Can Digital Shaming Save Lives? Town Wants to Put DUI Mugshots on Facebook

Drinking and driving is obviously dangerous and never a good idea, but if you want to ensure that your DUI mugshot never goes viral, it’d be a good idea to stay especially sober while driving through the city of Huntington Beach, CA. According to the Associated Press, Huntington Beach’s city council is currently considering a proposal that would require the city’s police department to post mugshots of everyone who was repeatedly arrested for DUI on the department’s Facebook page.

An earlier proposal actually argued that the mugshots of every single person arrested for DUI in Huntington Beach should appear on Facebook. Interestingly, the local police department has been pushing back against this idea. According to the town’s police spokesman Lt. Russell Reinhart, the department’s Facebook page has been instrumental in “getting information to the public and soliciting tips on tough cases.” While a few mugshots are already available on the department’s Facebook page, the local police thinks routine public shaming would just annoy its Facebook fans and won’t deter repeat DUI offenders.

Huntington Beach Police Department.jpg

The Huntington Beach police department's Facebook page

Can Digital Shaming Save Lives?

Devin Dwyer, the city councilman behind this proposal, argues that the town’s DUI numbers are out of control – with 1,687 DUI arrests and 195 deaths due to alcohol-related traffic accidents in 2009, that’s hard to argue with. In an interview with the Associated Press, Dwyer said that “if it takes shaming people to save lives, I am willing to do it. I’m hoping it prevents others from getting behind the wheel and getting inebriated.” We’re not sure if he is also proposing that these mugshots will be tagged with the offender’s name and Facebook profile.

What do you think? Is public shaming on Facebook the way to go? Will it stop people from driving drunk?

Frederic Lardinois founded SiliconFilter in 2011. Before starting this site, he wrote about 1,500 articles for ReadWriteWeb. His areas of interest are consumer web and mobile apps, as well as Internet-connected devices like cars, smart sensors and toasters. You can reach him at [email protected]

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