How The Carrollton Bus Crash Changed Kentucky

By: Renee Charles Email
By: Renee Charles Email

The Carrollton bus crash 20 years ago, sparked changes nationwide from redefining the legal limit of being drunk to how buses were constructed.

The drunk driver who caused the wreck, Larry Mahoney, was convicted and served only 9 years for the deadly crash. Today some people receive much longer terms for similar crimes...So what's changed? Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson says the laws were the same in 1988, he says it's public perception of the crime that's changed. "First off the public's tolerance of drunk driving and killing is changed and expectation of the public that these people be held criminally responsible is way up."

Mother's Against Drunk Driving says Kentucky has made great strides. "In 1988 44% of crashes were alcohol involved and in 2006 which is the latest 20.4% Were alcohol involved" says Angela Criswell. Kentucky now has the second lowest rate nationwide for drunk driving fatalities.

Many of the victims from the crash and their families are involved with MADD today and Criswell says they didn't expect their tragedy to make change. "None of them asked to have their experience be the watershed event that shifted opinion in the country." But it did, and she says we have to do more to honor the victims of that crash. "They want to see change, they want the memory to be about hope for progress."

Ray Larson says Kentucky has strong laws on the books regarding drunk driving, but they need to be better enforced.

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  • by c Location: fkt on May 15, 2008 at 07:13 AM
    I read my local paper & see that too many of the DUI's are just required to attend some sort of program, that's stupid! Hit them in the pocketbook, after all, if they have money to buy the alocohol, then they should have enough to pay a stiff penalty for a DUI! I would love to see it a MANATORY fine of $1000 for the first offense, then $2000 for the second & $5000 for any offenses thereafter! That would put a stop to drink & driving quickly! NO MONEY, NO ALOCOHOL! Take it out of the judge's hands. Too many of these judges only give a slap on the wrist! Could it be that they are being paid off by the alocohol industry? Our current lawmakers are a joke! Half of them drink & drive, so they are not going to do anything about it! The lawmakers should be held accountable for anyone DUI that kills someone because they are TOO LAZY to make stiffer penalities! It's their fault too for NOT doing their job! But there again, they are not going to make it harder on themselves!
  • by amc on May 14, 2008 at 03:26 PM
    We will either learn from it - or we will repeat it! Choose carefully.


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