Sheer MADD-ness: When Drunk Driving Deterrence Becomes Neo-Prohibition


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roo_ster
October 9, 2005, 07:59 AM
I thought the .08 BAC was a bad idea, first & foremost because the federales have no business fiddling with traffic laws enforced by the states.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,171383,00.html
When Drunk Driving Deterrence Becomes Neo-Prohibition

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

By Radley Balko

This fall Mothers Against Drunk Driving marks its 25th anniversary. The organization certainly has much to celebrate: Deaths from drunk driving are down more than 35 percent since the early 1980s. We no longer chuckle at the bumbling drunk who can barely get his key into the ignition — we scorn him. Hopefully, we arrest him, too.

Unfortunately, MADD has come to outlive and outgrow its original mission. By the mid-1990s, deaths from drunk driving began to level off, after 15 years of progress. The sensible conclusion to draw from this was that the occasional drunk driver had all but been eradicated. MADD's successes had boiled the problem down to a small group of hard-core alcoholics.

It was at about this time that MADD began to move in a different direction, one not so much aimed at reducing drunk driving fatalities but at stripping DWI defendants of basic criminal rights. MADD also seemed to expand its mission to one of discouraging the consumption of alcohol in general — what critics call "neo-prohibition."

MADD's biggest victory on this front was a nationwide blood-alcohol threshold of .08, down from .10. But when two-thirds of alcohol-related traffic fatalities involve blood-alcohol levels of .14 and above, and the average fatal accident occurs at .17, this move doesn't make much sense. It's like lowering the speed limit from 65 to 60 to catch people who drive 100 miles per hour. In fact, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reviewed all the statistical data and concluded "the evidence does not conclusively establish that .08 BAC laws by themselves result in reductions in the number and severity of crashes involving alcohol."

Indeed, many critics of the .08 policy predicted that the new law could make matters worse by using up scarce law enforcement resources to go after these new "drunk" drivers who don't pose much of a threat to highway safety. This is primarily done through the use of highly-publicized roadblock sobriety checkpoints, in which 12 to 20 police officers stop every passing car to make sure the driver hasn't been drinking.

The Supreme Court gave its OK to the road blocks in 1992, despite conceding that they may violate the Fourth Amendment. Former Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote that the threat to public health posed by drunk drivers was reason enough to set aside concerns about searches without probable cause. Given that they're usually publicized, the primary effect of these roadblocks is to deter social drinkers. The hard-drinkers, the real threats to highway safety, know to avoid them.

Sure enough, after former President Clinton signed .08 into law in 2000, drunk driving fatalities began to inch upward again — after two decades of decline — suggesting that the real drunk drivers were successfully avoiding the roadblocks. Thankfully, fatalities fell again last year, but that hardly proves MADD correct — deaths continued to go up in those states that employ sobriety roadblocks. The corresponding fall in fatalities in states that refuse to use the roadblocks more than made up the difference, suggesting that, freed from roadblock duty, law enforcement was able to work more effectively to catch drunk drivers.

Many local police departments have noted the inefficiency of roadblocks and given up the practice, despite the prodding from MADD and the federal funding that comes with them.

Of course, many states and municipalities still use roadblocks. But they use them under the guise of looking for drunk drivers, then ticket motorists for a variety of infractions, only a small percentage of which involve driving while intoxicated. In other words, they've become revenue generators. A newspaper account of one recent North Carolina checkpoint, for example, found officers ticketing motorists for more than 45 infractions. Only three involved driving under the influence. That's actually high. Nationwide, less than .02 percent of motorists stopped at road blocks are arrested for DWI.

MADD has also worked to undermine the criminal protections of accused drunk drivers — protections routinely granted to accused murderers, rapists and other felony crimes. MADD, for example, has pushed to impose tougher penalties on motorists who refuse to take roadside breath tests than on those who take them and fail — effectively turning the Fifth Amendment on its ear. The organization also favors "administrative license revocation," which means the revocation of the driver's licenses and, in some cases, the confiscation of the vehicles, of those accused of drunken driving before they're ever given a trial.

