Driving Under the Influence - A Complex Moral and Legal Issue - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15146018
Greetings to all the good folks here at politicsforum.org. Today I would like to open a discussion about how we as a society we should approach and handle the treatment and understanding of one of the most common and prevalent problems among us - the issue of driving under the influence of alcohol.

I recently got into a rather heated exchange on social media with a fellow on this issue, and it did not resolve itself too well. That is why today I feel compelled to give my thoughts on this matter in a reasonable, civilized matter. My intention is to begin this discussion here on this platform and then later refine my thoughts and post them publicly under my real name.

A poster on FB made the claim that anyone who drinks and drives deserves no sympathy whatsoever, and should receive the harshest legal punishment possible. Many folks, friends of this poster, I suspect most of them, agreed with this sentiment. I want to state unequivocally that I vehemently disagree with this sentiment. I completely realize that my opposition to this sentiment is unpopular and will likely generate hordes of dissenters against me. I gave this some thought and decided that I am willing to take that risk, because this is something that I feel very strongly about, and I feel compelled to stick to my guns on this.

First, let's discuss some facts. There are a whopping 1 million+ drunken driving cases every year in the United States alone. Driving under the influence is the single most frequently committed offense in our society. In recognizing these staggering statistics, we must accept that alcohol is and will remain a very prevalent, socially integrated aspect of our culture. This is key to understand and accept if we are to pursue this issue in a rational manner.

Now, let me address some specific points:

Personal Responsibility - When I argued on FB that not all DUI cases should receive harsh punishment, a common retort given to me was that a person who commits this offense needs to "own up" and take personal responsibility for their crime. That is to say, they should accept their punishment because only they brought it upon themselves. But let's remember that the vast majority of these people have, in all honesty, committed no true crime. When I think and reflect about the concept of personal responsibility, it seems to me that it should follow that the responsibility ought to fall on ANY individual who causes a car accident. That would be a more accurate implementation of "personal responsibility". And yet, a sober man can recklessly create a crash causing death and be totally alleviated from any responsibility for his crime. So surely personal responsibility cannot be at the core of this issue. In fact, DUI laws do the exact opposite of achieving personal accountability. Rather than treat each driver as an individual with personal responsibility, we attribute the cause and the blame to the chemical rather than to the individual. And with that attribution we impose absolute sweeping penalties on anyone associated with that chemical regardless of their level of personality responsibility.

Now I know of course what people will say to counter this. They will say that alcohol is a mind-altering substance which impairs an individual and takes away their personal responsibility. So I gave this argument some thought and quickly came to realize this claim is completely and utterly inept when we consider the very notion of "responsible drinking". Now really think about this: If it's truly the case that a person who is under the influence of alcohol cannot make sound judgements, then it should follow that there cannot be any such thing as "responsible drinking" in the first place, and that any person who drinks can potentially and dangerously make the unsound decision of getting into a vehicle after consuming alcohol. And yet, we all encourage "responsible drinking" as a common practice against driving under the influence. That seems an impossible concept if the original claim is true, that alcohol indeed alters ones mind and leads to a person making bad decisions. Furthermore, if it really is the case that a person has the ability to drink and NOT drive, then it proves that this person CAN in fact make sound judgements, even whilst under the influence. It should therefore just as well follow that a person driving a vehicle under the influence can likewise train themselves to function well and drive with caution and responsibility. It is an inescapable logical conclusion of the argument.

A Victimless Crime - As a matter of justice, law, and morality, I have always believed that unless there is a direct victim who is harmed by an action, then no real crime has been committed. As an aside, for this very reason I believe that ALL personal drug use ought to be decriminalized. I strongly object to treating mere potential criminals as actual criminals. I think that to do so is to violate the very essence of freedom and liberty, and I consider it to be an abuse of justice. Your individual freedom and liberty should not be limited unless and until it crosses over unto someone else's freedom and liberty, either by harming that person directly or by restricting that person's ability to pursue their own happiness. Neither of these principles are violated by the sole, isolated act of driving while under the influence. But these moral principles ARE violated by the state that imposes criminal penalties onto such people.

Legal Intoxication - It's also important for us to recognize that what the state deems as a level of "legal intoxication" is not necessarily a level of actual intoxication. The tolerance threshold for alcohol can vary tremendously between individuals. For a person who habitually uses alcohol, "legal intoxication" does not apply. Many such people can easily consume up to and beyond the legal limit and yet function perfectly well due to their tolerance levels. When the police suspect a person has been drinking while driving, the first thing they do is have the person perform a field sobriety test. In many cases a legally intoxicated person can pass this test flawlessly, and yet still be charged with a DUI. Not only have they harmed no one, but they have proven based on the evidence that they are not even a danger to other drivers. It is therefore unfair and unjust to punish this person as if though he had done something immoral.

Hypocrisy in the Opposition As an action that is so highly common, it is likely the case that many if not most of the folks who push for stricter penalties against DUIs have themselves gotten away with doing it at some point in their lives. If not, they probably know someone close to them who has. They only become vocal about punishing other people once they personally have been affected by a drunk driver. What I would implore these people to do is first to recognize that it is a normal, human mistake that warrants compassion, and secondly, they ought not wish harsh punishments onto others that they wouldn't want implemented onto themselves.

There is so much more I want to say about this, but I've said so much already and I want to get some feedback on this. I will probably edit this to add more information later. Thank you to all for reading this post and I look forward to hearing your responses. While I am trying to be civil in this discourse, I am ready and prepared to fight hard to defend these beliefs. If you want to come at me, be prepared to bring your A game because I will NOT yield on this topic.
Last edited by Agent Steel on 02 Jan 2021 22:27, edited 1 time in total.
#15146019
This is just rageporn and clearly written to provoke a reaction. Your opponent is correct. Driving under the influence impairs your ability. How about just do away with licences altogether if you don't care about that? Or is this only an issue for you when it is you or someone you know that is in an accident by someone under the influence until you take this seriously?
#15146021
I'm going to back up my fellow alcoholic @Agent Steel here.

