Letters to the Editor

Road safety: Give sailors DUI device

All over Oak Harbor you see signs, “We support our troops,” but do we really? One major lack of support is in driver safety, in particular, preventing DUIs that can ruin a sailor’s career. Today, we are still playing cops and servicemen, a carryover from the childhood game of cops and robbers. In Oak Harbor, even the Navy could help.

At present, the unwary sailor has to run the gauntlet of troopers, deputies and police officers who will use any observation to stop a car for the sole purpose of trying to get a DUI conviction: A broken lens on a tail light, any light out or other minor equipment infraction. Quite often the officer will convince himself that he smells alcohol, and from then, there are the roadside sobriety tests and so on. A DUI conviction may follow, or not, but seldom is a ticket written for the minor equipment infraction. I have even heard a story about an all points bulletin for a vehicle leaving a club with a headlight burnt out, and the officer losing the car in traffic.

So how do we support our troops and prevent DUIs? Simple, there already exists a device called blood alcohol ignition interlock device. It is already used on drivers convicted of DUIs. The city, county and Navy could chip in, and the Navy could make mandatory the use of this device by Navy personal. Mass produced, this device would be cheap, and prevention of injuries, loss of life and destruction of Navy careers — priceless.

So let us support our troops and veterans (many are both here in Oak Harbor) and get the blood alcohol ignition interlock device installed. A side benefit would be a saving in dollars, now paid for DUI patrols and a smaller district court load.

Derek W. Knudsen

Oak Harbor

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