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Drunk-Driving Arrests Increase

December 18, 1990

Impaired? Yes, I would be impaired. But I would be impaired if I had three cups of coffee in an hour, too. And, while we're at it, how about all those people driving around under the influence of over-the-counter cold remedies? I've been a lot more impaired under the influence of an antihistamine than when I've had three beers. Will over-the-counter drugs be next in this prohibition-by-degree movement?

I'm not saying I'm pro-drunk driver. To the contrary, I'm glad that there are drunk driving laws that are being enforced. What I am saying is that this pendulum has swung too far. The implementation of the laws, and the specific laws themselves, have gone from letting a drunk driver sleep it off overnight and sending him home in the morning to a situation where an individual is judged by an arbitrary chemistry standard rather than by his driving ability. A person who was slapped on the wrist for repeated offenses is now slapped in jail, fined and has his license pulled for a first offense. That is excessive.

H. WAYNE WIDNER, Redondo Beach

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