Anyway, what is odd is how you can get a DUI just for sitting in your car drunk with the engine off. Sounds like a money grab to me. DUI check points seems pretty scammy to me too. Aside from that, DUI laws are probably a good idea. :)

Hopefully this all disappears with driverless cars and better public transport.
#15146022
Rancid wrote:Anyway, what is odd is how you can get a DUI just for sitting in your car drunk with the engine off.


Different countries different laws apparently. In the UK the engine needs to be running for you to be classed as driving under the influence. It can be in park though. Also in the UK, if you kill even sober you will still be charged for manslaughter which according to AS isn't the case over the pond. Either way, unless people think people driving after a session of drinking is a good idea, then I don't see how anyone can actually make this argument with a straight face. Prevention is better than cure. It shouldn't be classed as a crime when someone is killed. It should be classed as a crime to prevent them being killed to begin with.
#15146030
B0ycey wrote:Also in the UK, if you kill even sober you will still be charged for manslaughter which according to AS isn't the case over the pond.


Pretty sure it is the case over here. You can't just run people over willy nilly. :lol:

DUI is an industry in the US. I'm not saying that DUI laws are bogus, I think they should certainly exist, but there is definitely an element of cities/counties, police departments, cashing in on these laws. They love their check points, and being able to arrest people that are being safe by sleeping in their cars in an empty parking lot versus driving off in the car. In fact, I've done that before, where I'm so hammered, I decided to sleep in my car for 5-6 hours before waking up in the morning sober and finally driving home. According to the DUI industry complex, I should have been arrested for being safe.

Lawyers can make a first offense disappear for the right price.

Again, I'm not against DUI laws and enforcement. Just saying, there is some bullshit mixed in there too.
Last edited by Rancid on 02 Jan 2021 23:54, edited 4 times in total.
#15146032
Agent Steel wrote:I would implore these people to do is first to recognize that it is a normal, human mistake that warrants compassion, and secondly, they ought not wish harsh punishments onto others that they wouldn't want implemented onto themselves.

What a giant load of BS.

If you can't handle your alcohol responsibly you shouldn't bring your car to wherever you're drinking, or don't drink at all. Just because you don't get into a car accident while driving drunk doesn't mean it's not a stupid, reckless thing to do that endangers the lives of other people. There is no compassion to be had. ZERO.

I recommend you get your shit together before you kill somebody. I hope you enjoyed getting smashed wherever you celebrated New Years Eve.
#15146038
Rancid wrote:I'm going to back up my fellow alcoholic @Agent Steel here.

Anyway, what is odd is how you can get a DUI just for sitting in your car drunk with the engine off. Sounds like a money grab to me. DUI check points seems pretty scammy to me too. Aside from that, DUI laws are probably a good idea. :)

Hopefully this all disappears with driverless cars and better public transport.


I appreciate your support, but I am not nor have I ever been an alcoholic. This is actually something I really wish people would stop assuming about someone who drives while intoxicated. Many people do it and it does not make them alcoholics. That's why I resent the punishments I was given by the state when I got my DUI - they treated me as though I was an alcoholic, which is complete bullshit.
#15146041
Agent Steel wrote:I appreciate your support, but I am not nor have I ever been an alcoholic. This is actually something I really wish people would stop assuming about someone who drives while intoxicated. Many people do it and it does not make them alcoholics. That's why I resent the punishments I was given by the state when I got my DUI - they treated me as though I was an alcoholic, which is complete bullshit.


I don't know if you really are an alcoholic, I was just fucking around with that statement. That said, I do think that society has certainly over demonized the DUIer. Which to me, is odd. Data shows that Americans are much more permissive with texters than with drinkers. The leniency shown to texters is as unjustified as the demonization shown to drinkers. There needs to be some sort of balance here. We need to stigmatize texters more, and we need to loosen up just a bit with drinkers.

Makes no sense. This is where I do agree with you, that more compassion needs to be shown as you are requesting. That's not to say I don't think you should be punished (you should be, you fucked up), but the whole thing is weird. People get arrested at checkpoints and are treated like they killed someone.

A while back, I remember making my wife angry because I told her "You know, if you ever got arrested at a DUI checkpoint, I really wouldn't be disappointed in you or anything, especially if you were driving safe the whole way and would have never been stopped otherwise." She was not happy I said that. She was angry at me. :lol: She wanted me to be deeply disappointed in her in that scenario (she doesn't drink though). To which I further said "Don't get met me wrong, if you drove fucking crazy and killed someone, yea, I'd be disappointed, but if you are holding it down and driving reasonably which can totally be done successfully on a buzz, I wouldn't be disappointed."

If anyone is appalled with me, I want you to know that I will stand on the above statements until you start getting tough on shaming texting and driving.

Side note, texting reduced driver reaction time further than being drunk.

Text driving causes more injury accidents than drunk driving. Drunk driving causes about 2x as many deaths as text driving. However, Drunk driving death is on the decline, while text driving death is on the raise. When are we going to start attaching the same stigma we give to people that drink and drive to texters?
#15146044
I agree with @Unthinking Majority. If you're an adult and believe in personal responsibility, then you have to act responsible.


Sober people don't try to get into accidents, and neither do drunk drivers, but the decision to get behind the wheel of a car, when drunk, is a choice. That people don't make sounds judgements when drunk, is without a doubt. I've rarely seen drunks make rational choices, or sound judgements, but I am sure some people are capable of it. It's the exception, though.