The organization is also pushing the widespread use of ignition interlock devices, in which a driver must blow into a tube to start his car, then blow again every 20 minutes or so while driving. Washington state recently passed a law allowing judges to mandate the devices in the cars of people merely accused of drunk driving, not convicted. And the states of New Mexico and New York have both considered legislation that would require the devices in every car sold in-state. The New Mexico bill is stalled in the state senate after being passed by the house. The New York bill was initially killed, but it gains more votes each time its determined sponsors reintroduce it.

MADD is also pushing its agenda onto family laws, including a zero tolerance policy for divorced parents. Under the bills MADD is trying to push through state legislatures, a parent caught consuming one beer or glass of wine before driving could face penalties that, according to MADD, "should include, but are not limited to" — "incarceration," "change of primary custody," or "termination of parental rights." This means that if you take your kid to the game, have a beer in the third inning, then drive home, you could very well lose your rights as a father.

Even MADD's founder, Candy Lightner, has lamented that the organization has grown neo-prohibitionist in nature.

"[MADD has] become far more neo-prohibitionist than I had ever wanted or envisioned ...," Lightner is quoted as saying in an Aug. 6 story in the Washington Times. "I didn't start MADD to deal with alcohol. I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving," she said.

Unfortunately, the tax-exempt organization has become so enmeshed with government it has nearly become a formal government agency. MADD gets millions of dollars in federal and state funding, and has a quasi-official relationship with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In some jurisdictions, DWI defendants are sentenced to attend and pay for alcoholic-recovery groups sponsored by MADD. In many cities, MADD officials are even allowed to man sobriety checkpoints alongside police.

On the occasion of its 25th anniversary, perhaps its time Congress revisit the spigot of federal funding flowing to MADD, and consider revoking the organization's tax-exempt status. Clearly, MADD isn't the same organization it was 25 years ago. It has morphed into an anti-alcohol lobbying organization. There's nothing wrong with that — it's certainly within MADD's and its supporters' First Amendment rights.

But taxpayers shouldn't be forced to subsidize them.

Radley Balko maintains the The Agitator weblog.

If you enjoyed reading about "Sheer MADD-ness: When Drunk Driving Deterrence Becomes Neo-Prohibition" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Lone_Gunman
October 9, 2005, 08:20 AM
On the occasion of its 25th anniversary, perhaps its time Congress revisit the spigot of federal funding flowing to MADD, and consider revoking the organization's tax-exempt status.

I am not sure I understand why the tax exempt status would be revoked. Even if MADD has changed its mission, it would still qualify as tax exempt if it is non-profit.

TarpleyG
October 9, 2005, 08:35 AM
MADD is no better than the MMM IMO. Just a bunch of nosy old bitties with nothing better to do than butt into other people's business. Granted, driving drunk is a problem--but so is driving tired, driving while on the phone, driving while putting on makeup, driving while reading, etc....

Greg

Leatherneck
October 9, 2005, 08:35 AM
Tax-exempt organizarions cannot step over the line into legislative advocacy.

TC

stevelyn
October 9, 2005, 08:46 AM
Our court system has become so clogged w/ marginal DUI cases (especially the .08-.10 BACs) that both sides look for ways to $^!T can cases just to get rid of the bottleneck.
It's a wonder our real criminal cases see the light of day in a reasonable time.

Yanus
October 9, 2005, 09:05 AM
Let's just ban the manufacture, possession, sale, and consumption of alcohol. That'll certainly work........... :banghead: Idiots!

Yanus

robert garner
October 9, 2005, 09:22 AM
My daugher has spent 17 yrs on a ventilator(breathing machine) we collect both
feces and urine in a bag . This has destroyed this familys hopes dreams and any possibility of retirement.
The drunk (.27) was fined 2k and served 17 1/2 mos.
I guess thats fair?
To keep this on topic I did not shoot the B@#$%rd ,but then we all make mistakes,don't we? If he had gotten drunk and walked down the street indiscrimately firing a shotgun, bet justice would have been seen.

