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Opinion

Editorial: What next to stop DWI?

Police Investigators examine the scene of a multicar

Police Investigators examine the scene of a multicar accident on the Long Island Expressway in North Hills, where a Nassau County highway patrolman was struck and killed on Oct. 18 while assisting the intoxicated driver of one of three cars involved in the crash. Credit: News12

We have another unnecessary death on our roads, a much-respected police officer and father of two killed while trying to help a motorist. And as so often is the case, driving while intoxicated appears to be the root cause of the tragedy.

One way or another, the carnage drunken driving causes has to be curtailed.

Nassau Police Officer Joseph Oliveri drove up on a three-car accident early Thursday morning on the Long Island Expressway, and stopped to help the motorists. Oliveri parked his cruiser in the right traffic lane, and left it to cross the road and help James Ryan, the driver of the car that reportedly hit two other vehicles. Oliveri was hit by another car, whose driver had seen the cruiser's flashers but not Oliveri himself.

Now Olivieri is dead and Ryan has been charged with driving while intoxicated and vehicular manslaughter.

Ryan's car didn't hit the officer, but authorities say his behavior ultimately led to Oliveri's death. The courts can sort out whether vehicular manslaughter is the right charge, but society still must struggle with how to stop this insanity.

We have the technology to install alcohol-interlock devices in every vehicle to prevent anyone who is drunk from driving. But if we believe putting alcohol-interlock devices in every car would go too far, then we must go further ourselves. Innocents killed by drunken driving have far more right to their lives than motorists have to drive without proving their sobriety.

We can't allow family members, friends, customers or ourselves to drive drunk. And if we can't make that societal change, we will soon face a time when we need to require this invasive technology.

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