Green Bay Wisconsin: Will Free Overnight Parking Deter Drunk Drivers?

free-parking-to-prevent-drunk-drivingDriving drunk is a decision, but it’s never a big decision for the offender. The little considerations are what convince a person with impaired judgment to get behind the wheel – little considerations that can lead to a disaster.

  • If I drive, I’ll get home faster than if I wait for a taxi.
  • Taxis cost money.
  • I’m not that drunk, anyway.

Green Bay, like many communities in Wisconsin, has a Safe Ride program which attempts to address the money aspect. A surcharge on every DWI conviction pays for taxi drivers and other good Samaritans to give rides home to those who have partied too hard.

It should be a no-brainer, then, but alas, some sketchy thinking comes into play, even with the prospect of a safe ride home

  • If I take the ride home and leave my car, I’ll get a ticket by morning.

A surprising number of people weigh the cost of a parking ticket against their own lives, and those of other drivers and pedestrians, and choose to drive under the influence of alcohol.

In Green Bay, Wisconsin an alderman is attempting to sweeten the pot for evening drinkers, by giving them a break on overnight parking. Mark Steuer has asked city authorities to consider allowing tavern owners to place free overnight parking signs on the vehicles of patrons who avail themselves of free rides.

Steuer feels that more people will choose the safe option if they’re not penalized with a parking fee. And he is right about that.

Naturally, the city has concerns, the most prominent one being that drinkers will take advantage of the offer and deliberately drink enough to qualify for a ride home and free parking.

Such is politics. There are no perfect solutions, so Green Bay will have to decide whether it’s worth bearing the cost of some freeloaders in order to promote safer roads.