off the hook that night.

The police decided to give him a Breathalyzer just to see what his blood alcohol content was. According to this student, the officers conducting the Breathalyzer expressed surprise at how high his blood alcohol content was (it greatly exceeded the legal .08 blood alcohol content law in Wisconsin).

Despite the concrete results and proof that he was drunk driving, he suffered no consequences for his actions.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation website, 238 people were killed and nearly 4,000 injured in alcohol-related vehicle accidents in 2009.

Though 238 were killed, the number of family and friends affected by these deaths are countless. I don’t need to preach about how horrendous drunk driving is, but it continues to happen and will continue to happen if police do not put a stop to it.

While it will be nearly impossible to eradicate all drunk driving in the state, police and other state officials need to do their part to put an end to it.

Yet another common occurrence in Wisconsin is the many stories of people killed by drunk drivers who have committed the offense multiple times.

Although this is not an isolated incident, the Whitewater police are only assisting these offenders in getting back on the road and putting more lives in danger.

But my astonishment doesn’t lie simply in the story I just shared. In fact, there is more.

Just weeks later, when this same student went downtown for a night at the bars and had a few too many to drink, he responsibly decided to leave his car on the street and ride home with a sober friend. When he returned in the morning to pick up his car, a parking ticket was tucked beneath his windshield wiper, courtesy of the Whitewater police.

What kind of message does this send to UW-Whitewater students who already suffer from joblessness during a weak economy?

Nobody wants to pay a parking ticket, and if the only other alternative is to drive intoxicated, it is a pretty simple decision to make when you’re drunk.

The city of Whitewater and its officials need to look deeper into the issues being addressed within the city, and those being overlooked.

They need to review the city’s parking rules and regulations, and address the lack of consequences for those who are committing devastating offenses which are all too well-known in this state.

If we can’t count on our own law enforcement to enforce the laws, who can we count on?

Yes, I know we should all be responsible college students and arrange for a designated driver before we hit the bars. But we’ve all been in that situation before, when you drink more than you had planned and are consequently too drunk to drive home.

Even still, students and citizens should be able to rest easy knowing that if this does happen to them, they won’t be slammed with a parking fine for making a responsible decision when there are so many other destructive ones that could be made.

Drunk driving will always be a reality in this state, but lack of enforcement by our police should not be.

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Comments (2)

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  • A

    APMar 6, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    I agree that it was a bad idea to let a guilty drunk driver get off scot-free, however I also think that the LAST THING we need is to encourage the Whitewater police to harrass students even more.

    How can one honestly believe that the WW police have not been generally ‘enthusiastic’ enough about tracking down and finding intoxicated individuals in a whole range of settings?

    We all know how much cash the Universtity and city police departments make off of drinking tickets, and have read the stories about UWW police dep’t purchases of riot-control gear (In whitewater of all places?!) that were reported in the RP. The list of stories that involve unjust actions and privacy invasions by the police go on and on.

    As long as WW police maintain their current level of boredom, I don’t think that we’ll have to worry about alcohol laws being enforced in Whitewater any time soon.

  • H

    hell noFeb 21, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    whitewater police suck but ive been arrested twice by them for what they call “drunk driving.” once was legit and i owned up to it paid the price but the other time was complete bs i wasnt even driving. when i asked them what evidence they had they would not answer me so. i actually think they like boosting there numbers so this article surprised me

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Founded 1901
Whitewater police need to punish drunk driving, not condone it