One For the Road

Wisconsin’s got a drinking and driving problem. The Legislature just made it worse.

Earlier this month there was a late night crash at the intersection of two rural highways in Racine County. Three vehicles were involved. All three drivers were legally intoxicated. All three.

A few weeks before that, a Green Bay driver was arrested on his 18th OWI offense. His 18th. He was driving with a valid license — after 17 OWI’s.

Any of this strike you as kind of bad?

Not if you’re a Wisconsin legislator because the Legislature just passed — and to his discredit Gov. Tony Evers signed — a bill to encourage more of this kind of thing. The bill allows bars and restaurants to sell single serving containers of booze, so long as they have “tamper proof” lids.

Photo by Prem Pal Singh on

Seriously? The lid can’t be entirely “tamper proof” since you would have to assume that the idea is that the contents would be consumed at some point. That point is supposed to be a person’s residence and there is still a law against the consumption of alcohol while in the act of driving. But, c’mon, people. If this isn’t an invitation to drink and drive, what is?

We here at YSDA are for moderation in all things, including the consumption of a nice cocktail now and then. And, honestly, if you want to tie one on in the comfort of your own home (while that’s not a great idea for your own health) we’re not here to lecture. Do as you please.

But when you get behind the wheel of a car, you’ve assumed the control of deadly force. Now you’ve taken on a responsibility to everybody else. And it’s our government’s responsibility to write laws that make it easier to do the right thing and harder to do the wrong thing. The Legislature and the governor just failed once again.


Published by dave cieslewicz

Madison/Upper Peninsula based writer. Mayor of Madison, WI from 2003 to 2011.

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