In communities where people use their own two feet for transportation, there are fewer drunk drivers on the road. However, an intoxicated person on foot can still be disruptive and dangerous, or at risk for a fatal incident. In 2011, USA Today reported:
“Over a third of U.S. pedestrians killed in 2011 had blood alcohol levels above the legal limit for driving.”
In San Jose, the laws may not be changing much once statewide ignition interlock laws change to require the device for all DUI offenses, but the walking drunk may have new options for their care. Instead of tossing these men and women (the majority of whom are homeless) into a drunk tank, jail, or the emergency room, San Jose is opening up a new “sobering station” to provide better care, and hopefully address the problem of alcohol dependency and addiction, in a non-judgmental manner.
The consequences for a person facing public intoxication charges can be devastating. There is possible jail time, court costs and fines and a challenging future for those who are already struggling financially. San Jose and other areas are addressing these problems with the sobering stations, facilities that are a far cry from our impression of what a drunk tank is. The result is an easier road for public intoxication offenders to resume life as easily as possible, while being giving the treatment and respect they deserve.
At the core of public intoxication, and any alcohol-related crime like a DUI, is alcohol and the behaviors it inspires or allows. Furthermore, the euphoria and good feelings are hard to pass up, too, especially during the aftermath of a criminal incident. By treating the cause, there is a bigger chance that those same offenders will begin to make better, safer choices and move on to more productive and beneficial lives. With San Jose’s new sobering stations, the possibilities for any alcohol-affected offender are endless.