Tri-City Herald: Thumbs up to alcohol-monitoring bracelet

Monitoring alcohol

Thumbs up to Judge Vic VanderSchoor for forcing a suspected drunk driver to wear an alcohol-monitoring bracelet while his trial is pending.

A New Year’s Eve collision resulted in the death of a beloved grandfather, and police say the suspect’s truck was going the wrong way on Interstate 182 in Pasco. Now the suspect has been charged with vehicular homicide in Franklin County Superior Court.

A trial set for April will determine the suspect’s guilt or innocence. But in the meantime it makes sense that on the chance the suspect has a drinking problem the public is protected.

The Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor, or SCRAM bracelet, is a device that courts have used for several years as a way to prevent people from drinking and driving. The bracelet wraps around the leg near the ankle and samples the wearer’s perspiration to ensure no alcohol has been consumed. The bracelets must be worn around the clock and can’t be removed without alerting officials.

The old adage that a person is innocent until proven guilty holds true. Wearing a SCRAM bracelet does not decide guilt but it does give people a little more peace of mind about letting someone out of jail pending trial.

Healthier fast food

To fast food chains considering making their menu items healthier. Officials with a variety of fast food restaurants, including McDonald’s, Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut, say they want to reduce the amount of chemicals used in their food and switch to using fresher ingredients.

This is welcome news. Much of this change, of course, is coming from consumers looking for more nutritious food choices, but it is good to see restaurant officials responding.

Most people end up eating fast-food at least once in a while, and even though salad might be an option, it’s the burger, fries and milkshakes that often get ordered. Taking out the preservatives and other artificial ingredients is an improvement, and we hope it ends up being a standard practice throughout the industry.

Off-road dilemma

Thumbs down to driving a pickup off-road and harming vegetation on the Arid Lands Ecology Reserve. A man was caught leaving the area with two elk carcasses in the bed of his truck, but his hunting isn’t focus of the federal charge.

As a Yakama tribal member, the right to hunt within the ALE — which is closed to the public — is yet to be established. But damaging the land in a preserve is a different matter.

The case went to trial and a came back with a hung jury on the charge of destroying plants and guilty verdict for off-road driving.

It is hard to believe a treaty granted more than 150 years ago were intended to cover use of a pickup.