Sound Off: Nobody is safe from drunk drivers

Drunk driving is a modern-day scourge, a primary public health threat that can slam into any of us any time we’re on the road. It can hit our wives, our husbands, our children, our parents. It can destroy our lives. None of us is safe from a drunk driver.

Drunk driving is not just another traffic offense; it is a serious crime that causes needless deaths and injuries.

According to the victims rights organization, Mothers against Drunk Driving, nearly 13,000 Americans people are killed every year by drunk drivers, and countless others are injured. This represents more than 1,000 families every month who must live with the tragic consequences of drunk driving.

In Washington State, the law (RCW 46.61.520) says a drunk driver is guilty of vehicular homicide if the death of any person ensues within three years as a result of injury caused by that driver. In Washington State, vehicular homicide is a Class A felony.

Whidbey Island was tragically robbed of a great-hearted community leader Jan. 22 by the death of Karen Gervais-Boone, two days before her 48th birthday. Karen was stolen from us by the careless and destructive act of a woman who has been charged with vehicular homicide in her death.

To her family, Karen was a loving wife, a wonderful mother, and a devoted daughter. To every community in which she lived, Karen was a tireless leader who served on the boards of her church, local schools, organizations involved in hunger programs, and many other efforts to make the world a better place.

To those of us fortunate enough to have known her, Karen was a wonderful, generous friend. To everyone whose lives she touched, Karen can never be replaced, no matter how much we miss her or how tearfully we mourn her loss.

The best way to honor Karen’s life would be to renew our efforts to rid our roads of the perpetrators of this modern-day scourge. Since we are all responsible for watching out for drunk drivers, call the police if you see someone who is about to drive drunk or is driving erratically. Think about it — if you see a drunk driver and don’t report it, you are morally responsible for any harm that drunk driver does.

Finally, let’s stop putting drunk drivers back on the road. If they violate the law once, we need to make it impossible for them to do it again. As a last resort, lock them up before they kill, because no punishment is enough after they’ve slammed into our lives.

Portia McCracken lives in Langley.

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