Washington State DUI Blog objects to law enforcement in his neck of the woods latest advertising campaign, “Drive Hammered, Get Nailed”. I think his criticisms have significant merit:
Law enforcement agencies in the State of Washington adopted, “Drive Hammered, Get Nailed” as a Driving Under the Influence ad campaign slogan. In part this is a lie.
“Drive hammered, get nailed” sends an improper message to the citizenry of Washington State. Washington State does not enforce a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) criminal law. Washington enforces a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) criminal law.
The former sends a message that the driver must be drunk, intoxicated or “hammered.” The latter only requires a driver to be impaired meaning they are affected by an appreciable degree due to their consumption of intoxicants.
I haven’t seen these signs popping up around Austin yet, and perhaps they’ll never arrive. But his point is valid. The slogan implies you have to be falling down drunk to be arrested, booked, processed, charged, convicted, etc.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, being .07 is certainly not an absolute defense, at least in Texas. The state just prosecutes you under the alternate theory that you have “lost the normal use of your mental and physical faculties”. (Any wonder DWI lawyers advise folks not to take a breath test?)
I’ve always thought that MADD’s “Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving” billboards were a good thing, because that particular catchphrase actually comes pretty close to accurately describing Texas’ DWI law in layman’s terms. At least it might make people over-cautious, rather than deceive them, as the Washington state slogan does.
One last thought on DUI/DWI public service announcements and billboard: they need to change this commonly seen sign…
…to “DWI – Bill Gates can’t afford it”. That’ll come closer to describing the ever increasing penalties for a Texas DWI conviction.