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Drunk Driving

Old 12-28-06, 09:14 AM
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DavidARayJaxNC
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Isnt it rediculous. I am thinking about running for congress and fix it so that once you have so many violations then you are no longer permitted to drink alcohol. It will have the same if not a stiffer penalty than drinking underage. They will have orange IDs. Orange License Plates.
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Old 12-28-06, 09:47 AM
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I was always intrigued by the idea of having to pass a breath test to be able to start/enter your car. Has anyone's state/province ever took that idea seriously?
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Old 12-28-06, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris L
I haven't actually been hit by a drunk driver yet, but I've gone close and had them throw things at me. Here in Australia we have a legal blood/alcohol limit of 0.05 (I think that equates to 5% content of alchol in the bloodstream), but I've heard of people being caught with levels of 0.25 and above!

Chris
That translates to 0.05 %. At 5% you are very very dead.
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Old 12-28-06, 10:22 AM
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We do that after a conviction, Chip. I don't know the level though; it's either state (NM) or county (San Juan). San Juan County, NM, does have one of the bigger drunk driving problems.

My inclination is to be fairly lenient on the first offense, considering the lowered blood/alcohol levels required for conviction. Jail time, fine, and suspension after the first offense. By jail time, I mean the certainty of some minimum amount of time behind bars - each conviction, and everyone. The wide variety of sentences for identical offenses doesn't do much to discourage DWI.
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Old 12-28-06, 10:25 AM
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I've had many close encounters with motor vehicles but whether the drivers were intoxicated, careless or malicious, or intoxicated & malicious, i have no idea. I only know that they passed much closer to me than i would've liked. But traffic is unlikely to ever be a big enforcement priority. The money is always needed for new, improved killing devices & wars of conquest.
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Old 12-28-06, 12:01 PM
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The question really becomes what to do with habitual drunk drivers. Here, they suspend and then revoke licenses of habitual offenders. Unfortunately, it does not stop them from driving drunk. Worse, since they have had their drivers licence revoked, they cannot get insurance so now they are out there driving drunk and uninsured.

Another problem which isn't addressed at all is driving under the influence of other drugs, including stong prescription drugs like vicodin or oxycontin. Use of these drugs can damned near give a person an out-of-body experience they are so numbingly powerful. Use of these drugs is at least as bad as alchohol and every bit as dangerous when used by the operator of a motor vehicle. Of course, they pass the breath-tests and in many cases go on their merry way.
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Old 12-28-06, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by DavidARayJaxNC
Isnt it rediculous. I am thinking about running for congress and fix it so that once you have so many violations then you are no longer permitted to drink alcohol. It will have the same if not a stiffer penalty than drinking underage. They will have orange IDs. Orange License Plates.
How about making public transportation mandatory in every city and town.
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Old 12-28-06, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by DavidARayJaxNC
Isnt it rediculous. I am thinking about running for congress and fix it so that once you have so many violations then you are no longer permitted to drink alcohol. It will have the same if not a stiffer penalty than drinking underage. They will have orange IDs. Orange License Plates.
Instead of doing that why not just legally prevent them from ever driving again? Or better yet do both. and no, it's not ridiculous. go for it, run for congress, make things better for everyone else. If I were able to vote for you I would, because of this issue alone.
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Old 12-28-06, 01:30 PM
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I like what they do in Korea.

Get caught driving drunk, 30 days in the slammer starting that day. No if, ands, or buts. Let's see if you do it again.
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Old 12-28-06, 01:31 PM
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There was an article in NYT a month or so ago about patches that measure BAC through your skin, so like you put your hands on the steering wheel and it either starts or doesn't. I know there are lots of cases, or at least cases that make the news, of people getting their kids or whoever to blow into those interlock devices, but it seems like a skin sensor could be made standard equipment.
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Old 12-28-06, 01:34 PM
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i defintely agree with mandatory jail time.
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Old 12-28-06, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by timmhaan
i defintely agree with mandatory jail time.
But where to put all of them? Oh, I know. Something out of Escape from New York comes to mind.
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Old 12-28-06, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by mike
The question really becomes what to do with habitual drunk drivers. Here, they suspend and then revoke licenses of habitual offenders. Unfortunately, it does not stop them from driving drunk.
Confiscate the car, auction it and put the proceeds into driver education. If it is a rental car the company will be allowed to recover their loss from the driver.
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Old 12-28-06, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by chipcom
I was always intrigued by the idea of having to pass a breath test to be able to start/enter your car. Has anyone's state/province ever took that idea seriously?
MI played around with this a while back for habitual drunk drivers. The devices were called interlocks and prevented the car from starting unless the driver blew 0.00. Unfortunately, these devices were easily defeated by having a sober friend/neighbor/relative blow into it for you.