Drunk driving is lot more common where I am, and often the idiots who do it would not do it in their home country, due to laws. They test and check for DUI a lot less here. Most of the idiots have been in accidents, and one of them was involved in an accident(caused by him while drunk driving), that put a kid in a coma. Drunk driving is not a victimless crime!

If you drink, then don't drive. Get a hotel. Get a taxi. Have a friend pick you up.

You know the laws where you live, and if you have to sit in the car to wait, then make sure you don't have the keys on you. It's not complicated.

It is NOT a complex moral and legal issue. If you drink, do not drive.


@Rancid Texting or using your cellphone, while driving, in most Canadian provinces, will get you a big ticket for Distracted Driving.
#15146047
@Rancid I agree. I think it is very dangerous, and I see dumbasses on scooters, every day texting, or on the phone, while riding. It's nuts! Pull over and talk/text!

Most modern cars, thankfully, have blue tooth and handsfree phones, so you don't need to take your eyes off the road to answer/talk. Texting, however, is downright STUPID!
#15146049
I'm OK with the strict drunk driving laws. Back in the day I was a nearly professional drunk driver. When I was in my 20's you really had to work to get a DUI ticket. There was no such thing as check points and the cops had to take you to the station to test anyway. And we killed a shit ton of people every year because of drunk drivers.

Someone once said of the US, that the problem is that it is perfectly legal to drink and drive. It is only illegal when you are over the limit. He posited that if we decided to make it illegal to drink and drive at all we would be better off. It is hard to argue with this idea.

So here is my rule. I do not take my car to any place where I might consume alcohol. That takes the whole judgment angle out of it. In this day and age where uber is cheaper than parking in many cities there is no excuse to even worry about it. If that is too expensive then there is a great solution. Stay home, watch a movie, drink two bottles of two buck chuck and stagger to your heart's content.

There is nothing really complex about the decision to go hard on drunk drivers. Reckless endangerment has always been a serious offense. I reject your premise that the penalties for DUI are too severe. In Arizona Felony reckless endangerment carries an absolute minimum time in prison of 1.5 years without the option of a judge offering probation. If you are drunk and hit someone causing them to swerve into oncoming traffic, even if they do not get hit by another car, you could face felony reckless endangerment charges. The virtual slap on the wrist that comes from a DUI ticket pales in comparison with the possibility of many years in jail should someone be hurt.

Virtually all of our traffic laws are preemptive attempts to save lives.

WRT texting. Though I almost never do it while driving, I can do it quite safely while keeping my phone in my pocket. I push a button on my steering wheel and say, "read my last text message". Siri, who I imagine has supple pouting breasts, reads it to me. Then I can push the button and say, "answer the text.......".. Never taking my eyes from the road. I know this works on the perfidious Iphone and I assume it also works on those stupid, amateurish, off-brand Android phones too. (Though you may have to put coal in them or something.)

Don't drink and drive. Get an Uber or your mom to drive you. You will have much more fun anyway.

Oh. On edit: And @Agent Steel . If you live in the US, do not get a second DUI. In most places you will do hard time and after you get out probably have a hard time finding a job. So since you have one...the time for you to be doing anything but never, ever, again, driving after even having a sip is fucking over.
#15146050
Yes, @Drlee.

When I drive(normally motorbike), I do not drink more than 2 drinks, because I know that to do further is to become impaired. When riding a motorbike, drunk driving will probably only kill you, but it'll do so very easily.

When I ride my Ducati 848 Corse Evo, the limit is 1 drink. If I plan on drinking any more, I park the bike at the hotel I am staying at, or home, then return to get drunk.

I'm 230 lb, so if you are smaller, then you can likely drink less. :D

All the people I know, who have had accidents on motorbikes, have had them due to being drunk and riding. I'd much rather avoid breaking the shit out of my motorbike and myself, with a common sense pre-emptive judgement not to drink in the first place. I plan ahead, so that a car/bike isn't involved in the equation.
#15146072
Rancid wrote:I don't know if you really are an alcoholic, I was just fucking around with that statement. That said, I do think that society has certainly over demonized the DUIer. Which to me, is odd. Data shows that Americans are much more permissive with texters than with drinkers. The leniency shown to texters is as unjustified as the demonization shown to drinkers. There needs to be some sort of balance here. We need to stigmatize texters more, and we need to loosen up just a bit with drinkers.

Makes no sense. This is where I do agree with you, that more compassion needs to be shown as you are requesting. That's not to say I don't think you should be punished (you should be, you fucked up), but the whole thing is weird. People get arrested at checkpoints and are treated like they killed someone.

A while back, I remember making my wife angry because I told her "You know, if you ever got arrested at a DUI checkpoint, I really wouldn't be disappointed in you or anything, especially if you were driving safe the whole way and would have never been stopped otherwise." She was not happy I said that. She was angry at me. :lol: She wanted me to be deeply disappointed in her in that scenario (she doesn't drink though). To which I further said "Don't get met me wrong, if you drove fucking crazy and killed someone, yea, I'd be disappointed, but if you are holding it down and driving reasonably which can totally be done successfully on a buzz, I wouldn't be disappointed."

If anyone is appalled with me, I want you to know that I will stand on the above statements until you start getting tough on shaming texting and driving.

Side note, texting reduced driver reaction time further than being drunk.

Text driving causes more injury accidents than drunk driving. Drunk driving causes about 2x as many deaths as text driving. However, Drunk driving death is on the decline, while text driving death is on the raise. When are we going to start attaching the same stigma we give to people that drink and drive to texters?