Ezekiel
October 9, 2005, 09:44 AM
The drunk (.27) was fined 2k and served 17 1/2 mos.

There's really no way to "follow" such a post, so won't: other then to say that there is a HUGE difference between .27 and .08 as a number. I don't think that .08 should be prosecuted.

"Peace".

Lupinus
October 9, 2005, 10:25 AM
It is insanity. .08 is a low number. And that having any alcohol before driving is a crock. So I go to dinner with my kid and have a glass of wine I am going to loose him? BS. And so is the ignition tube. It is my personal private property. The goverment has no right mandating I instal something on it so that I can drive it. What if im at .09 and it is an emergency? What if I had a drink that would bring me to .04 a few minute's ago, and because of that there is still some alcohol left in my mouth so it screw's with the reading?

We tried prohibition. It was stupid then and it is even more stupid now that we perfectly see it does not accomplish anything. If I want to drink and alcohol is prohibited I can make a few gallon's of alcohol a week in some five gallon bucket's and sugar.

It is insane. The people that support them need to stop being voted into power.

beerslurpy
October 9, 2005, 11:26 AM
Having .08 is the equivalent of less than a single beer. Do you guys realize how easy it is to blow .08? You can blow up to .04 without having a drink. It is just like the ultra low speed limits designed to catch people who arent driving recklessly.

Above .15 to .20 is too drunk to drive. I've seen too many people drive completely safely with that much in their system to think it is unsafe. Someone who is hammred is going to blow way over that amount and someone who has had a beer or two over 4-5 hours of hanging out at a bar will blow below that.

cropcirclewalker
October 9, 2005, 12:00 PM
Driving while intoxicated is no more of a crime than running with scissors.

So low we've sunk. It's not your BAC that counts, it's what you do with it.

Ezekiel
October 9, 2005, 12:15 PM
Driving while intoxicated is no more of a crime than running with scissors.

Well, I personally disagree with THAT, but 0.08 is ridiculous...

Lupinus
October 9, 2005, 12:17 PM
Driving while intoxicated is no more of a crime than running with scissors.
I have to disagree.

If you run with a pair of scissor's and fall the most you are going to do is make a hell of a mess for someone else to have to clean up. If you don't fall and run into someone else the worst you can do is kill someone else.

If you are highly intoxicated and get behidn the wheel of a car you can ruin live's. Many live's. You can make a bus swerve and go off the road. You can run into a car with an entire family in it. You can run into the back of someone and cause an explosion or fire and mame them for life provided they don't die. You can jump a curb and plow through a sidewalk full of people. You can not hit anyone, but you can make they swerve to avoid your stupid move and smash into a tree or telephone pole.

There is to extreme..and this is way to extreme IMO. .08 is way to low and random checkpoint's are IMO rediculas and illegal.

But it is no where near just runnign with a pair of scisor's. Runnign with scisor's you at most end one life or injure someone. Getting behind the wheel drunk you can destroy many, many live's.

Gewehr98
October 9, 2005, 12:17 PM
Driving while intoxicated is no more of a crime than running with scissors.

I'd invite you to my brother's Christopher's headstone. He was killed at age 12 by a drunk driver. What you so cavalierly assign to fate, I'd assign to an undeniably conscious choice by that particular drunk driver. :mad:

slzy
October 9, 2005, 12:45 PM
every body who reads this thread that drinks stop for just one year,and see if you start back next oct.9 2006.

Daniel T
October 9, 2005, 12:54 PM
every body who reads this thread that drinks stop for just one year,and see if you start back next oct.9 2006.

And the point of that is...?

Kurush
October 9, 2005, 12:54 PM
every body who reads this thread that drinks stop for just one year,and see if you start back next oct.9 2006.OK, but only if you stop posting messages on the internet for one year and see if you start back first :neener:

Lupinus
October 9, 2005, 12:56 PM
I already don't drink on a regular basis. I will occasionaly have a glass of wine or other drink.