The two big changes that need to happen in MI are:

#1. Change the culture of drunk driving. It is just too acceptable here. If peoples friends would leave them for driving drunk (like they might do for doing hard core drugs say) it would really reduce it, but most of the conversation here regarding drunk driving centers around how to avoid getting caught.

#2. Make it easier to arrest and convict drunk drivers. In MI, mostly due to legislative problems created by the defense attorney lobby, it is very difficult to arrest and convict a drunk driver. It is literally at LEAST at 2 hour long call with paperwork, etc. and can easily be up to 4 hours or more. The defense attorneys want to put all sorts of road blocks in our way for what they argue is "fairness" and protecting peoples rights, etc, but what really equates to protecting their cottage industry of defending drunks.
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Old 12-28-06, 05:26 PM
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One thing to consider is you really don't want to put to many poeple in jail or people will lose their fear. If EVERY first offender gets jail time, the social stigma is rediced. People who are in county for a short time (30 days or less) will realize it is not that bad and might be more prone to be repeat offenders. Haveing been in jail for a OWI, I can tell you my fear of jail was much worse than the reality of jail.
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Old 12-28-06, 07:47 PM
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I was always intrigued by the idea of having to pass a breath test to be able to start/enter your car. Has anyone's state/province ever took that idea seriously?
No, someone would easily figure out a way to get around it. For example take some kind of fan and direct it at the breath tester thing.
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Old 12-28-06, 08:18 PM
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Well considering I don't own a car or drink alcohol. I think our laws are pretty disgusting.
I vote for zero tolerance make the law real easy to understand for drivers.
Provide public transportation to run until a 30 min. after the bars close.
Our taxi service provides a free ride home and then you pay a ride back to your car.
Our current DUI/aggressive task force would target people leaving the bar in a car. And get rid of check points.
Provide a toll free number to report erratic behavior.
Establish tests for other illegal drugs.
Repeal the Bicycling while toxicated law, and add a bicyle assualt for pedestrians law. Which could be used also for sober people.


Upon first conviction
Receive a DUI plate and a DUI license for 1 year.
You have a mandatory 80 hour community service.
You pay the fund to support the task force and your legal fees.
Bars would not be able to serve you with your new ID Habitual drinkers would be barred from buyng any alcohol anywhere.

The second offensive you would be charged with Vehicle Manslaughter and forced to serve the maximum sentence not exceeding 5 years.

Any injury results from your crash would be second degree murder.

In America we tend to govern laws by popularity. If a small group of people does it lock em up for life. If there is a huge population ohh let's be kind to them. I think we need to be tough with viloent crime and treat non-violent crime with community service. I understand some of my issues have no teeth but at least it is in place.
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Old 12-28-06, 10:19 PM
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Yep, get to Congress.. you'll do a lot of good there... drink driving laws are the province of STATE governments.

Yep, sell your election policies on drink-driving law reforms to the electorate... you'll then find out that road safety issues NEVER elected ANYONE to political office.

Yep, maybe just get into the State legislature and push for reforms... then you'll find a quarter of the government's revenue depends on alcohol taxes and likely go hand in hand with gambling taxes. And probably the alcohol, gambling and car traders have made substantial donations to the political party that is the encumbent decision-maker. So you're suckered there, too.

And yep, throw all those people in jail, increase the number of Americans in jail above the 1-in-140 people of the entire USA population it already is; then find you've also increased the budget pressures on the State because you've already removed a quarter of the revenue it raises from alcohol taxes.

Note: Before you shoot the messenger, I don't have a solution, I'm just trying to illustrate the considerable political hurdles faced already by a bereaved lobby that rightly points out that more people are killed on western roads than in current global conflicts.

But maybe what I would look at is starting at the same place as the smoking issue -- encouraging the community to regard drink-driving as socially unacceptable, and getting the public to listen intently to the medical community.