Yeah, I can see your point. America does sound pretty fucked up sometimes. We don't have checkpoints here. You are just breathalysed when you are involved in an accident or seen driving irrationally. And they do sound like a cash cow to me. But I would class them in the same league as speed cameras. That is to say if you don't drink or drive (or speed is regards to cameras) then it doesn't really matter. But everyone hates them anyway.

As for not being able to sleep off being drunk, well that is just fucked up. I suspect that is why the engine needs to be running within the UK so people have that option. But then you can still be over the limit in the morning if you had too much the night before so everything in moderation. But this reminds me of a news story I read a few years ago about a guy who had a very lucky escape that I'd like to share. The guy was so drunk that when police saw him head towards his car they watched him to see what he was doing. But he was unable to start up his engine because he was too drunk. Eventually he slept behind the wheel instead. In America he would have been arrested by the sounds of it. But here in the UK I suspect they woke him up, got him home and told him of his very lucky escape so he did not do it again. And that shows you that in the UK at least DUIs aren't really regarded as an illegal activity. They are regarded as a punishment. And the punishment is your license and your premium car insurance pay outs. And that is all it should be to bestow trust in the system. People don't drink and drive here because nobody wants to loose their license. You won't see a prison cell at all, but at the same time, not being able to drive is a loss of freedom that seem fair to most rational people.

As for texting or phoning behind the wheel, that isn't tolerated here. You get six points which is half a license. So basically you do it twice and get caught you will lose your license. Perhaps you could make an argument we should have zero tolerance like drink driving. It certainly is just as dangerous. And perhaps that will happen one day actually. But when I compare it to how it once was to how it is now, you don't see people holding phones behind the wheel like you once did and everything now is hands free technology in cars. So in that regards perhaps the message has already done what it needs to do and changed habits and opinions anyway.
#15146082
First, driving is a privilege, not a right. You are not born with y a driver's license. You have to demonstrate the ability and competency in order to obtain one. That is, after all, what the driving test is all about. You have to demonstrate that you understand and can follow the local traffic laws and regulations, that you have the ability to see the signs, react to them and safely drive a given vehicle. If you become old and demented, your privilege (license) can be taken away, if you become legally blind, likewise you lose your license, if you start having seizures, etc... You get the point. When people are drunk, they are impaired in many ways. Vision, judgment, reaction time, cognition, consciousness, alertness, etc.
Think of driving under the influence as driving without a license... you are breaking the law
Agent Steel wrote:First, let's discuss some facts. There are a whopping 1 million+ drunken driving cases every year in the United States alone. Driving under the influence is the single most frequently committed offense in our society. In recognizing these staggering statistics, we must accept that alcohol is and will remain a very prevalent, socially integrated aspect of our culture. This is key to understand and accept if we are to pursue this issue in a rational manner.

Just because something is common does not mean it is right. By this logic, if we start murdering a lot, then we should just not make it illegal since everyone is doing it :lol:
And yet, a sober man can recklessly create a crash causing death and be totally alleviated from any responsibility for his crime.

Sober men that are reckless can also lose the license and/or have jail time.
It is called reckless driving. Look it up 8) .
In fact, DUI laws do the exact opposite of achieving personal accountability.

I don't know if this is accurate, but I suspect even if it is, it has more to do with the fact that addicts are hard to rehabilitate, and DUI laws are not necessarily there to rehabilitate addicts but to put roadblocks that prevent them to continue doing these egregious acts (driving under the influence.)
And yes, by definition, if someone gets caught driving drunk, that person is an alcoholic.
Rather than treat each driver as an individual with personal responsibility, we attribute the cause and the blame to the chemical rather than to the individual.

WTF are you talking about? We are treating each driver with their own personal responsability. If you are driving under the influence, you are not being responsible, period.
And with that attribution we impose absolute sweeping penalties on anyone associated with that chemical regardless of their level of personality responsibility.

You want to talk about personal responsibility. Where is the personal responsibility when the person... that is consuming a psychoactive drug and operating a vehicle that they are not supposed to be operating? Again, by definition, you are not being responsible if you engage in this behavior. A responsible behavior is driving at or below the speed limit, a responsible behavior is putting your blinkers, responsible behavior is checking your rear-mirrors and side mirrors before lane changes and a responsible behavior is not consuming beer/liquor before operating a 2ton piece of metal that can travel up to 100mph. So, again, by definition, you are throwing "responsible behavior" out of the window, the moment you start driving under the influence.

They will say that alcohol is a mind-altering substance which impairs an individual and takes away their personal responsibility.

Pretty much. But stating the obvious does not somehow turn the argument to your favor. :lol:

So I gave this argument some thought and quickly came to realize this claim is completely and utterly inept when we consider the very notion of "responsible drinking".

Again, responsible drinking entails that you don't do irresponsible things after drinking. For instance... driving.
If you are drinking and then you are driving... by definition, you are not responsible.
Let me ask you this, how much responsible drinking do you think it is fair for the surgeon doing the quadruple bypass of your father? Or perhaps for the opthalmologist operating the eye of your mother? Or perhaps to the urologist treating your enlarged prostate or the neurosurgeon evacuating the hematoma of your child? If you think it is ok for you to drive a 2ton machine at 40+mph that could potentially injury or kill dozens of people in an accident... I am sure you will be ok with all those surgeons/doctors having a bit of "responsible drinking" before an operation or taking care of you right?

Now really think about this: If it's truly the case that a person who is under the influence of alcohol cannot make sound judgements, then it should follow that there cannot be any such thing as "responsible drinking" in the first place, and that any person who drinks can potentially and dangerously make the unsound decision of getting into a vehicle after consuming alcohol.

