Las Vegas announces new DUI penalties to start in November
Las Vegas is ready to introduce a new program to eliminate or reduce drinking and driving. According to Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson, beginning in November, DUI offenders will be forced to spend hours at the coroner's office where the bodies of crash victims are kept for autopsy. The goal of the new Las Vegas program is to help victims understand the consequences of their actions and help them realize there are real victims who are killed and hurt from their bad decisions.
What triggered this move in Las Vegas?
The announcement came Wednesday morning after a deadly crash shut down Desert Inn Road for several hours. The suspect in the deadly drunk driving crash was 24-year-old Hans Bludau, who has a history of drunk driving.
According to reports, Bludua had pleaded no contest to an early driving under the influence charge in June and had completed his sentence in September. But according to Wolfson, the $585 fine, 59 hours of community service, two days in custody, DUI school and a victim impact panel were not enough for Bludua.
"I don't think we are doing enough in this community to deter impaired drivers," Wolfson said. After the crash Wolfson reportedly talked to other justice partners in the Las Vegas valley to discuss what should be done about driving with intoxication violators and whether or not it was time to increase DUI penalties.
After the meetings in Las Vegas, Wolfson decided that DUI offenders should be forced to spend hours at the coroner's office where the bodies of crash victims are kept for autopsy. The purpose of this program is to scare DUI offenders straight. And Wolfson is convinced it will have an impact.
Drunk Driving down in Las Vegas
The good news is that according to a spokesperson for Metro Police in Las Vegas, drunken driving charges are actually down in the Las Vegas area. According to reports, there have been 17 DUI-related deaths this year, fewer than half compared to this time last year or in 2011. DUI arrests are also down by more than 1,000.
But officers remain supportive of new ideas. They believe that any program which brings attention to the issue of drinking and driving can be helpful to the public and is likely to reduce incidences of DUI.
Consider, shame has always been an effective tool to mold and shape societal actions. Although it may be unjustified, we only have to look as far as the campaign against smoking to see that society can change their views on harmful activities. Ask any child under the age of 12 what they think about smoking and you will see what I mean; although it could be argued smoking is much less dangerous for the general population than drinking, especially when combined with driving and the potential destruction of families.
What about Bludau? Although he has a history of driving infractions it seems he was able to get some of his charges reduced to parking tickets rather than driving infractions. But because he didnt learn the first time he will be back in court on Friday to find out what penalties he faces for a second DUI.