A DUI Can Keep You from Getting to Third Base

If you have a DUI, you probably know that you might have problems getting a visa for travel to certain other countries, including Canada. That’s one good reason not to drink and drive, if you need one besides the obvious one.

But having multiple DUI convictions can also keep you from getting in to the US. Ask Jung Ho Kang, the South Korean baseball player who was scheduled to join the Pittsburgh Pirate this year. Mr. Kang, a power hitter has three DUIs on his South Korean driving record. So far, he has not been able to obtain a visa to join the team.

As with any matter concerning a player’s (or prospective player’s) behavior, there is plenty of controversy. On the one hand, the permissive crowd say that he should be given a chance because:

  • The Pirates finished with 78 wins and 83 losses last year
  • He didn’t actually kill anyone
  • The DUI blood alcohol limit in South Korean is .03, much lower than the US’s .08, so it’s a different ball game
  • A baseball team is in business to play baseball, not be a moral authority for its employees
  • The Pirates finished with 78 wins and 83 losses last year

On the other side, the “Ban Kang” crowd say:

  • 3 DUIs? Are you kidding?
  • He’d be in prison if he’d committed these offenses in the US
  • We have enough drunk drivers in the US without importing them
  • This is a visa issue, not a baseball issue anyway

If you believe the permissive crowd, Kang is entitled to some mistakes and should be allowed to prove he’s cleaned up his act. If you believe the “Ban Kang” crowd, the Pirates are selling their soul for a chance at the postseason by employing a known criminal

A Modest Proposal: Ignition Interlock

What if the Federal Government could request of a state government to place an ignition interlock on the vehicle of any person on a work visa they feel poses a risk of drunk driving? States already observe one another’s interlock requirements, thanks to the Driver License Compact. Such a move would allow Kang to play, and would protect the public (and him) from any drunk driving he was tempted to do.

There are probably all kinds of legal reasons why this would not be possible, but it’s worth putting out there anyway, if only to remind people that ignition interlocks are a workable solution to the problem of repeat drunk driving. Whether a good power hitter is a solution to the Pirates’ problem is another matter.