Again. You can have "responsible drinking" but thats it.. drinking. There is no driving there. It is not "responsible for drinking & driving". For it to be responsible... you need to avoid doing the things that would make it irresponsible. Drinking 1 glass of wine with a meal at a restaurant? That is responsible, it would not raise your BAL over the legal limit. Going to a bar, drinking 5-6 shots and immediately driving afterwards... not responsible. Drinking 3-4 beers at home on a celebration day... probably responsible. Drinking until you pass out while baby sitting your 6month old, even if you are not driving, not responsible. The fact that I have to explain this is worrisome, really.
And yet, we all encourage "responsible drinking" as a common practice against driving under the influence.

I don't think you understand the point. I don't know of anyone that is actively "encouraging responsible drinking" (other than perhaps alcohol companies). They might encourage that if you are going to drink anyways... to do so responsibly. I know, the difference is subtle but it is there.

hat seems an impossible concept if the original claim is true, that alcohol indeed alters ones mind and leads to a person making bad decisions.

Precisely, that is why you should not drive while consuming alcohol. And that is why... if you know that you are going to consume alcohol, before you consume the very first drop, you should make arrangements such as you don't find yourself in the position of being able to drive at all. Say you going to a bar? Don't drive there... there is only one outcome for that... which is that you gonna end up driving under the influence. Instead, get a fucking Uber, or get a non-drinking buddy to go with you. Or swallow your key before you order your first drink.

A Victimless Crime - As a matter of justice, law, and morality, I have always believed that unless there is a direct victim who is harmed by an action, then no real crime has been committed.

Nonsense.

As an aside, for this very reason I believe that ALL personal drug use ought to be decriminalized.

So do I. I have in fact argued in favor of this for years.
However, it is not the same as "all drugs ought to be decriminalized, and people doing those drugs and driving should be let alone".... I don't care if you drink a few extra beers in your patio. I don't care if you inject yourself with some heroin in your bedroom, or if you snore some cocaine in your bathroom or if you put an amphetamine supository. I don't really care. I think we would better off as a society if we concentrate resources trying to offer support to those people that felt into these vices than trying to jail them/prosecute them. That being said, that does not mean that I am in favor of you driving your corolla after taking 2 xanax or a pint of vodka.
I strongly object to treating mere potential criminals as actual criminals.

It is not a potential crime. It is an actual crime. You are breaking the law when you drive under the influence, you are not "potentially breaking the law" you are actually doing so.
I think that to do so is to violate the very essence of freedom and liberty, and I consider it to be an abuse of justice.

Pretty much. You can go to jail for (violates your freedom/liberty) for breaking the law. That is the price you pay for being part of the society. If you don't wish to be part of the society, go live in the middle of the jungle, where there are no people, no roads, and you can do whatever the fuck you want there. Of course, you would have to make your own booze.
Your individual freedom and liberty should not be limited unless and until it crosses over unto someone else's freedom and liberty, either by harming that person directly or by restricting that person's ability to pursue their own happiness.

Tell that to the parents of the 18 year old girl that I had to do a code in my 2nd year of residency that got hit by a drunk moron. Her intestines were out of her body, her abdomen could not be closed because of the swelling, each compression spread more and more of her insides around the room, she died.
You want to drive in PUBLIC roads? Be responsible. There is no drinking in responsible driving.

Legal Intoxication - It's also important for us to recognize that what the state deems as a level of "legal intoxication" is not necessarily a level of actual intoxication.

Here you can claim a bit of nuance. That being said, this is a matter of practicality. The same way a street has a speed limit of 45mph.... How did they come up with that number? What about driving at 55mph if there is no traffic? should that be allowed? Seriously, sometimes the highway is empty, and there are no cars visible, perhaps driving at 100mph should be fine?
Again... it is a matter of practicality that there is a specific limit. This is also to your favor... so that you don't get an asshole police stalking outside of a restaurant stopping everyone and "eyeballing" drunk people. By establishing a "legal limit" and having a method of reproducing this (breathalyzer) there is some degree of objectivity. I could not say the alphabet backward if my life depended on it and I have not had a drop of alcohol in decades.
The tolerance threshold for alcohol can vary tremendously between individuals.

Oh, so it looks like you can hold your liquor.. good for you :lol: Now, stay out of the road. Be responsible.
:lol:
For a person who habitually uses alcohol, "legal intoxication" does not apply.

Of course, it does. It applies to everyone, it is the law.

Many such people can easily consume up to and beyond the legal limit and yet function perfectly well due to their tolerance levels.

No, they cannot.

Not only have they harmed no one, but they have proven based on the evidence that they are not even a danger to other drivers

Quite the opposite. They demonstrated an inability to follow basic traffic law (it would not be different from getting caught driving at 120mph even if you didn't crash or injured anyone, you also broke the law, you demonstrate an inability/disregard to follow the law and therefore your privilege of driving can be -and I would argue should be- forfitted)... not driving under the influence. They are a danger to other drivers. Those people that are charged with DUI, by definition have a substance abuse disorder, if it is alcohol, it is called alcoholism. It needs to be recognized and treated as such.

It is therefore unfair and unjust to punish this person as if though he had done something immoral.

Life is not fair. Get over it.
Want to drink, get an uber.

They only become vocal about punishing other people once they personally have been affected by a drunk driver.

It is disappointing if you have to wait to personally be injured by idiots driving drunk before you realize it is a bad idea.

Rancid wrote:I don't know if you really are an alcoholic, I was just fucking around with that statement. That said, I do think that society has certainly over demonized the DUIer. Which to me, is odd. Data shows that Americans are much more permissive with texters than with drinkers. The leniency shown to texters is as unjustified as the demonization shown to drinkers. There needs to be some sort of balance here. We need to stigmatize texters more, and we need to loosen up just a bit with drinkers.