As was pointed out just yesterday in Australia, governments (in Australia) have done just about all they can to legislate out the stupidity that causes car deaths*, it's up to the community to change its attitude, so passengers refuse to travel with drunk drivers, friends refuse to allow drunk people from even getting in cars... and I suppose, expand the designated driver strategy that seems to have worked quite well up to now.

When complacent social attitudes towards the deaths of car occupants change, you may get some legislative change*. Before then... you are peeing in the wind.

* Remember, the politicians are elected based on "social conscious" and "social aspirations" at that particular time, and if the "social conscious" deems it acceptable for X number of people to die each year in road accidents, for drivers to travel at 10% above the speed limits, and to drink-drive, and there are no "social aspirations" to reduce any of that, it becomes a political non-issue.

Last edited by Rowan; 12-28-06 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 12-28-06, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by DavidARayJaxNC
Isnt it rediculous. I am thinking about running for congress and fix it so that once you have so many violations then you are no longer permitted to drink alcohol. It will have the same if not a stiffer penalty than drinking underage. They will have orange IDs. Orange License Plates.
Congressman? are you serious? Your brain isn't glued on straight if you think you can stop someone from drinking! Prohibition tried it and it didn't work. If someone is going to drink their going to drink and there isn't a damm thing your going to be able to do about it. And if the person wants to drive there isn't anything you can do about that either.

In California they have the breath machine they hook into repeat offenders cars where they can't start the car unless they blow into the machine. Problem is that the offender would just have someone else blow into it but the offender drives! I've seen drivers have their licenses revoked for drunk driving and they drive anyway! You can put them in jail and as soon as their out their drunk and driving! San Francisco had a case where a man killed a person while drunk and driving and was put in the slammer for 1 year, about 4 years after release killed another person while out drunk and driving illegally and was put in jail for 8 years, 18 hours after release got drunk and drove illegally again but this time wiped out a family of 4 for which he got life which probably means 20 years!

And fines and penalties don't work either and never have! And if a teen wants to get the booze or whatever their going to get it because they want it.

Look man if your really serious about this congressman thing and this drinking and drug problem then first go after the drugs, but go after the source. Don't spend state money going after the user, spend it going after the top dogs. If you just slice off the tail of the snake the snake doesn't die, you have to chop it's head off; so chop the head off the drugs. Then get strict on driving while on drugs or booze, and by strict I mean a manatory drug rehab program that will last for 2 years, heavy fines, jail time of 2 weeks if they didn't kill anyone, manatory public service for 2 years doing something to bring awareness of drinking and driving. And even after all of this you still not going to have success.

Problem with jail time for offenders that have not killed someone is that prisons are full now and most cities and counties can't afford to lock someone up for drunk driving because then they would have to build more prisons thus raise local taxes. But I think, and I can only think, that manatory rehab and public service programs might get a few offenders to understand more about what their doing, and maybe keep themselves so busy they won't have time to grab a drink...but I doubt it.

There is no foolproof answer for this problem.
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Old 12-28-06, 11:11 PM
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Drunk driving shouldn't even be considered a crime.

If it's legal to listen to your radio or have screaming kids in the back seat, it should be legal to drive drunk.

You have to realize that special interest groups, namely MADD, have lobbied to bring the legal drinking limit down to .08. There's no rational reason for this, other than the fact that they picked this number out of a hat and decided that's where to draw the line.

If you do something stupid in your car while sober, there's no penalty. But turn the key while "drunk" and you go to jail.

The last thing we need in this country is more laws restricting peoples' behavior.
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Old 12-28-06, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by DavidARayJaxNC
Isnt it rediculous. I am thinking about running for congress and fix it so that once you have so many violations then you are no longer permitted to drink alcohol. It will have the same if not a stiffer penalty than drinking underage. They will have orange IDs. Orange License Plates.
Just remember, if you run for Congress, learn to spell "ridiculous" so you don't look ridiculously dumb.
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Old 12-28-06, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Roche
Drunk driving shouldn't even be considered a crime.

If it's legal to listen to your radio or have screaming kids in the back seat, it should be legal to drive drunk.

You have to realize that special interest groups, namely MADD, have lobbied to bring the legal drinking limit down to .08. There's no rational reason for this, other than the fact that they picked this number out of a hat and decided that's where to draw the line.

If you do something stupid in your car while sober, there's no penalty. But turn the key while "drunk" and you go to jail.

