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January 6, 1962

Chronic Alcoholics as Drinking Drivers

Author Affiliations

Chairman, Automotive Safety Subcommittee Colorado State Medical Society, 835 Republic Bldg., Denver 2

JAMA. 1962;179(1):98. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050010100022

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To the Editor:—  Police records are replete with instances of drivers convicted again and again of driving while intoxicated. These records reveal that drivers, after an arbitrary length of time, are allowed their licenses, until finally they kill some other driver or themselves. It is finally coming to be realized that many of these drivers are chronic alcoholics. The chronic alcoholic, or problem drinker, is completely immune to slogans. Safety campaigns do not touch him at all. Scathing lectures by judges, even terms in jail, are just water on this duck's back. He is a compulsive drinker.Repetitive offenders should be sentenced to psychiatric investigation. Increasingly, traffic courts must have good, closely related psychiatric clinics. Detroit's Recorder's Court was the first of these and is still the best. The numbers of feeble-minded, psychotic, alcoholic, emotionally deranged, licensed drivers revealed by this clinic is appalling.If investigation reveals a chronic alcoholic,

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