Makes no sense. This is where I do agree with you, that more compassion needs to be shown as you are requesting. That's not to say I don't think you should be punished (you should be, you fucked up), but the whole thing is weird. People get arrested at checkpoints and are treated like they killed someone.

A while back, I remember making my wife angry because I told her "You know, if you ever got arrested at a DUI checkpoint, I really wouldn't be disappointed in you or anything, especially if you were driving safe the whole way and would have never been stopped otherwise." She was not happy I said that. She was angry at me. :lol: She wanted me to be deeply disappointed in her in that scenario (she doesn't drink though). To which I further said "Don't get met me wrong, if you drove fucking crazy and killed someone, yea, I'd be disappointed, but if you are holding it down and driving reasonably which can totally be done successfully on a buzz, I wouldn't be disappointed."

If anyone is appalled with me, I want you to know that I will stand on the above statements until you start getting tough on shaming texting and driving.

Side note, texting reduced driver reaction time further than being drunk.

Text driving causes more injury accidents than drunk driving. Drunk driving causes about 2x as many deaths as text driving. However, Drunk driving death is on the decline, while text driving death is on the raise. When are we going to start attaching the same stigma we give to people that drink and drive to texters?

There shouldnt be a difference either. I have seen people reading a book/magazine while driving. I have seen women at full speed in the highway straightening their eyelashes and I have seen them with 1 leg over the steering wheel painting their toenails in the highway. All of those should carry similar penalties. The issue is, it might be harder to catch those offenders. If you take a 15m drive while intoxicated, you are drunk for the full 15 mins and there is proof of it via a breathalyzer when you do get pulled over. Menawhile, you are not constatnly sending texts for the full 15m, perhaps you answer a few and the total "actual" texting time is just a few seconds, thus reducing the chances of an interaction with law enforcement during that time. To complicate things, the "proof" of the event might be even more difficult. Presumably, you could check time stamps of the texts (assuming you were sending as well as reading) but that would entail that they have access to your phone, and the FBI spent years trying to break the iphone's pw for the terrorist, I don't think local police will be able to do this to enforce some traffic law :lol: . Good thought though.
#15146087
XogGyux wrote:First, driving is a privilege, not a right. You are not born with y a driver's license. You have to demonstrate the ability and competency in order to obtain one. That is, after all, what the driving test is all about. You have to demonstrate that you understand and can follow the local traffic laws and regulations, that you have the ability to see the signs, react to them and safely drive a given vehicle. If you become old and demented, your privilege (license) can be taken away, if you become legally blind, likewise you lose your license, if you start having seizures, etc... You get the point. When people are drunk, they are impaired in many ways. Vision, judgment, reaction time, cognition, consciousness, alertness, etc.
Think of driving under the influence as driving without a license... you are breaking the law

Just because something is common does not mean it is right. By this logic, if we start murdering a lot, then we should just not make it illegal since everyone is doing it :lol:

Sober men that are reckless can also lose the license and/or have jail time.
It is called reckless driving. Look it up 8) .

I don't know if this is accurate, but I suspect even if it is, it has more to do with the fact that addicts are hard to rehabilitate, and DUI laws are not necessarily there to rehabilitate addicts but to put roadblocks that prevent them to continue doing these egregious acts (driving under the influence.)
And yes, by definition, if someone gets caught driving drunk, that person is an alcoholic.

WTF are you talking about? We are treating each driver with their own personal responsability. If you are driving under the influence, you are not being responsible, period.

You want to talk about personal responsibility. Where is the personal responsibility when the person... that is consuming a psychoactive drug and operating a vehicle that they are not supposed to be operating? Again, by definition, you are not being responsible if you engage in this behavior. A responsible behavior is driving at or below the speed limit, a responsible behavior is putting your blinkers, responsible behavior is checking your rear-mirrors and side mirrors before lane changes and a responsible behavior is not consuming beer/liquor before operating a 2ton piece of metal that can travel up to 100mph. So, again, by definition, you are throwing "responsible behavior" out of the window, the moment you start driving under the influence.


Pretty much. But stating the obvious does not somehow turn the argument to your favor. :lol:


Again, responsible drinking entails that you don't do irresponsible things after drinking. For instance... driving.
If you are drinking and then you are driving... by definition, you are not responsible.
Let me ask you this, how much responsible drinking do you think it is fair for the surgeon doing the quadruple bypass of your father? Or perhaps for the opthalmologist operating the eye of your mother? Or perhaps to the urologist treating your enlarged prostate or the neurosurgeon evacuating the hematoma of your child? If you think it is ok for you to drive a 2ton machine at 40+mph that could potentially injury or kill dozens of people in an accident... I am sure you will be ok with all those surgeons/doctors having a bit of "responsible drinking" before an operation or taking care of you right?


Again. You can have "responsible drinking" but thats it.. drinking. There is no driving there. It is not "responsible for drinking & driving". For it to be responsible... you need to avoid doing the things that would make it irresponsible. Drinking 1 glass of wine with a meal at a restaurant? That is responsible, it would not raise your BAL over the legal limit. Going to a bar, drinking 5-6 shots and immediately driving afterwards... not responsible. Drinking 3-4 beers at home on a celebration day... probably responsible. Drinking until you pass out while baby sitting your 6month old, even if you are not driving, not responsible. The fact that I have to explain this is worrisome, really.

I don't think you understand the point. I don't know of anyone that is actively "encouraging responsible drinking" (other than perhaps alcohol companies). They might encourage that if you are going to drink anyways... to do so responsibly. I know, the difference is subtle but it is there.