The last thing we need in this country is more laws restricting peoples' behavior.
Well, this discussion really should be in the P&R forum, but I'll chime in anyway. That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. There certainly is a penalty if you do something stupid while sober, it's called reckless driving. Duh. Driving drunk almost guarantees that you will do something stupid, lucky you if nobody happens to die because of it. I agree that the .08 limit is arbitrary, but I think at .08 I'm at least slightly impared. I would say that I'm more impared when I'm really tired, or talking on the phone or having an arugment or something, but I am slightly impared none the less.
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Old 12-28-06, 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by kemmer
Well, this discussion really should be in the P&R forum, but I'll chime in anyway. That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. There certainly is a penalty if you do something stupid while sober, it's called reckless driving. Duh. Driving drunk almost guarantees that you will do something stupid, lucky you if nobody happens to die because of it. I agree that the .08 limit is arbitrary, but I think at .08 I'm at least slightly impared. I would say that I'm more impared when I'm really tired, or talking on the phone or having an arugment or something, but I am slightly impared none the less.
I think that's what he was saying. Not that drunk driving shouldn't be a crime, just that there is already a fitting charge out there: reckless operation. So there is no need to classify drunk driving as it's own special crime. It's kind of like distinguishing between "regular" violent crime (assault, murder, etc.) and "hate" crimes. Aren't they really the same thing? If I murder you, it's probably because I hate you, regardless of what color your skin is.

Either way driving drunk is stupid, but passing a law that requires a first offender to get "scarlet letter" plates and ID so they can't drink anymore is even stupider. Firstly, it would never work because it would be nearly impossible to enforce. It is stupidly easy to get multiple copies of your drivers license, so people who think they might get caught will simply get another copy of their "good" license to use when buying. Also, most (all) stores will not go outside and look at your license plates for any reason. So anybody that gets the special ID would be able to buy with impunity. Next, who's to stop someone else from buying and the offender from just drinking it? Third, prohibition is dumb idea that doesn't work. Look at what happened in the 30's and what is happening now with the "War on Drugs".
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Old 12-29-06, 01:19 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Roche
Drunk driving shouldn't even be considered a crime.

If it's legal to listen to your radio or have screaming kids in the back seat, it should be legal to drive drunk.

You have to realize that special interest groups, namely MADD, have lobbied to bring the legal drinking limit down to .08. There's no rational reason for this, other than the fact that they picked this number out of a hat and decided that's where to draw the line.

If you do something stupid in your car while sober, there's no penalty. But turn the key while "drunk" and you go to jail.

The last thing we need in this country is more laws restricting peoples' behavior.
Several things come to mind:

0.08 and above does represent a significant level of impairment in terms of car control. There are, I think, enough empirical studies out there that this is indisputable -- except by someone who has that blood-alcohol content.

That level of impairment and above correlates to the cause of a significant number of accidents that involve deaths and no fatalities. There are enough of them to be analysed with statisical accuracy to determine 0.08 is not good. MADD has nothing to do with it.

In Australia, the blanket limit is 0.05%. I think most police will book you for 0.051. There is almost no tolerance. I think 0.05 was introduced, from the previous limit of 0.08, not on the instigation of groups such as MADD, but by the inordinant number of fatalities where the driver was impaired by alcohol around 0.08.

Driving under the influence is different from driving with a blood alcohol level of just over 0.05. I am not sure where driving under the influence comes in... in Australia it might be 0.10, but I think the physical condition and the obvious level of inebriation of the driver play a significant role in that judgment when charges are laid.

The most significant problems with alcohol are not just related to driving, but also domestic and other forms of violence. In smallish quantities, it reduced inhibitions and increases bravado and feelings of invincibility... not good combinations for driving (or arguing) and particularly in young drivers who are inexperienced already. In largish quantities it becomes a depressant and creates drowsiness -- also not good combinations for driving. It's also advertised heavily as a socially acceptable drug.

And the final statement you make is the one that counts for the community and in politics. America is touted as the greatest free country in the world... but more and more it isn't regarded as such by the very people who live there.
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Old 12-29-06, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by manual_overide
I think that's what he was saying. Not that drunk driving shouldn't be a crime, just that there is already a fitting charge out there: reckless operation.
Well, when a full 40% of traffic fatilities are a result of impared driving, I think it's reasonable to charge it as a unique and more serious offence.
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