Am J of Law and Medicine 

Note, Drunk Driving and the Alcoholic Offender:  A New Approach to an Old Problem

12 Am. J. L. & Med. (1987)







Health laws in every state recognize alcoholism as a treatable disease. State drunk driving laws, however, inadequately provide for alcoholic drunk drivers.  Studies show that problem drinkers make up as much as two-thirds of the DWI offender class.  Alcoholic drunk drivers cannot fully conform their drinking behavior to the dictates of the law as long as their alcoholism remains untreated.  This Note argues that the law should consistently treat alcoholism as a disease.  This Note suggests that the most appropriate way for the legal system to deal with alcoholic DWI offenders is to suspend the offender's license until he can show that he has successfully completed an initial alcohol detoxification/rehabilitation program.  In addition, because alcoholism requires lifelong treatment, alcoholic drivers should be required to present periodic documentation that their condition is under supervised treatment.  Epileptic drivers are handled in a similar manner in most states.

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