Precisely, that is why you should not drive while consuming alcohol. And that is why... if you know that you are going to consume alcohol, before you consume the very first drop, you should make arrangements such as you don't find yourself in the position of being able to drive at all. Say you going to a bar? Don't drive there... there is only one outcome for that... which is that you gonna end up driving under the influence. Instead, get a fucking Uber, or get a non-drinking buddy to go with you. Or swallow your key before you order your first drink.


Nonsense.


So do I. I have in fact argued in favor of this for years.
However, it is not the same as "all drugs ought to be decriminalized, and people doing those drugs and driving should be let alone".... I don't care if you drink a few extra beers in your patio. I don't care if you inject yourself with some heroin in your bedroom, or if you snore some cocaine in your bathroom or if you put an amphetamine supository. I don't really care. I think we would better off as a society if we concentrate resources trying to offer support to those people that felt into these vices than trying to jail them/prosecute them. That being said, that does not mean that I am in favor of you driving your corolla after taking 2 xanax or a pint of vodka.

It is not a potential crime. It is an actual crime. You are breaking the law when you drive under the influence, you are not "potentially breaking the law" you are actually doing so.

Pretty much. You can go to jail for (violates your freedom/liberty) for breaking the law. That is the price you pay for being part of the society. If you don't wish to be part of the society, go live in the middle of the jungle, where there are no people, no roads, and you can do whatever the fuck you want there. Of course, you would have to make your own booze.

Tell that to the parents of the 18 year old girl that I had to do a code in my 2nd year of residency that got hit by a drunk moron. Her intestines were out of her body, her abdomen could not be closed because of the swelling, each compression spread more and more of her insides around the room, she died.
You want to drive in PUBLIC roads? Be responsible. There is no drinking in responsible driving.


Here you can claim a bit of nuance. That being said, this is a matter of practicality. The same way a street has a speed limit of 45mph.... How did they come up with that number? What about driving at 55mph if there is no traffic? should that be allowed? Seriously, sometimes the highway is empty, and there are no cars visible, perhaps driving at 100mph should be fine?
Again... it is a matter of practicality that there is a specific limit. This is also to your favor... so that you don't get an asshole police stalking outside of a restaurant stopping everyone and "eyeballing" drunk people. By establishing a "legal limit" and having a method of reproducing this (breathalyzer) there is some degree of objectivity. I could not say the alphabet backward if my life depended on it and I have not had a drop of alcohol in decades.

Oh, so it looks like you can hold your liquor.. good for you :lol: Now, stay out of the road. Be responsible.
:lol:

Of course, it does. It applies to everyone, it is the law.


No, they cannot.


Quite the opposite. They demonstrated an inability to follow basic traffic law (it would not be different from getting caught driving at 120mph even if you didn't crash or injured anyone, you also broke the law, you demonstrate an inability/disregard to follow the law and therefore your privilege of driving can be -and I would argue should be- forfitted)... not driving under the influence. They are a danger to other drivers. Those people that are charged with DUI, by definition have a substance abuse disorder, if it is alcohol, it is called alcoholism. It needs to be recognized and treated as such.


Life is not fair. Get over it.
Want to drink, get an uber.


It is disappointing if you have to wait to personally be injured by idiots driving drunk before you realize it is a bad idea.


There shouldnt be a difference either. I have seen people reading a book/magazine while driving. I have seen women at full speed in the highway straightening their eyelashes and I have seen them with 1 leg over the steering wheel painting their toenails in the highway. All of those should carry similar penalties. The issue is, it might be harder to catch those offenders. If you take a 15m drive while intoxicated, you are drunk for the full 15 mins and there is proof of it via a breathalyzer when you do get pulled over. Menawhile, you are not constatnly sending texts for the full 15m, perhaps you answer a few and the total "actual" texting time is just a few seconds, thus reducing the chances of an interaction with law enforcement during that time. To complicate things, the "proof" of the event might be even more difficult. Presumably, you could check time stamps of the texts (assuming you were sending as well as reading) but that would entail that they have access to your phone, and the FBI spent years trying to break the iphone's pw for the terrorist, I don't think local police will be able to do this to enforce some traffic law :lol: . Good thought though.


very informative post.
#15146090
The problem here is the car, more than anything else.

When countries reduce their reliance on cars, death and injuries drop, sometimes a lot. Which makes sense, things like traffic calming slow cars down. Keeping people and cars separate as much as possible works.

It is long past time we designed for people.

In Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, an alien looked down from orbit and decided the dominant life form was the car. Yes, that's silly, but it's also a good point.
#15146130
@XogGyux I very much appreciate your response. I created this post not just to get out my thoughts but also to receive feedback, so thank you for responding.

I mean, I actually agree with some of your points but I disagree strongly with a few of them.

Again, I definitely see a total inconsistency of logic in the person who says that there IS such a thing as "responsible drinking", as you yourself acknowledge, but that there cannot in theory also be such a thing as learning how to drive safely while being intoxicated. Just try to follow my logic on this point: If we recognize that it is the chemical, not the person, that is at the root of danger, then it doesn't make much sense to me to speak at all about ANY responsible use of this chemical. And yet, we can acknowledge that it is entirely possible to drink whilst retaining enough sound judgement not to get into a vehicle. If that's possible to do, then theoretically it must also be possible for a person to be intoxicated whilst driving with caution and responsibility. And I as I say, many legally intoxicated drivers have proven they can fully pass field sobriety tests. So clearly people are capable of displaying responsibility DESPITE the chemical. Do you think it's morally right to impose harsh punishments on these people? I certainly do not.
#15146142
Agent Steel wrote:@XogGyux I very much appreciate your response. I created this post not just to get out my thoughts but also to receive feedback, so thank you for responding.

