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
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
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.
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.
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
Now, stay out of the road. Be responsible.
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. 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
. Good thought though.