Originally created 02/11/01

Give this plan a `D'

A new piece of drunken driving legislation being proposed by state Rep. Joe Heckstall, D-East Point, has drawn some attention in Atlanta. It calls for a big red "D" to be displayed for one year on the rear window of convicted drunken drivers' cars.

At first glance, the proposal makes good sense. Wouldn't you like to know if the person driving ahead of you has been found guilty of driving under the influence? You'd make a point of giving that vehicle a wide berth.

The difficulty is this: That driver may not be the one convicted of DUI. It could be an innocent spouse or some other family member who does not drink and drive.

Moreover, the scarlet letter "D," so prominently displayed, could result in mean-spirited teasing of the offenders' kids. What are they guilty of?

Heckstall's bill should be turned down, as it creates more problems than it solves. Newspapers already must publish photos, names and addresses of twice-convicted drunken drivers. That's humiliation enough.

There's also the best option of all: Yanking drunken drivers' licenses - and sentencing them to a long jail stretch if they're caught driving again.

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