I mean, I actually agree with some of your points but I disagree strongly with a few of them.

Again, I definitely see a total inconsistency of logic in the person who says that there IS such a thing as "responsible drinking", as you yourself acknowledge, but that there cannot in theory also be such a thing as learning how to drive safely while being intoxicated. Just try to follow my logic on this point: If we recognize that it is the chemical, not the person, that is at the root of danger, then it doesn't make much sense to me to speak at all about ANY responsible use of this chemical. And yet, we can acknowledge that it is entirely possible to drink whilst retaining enough sound judgement not to get into a vehicle. If that's possible to do, then theoretically it must also be possible for a person to be intoxicated whilst driving with caution and responsibility. And I as I say, many legally intoxicated drivers have proven they can fully pass field sobriety tests. So clearly people are capable of displaying responsibility DESPITE the chemical. Do you think it's morally right to impose harsh punishments on these people? I certainly do not.


You can be a responsible gun owner, but you cannot be a responsible gun owner that also goes on your patio and shoot a few rounds into the air to celebrate Christmas. Those ideas are not compatible.
You can have safe (responsible) sex, but you cannot call it so if you are just going every day of the week, having sex with a different stranger every day and not using a condom. Again, those ideas are not compatible.
Finally, the same thing applies to driving. I did acknowledge that the cutoff is arbitratry. It could also potentially catch someone that it is just so slightly over the legal limit but that despite being this tiny bit over the limit, happens to be a better driver than someone that is stone-cold sober. It can happen. You know what also can happen? It can be that I am a better driver than you and I can still reliably drive safer than you by going 10mph above the speed limit. Does that mean that I should be able to do so and ignore completely the rules of the traffic?
If your problem is that perhaps you feel that whatever got defined as the "legal limit" is perhaps too stringent, perhaps that is something that you can argue a little bit. Maybe you can do the research and find out what percentage of people at such degree of intoxication are exhibiting cognitive problems, reflex/reaction time issues, judgement issues, etc. Who knows, perhaps it shouldn't be 0.08 and perhaps it should be 0.10 or perhaps it should be 0.07. Does not matter too much at the end of the day.
Field sobriety test is not a replacement because it does not measure your ability to drive while intoxicated, it might measure your ability to walk in a straight line or answer a few tricky questions. Presumably by the time you are already stopped by a cop is because they happen to catch you doing something suspicious like doing a weird lane change, going over the speed limit, not putting blinkers, slamming the breaks, fast acceleration, etc. That behavior that got you pulled over and in combination with an elevated BAL (objective test) is evidence that you have some degree of impairment.
Sure, it is quite possible that the only reason that you got stopped was because of a dead light in the back or because the police was stalking you... Perhaps there are a handful of people that fit this description, the vast majority of people that get a DUI are not "slightly above legal limit", "stopped for some other reason unrelated to the way that they are driving" and "completely asses the field sobriety test".

As it is, you can still have a couple alcohol beverages and still pass the breathalyzer. In fact it is estimated that for an average person it takes slightly over 2 drinks and still be under the BAL limit. This means you can go to a restaurant, have a couple beers or a couple of glasses of wine and still be completely fine. In fact, if you are having dessert and perhaps talking a bit longer or taking a walk right after the meal (e.g. some time have passed), you might easily get away with 3 or even 4. You know what the definition of moderate drinking is? 1 glass for women, 2 for men. And here you are trying to argue that someone that drinks more than "moderately" and still goes out to drive with an elevated BAL is a responsible driver that is a victim of traffic law.

I work with alcoholics all the time, on any given day about 10 to 30% of all my hospital admissions is someone that is either drunk, withdrawing from alcohol, admitted for liver issues because their busted their liver drinking or admitted for GI bleeding because they drank themselves to portal hypertension/varices and are bleeding. My grandfather was an alcoholic, my dad is a "high functioning" alcoholic as well. It is a disease, it interferes with your ability to make sound decisions even before you even take your first drink. It affects many people. People should get help for it and blanket ostracization is probably not the best approach to start dealing effectively with this problem. On the other hand, allowing them to break rules and/or endanger others shouldn't even be on the table for discussion. It is a crime if you grab a set of pick tools and enter an stranger's house to just hang around his sofa even if you don't ultimately steal anything, even if you don't kill anyone inside the home, even if you dont attack/threaten/rape anyone... no victim, yet it is a crime. It is a crime if you sneak into the Pentagon just because you want to reach some top secret files, not because you intent to sell it to the russians or the chinese but because you are just curious, even if the information would never leave your brain and still remain top secret... it is a crime. It is a crime if you hack into a bank just to prove you have the ability to do so, even if you ultimately don't make any changes and steal no money. Likewise, it is breaking the law when someone drives intoxicated, even when they don't crash or kill someone.
#15146147
Agent Steel wrote:Just try to follow my logic on this point: If we recognize that it is the chemical, not the person, that is at the root of danger, then it doesn't make much sense to me to speak at all about ANY responsible use of this chemical. And yet, we can acknowledge that it is entirely possible to drink whilst retaining enough sound judgement not to get into a vehicle. If that's possible to do, then theoretically it must also be possible for a person to be intoxicated whilst driving with caution and responsibility.

No; driving is not just about being able to slowly make a decision on whether it's safe for you to drive; it also involves reactions, attention, and extremely quick judgements. Your 'logic' is not logical at all; you are suggesting that if you're capable of deciding "I'm able to drive", then you will be able to drive. There's more to being able to drive than the will to drive. You surely know this.

@skinster Please see my previous post. Thanks.

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