But reguardless....I have no clue what stoping for a year and seeing if you start agian has to do with anything

spartacus2002
October 9, 2005, 01:02 PM
Unfortunately, the tax-exempt organization has become so enmeshed with government it has nearly become a formal government agency. MADD gets millions of dollars in federal and state funding, and has a quasi-official relationship with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In some jurisdictions, DWI defendants are sentenced to attend and pay for alcoholic-recovery groups sponsored by MADD. In many cities, MADD officials are even allowed to man sobriety checkpoints alongside police.

Isn't there a word for this, derived from an old latin term for "bundle"?

longeyes
October 9, 2005, 01:03 PM
Driving while intoxicated is no more of a crime than running with scissors.

More like shooting your guns in the air in a public venue, I'd say.

Telperion
October 9, 2005, 01:27 PM
MADD and MMM/Brady = modern-day WCTU

Demon rum! Demon gun! :D

Lone_Gunman
October 9, 2005, 01:35 PM
I don't know that changing the legal limit is the answer here. Some people are drunk at .08, some are not.

I do think if a driver kills someone while operating an automobile under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he should be subject to the death penalty.

Otherguy Overby
October 9, 2005, 02:17 PM
Some time ago, way back in the prior century, some motorcycle safety types got together and experimented.

They took varying levels of rider experience and got them drunk under controlled conditions. Yeah they couldn't do that now because it's not PC, but they went on regardless.

Who they tested:

Newbies, various levels of "experienced" riders and a road racer.

What they discovered:

All the riders had reduced skill levels at increased blood/alcohol levels.

What was not commonly reported was:

The road racer had BETTER skills when legally intoxicated than ALL the others had when sober.

IOW, skill level is a great factor, but it's more PC to attack alcohol than idiots. .08 is going for the lowest common denominator, is PC and successful politically.

Kinda like the gun issue, eh wot?

Shield529
October 9, 2005, 02:36 PM
To beerslurpy; you stated "Having .08 is the equivalent of less than a single beer. Do you guys realize how easy it is to blow .08? You can blow up to .04 without having a drink"

I don't mean to be rude but that is an out right lie.
160 Lb. Male will need 3-4 drinks to be at .07-.09
250 Lb. Male will need 5-6
One drink is 1.5 oz. of 80 proof liquor, 12 oz. of beer, or 5 oz. of table wine.

You cannot blow anything with some form of alcohol consumption, mouthwash and simlilar substance containing alcohol that is not ingested will create a false reading for up to 15 minutes, hence the mandatory 20 minute observation time before law enforcment can have you perform a BAC testing.

I have personally observed people at .07 who cannot walk and .25 that showed nothing more than Gaze Nystagmus.
That said most seriously impaired drivers that are performing so badly as to attract my attention are at .12-.18. But I believe that is just the avg. amount of consumption after night of drinking at a bar.
To those who believe it, no one get arrested after one wine at dinner with their family. But after all I have seen with DWI there is no reason at all to drive after you have drank anything at all.

bratch
October 9, 2005, 02:51 PM
I have a friend that got busted for APC (actual physical possession) he was at a friends house went out side to his truck to make a phone call/get something and was busted for being too close to his truck, having possession of his keys and being over the legal limit. It was the same as DUI without even being in the vehicle.

He was required to get the blow tube put in his truck. The kill limit on it was .02 1/4 of the legal limit. There were many times he would go out and still be over the limit at 3 or 4 in the afternoon the next day. Mouthwash would set it off. The mouthwash would only be a minor incovience except that he almost missed early morning test waiting on it to get low enough for his truk to start.

45acpSHOOTER
October 9, 2005, 02:51 PM
But they use them under the guise of looking for drunk drivers, then ticket motorists for a variety of infractions, only a small percentage of which involve driving while intoxicated. In other words, they've become revenue generators.


Thats what it is all about.


The Supreme Court gave its OK to the road blocks in 1992, despite conceding that they may violate the Fourth Amendment. Former Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote that the threat to public health posed by drunk drivers was reason enough to set aside concerns about searches without probable cause.

Take the above statement from the article. Delete any reference to drunk drivers and insert gun owners.

cropcirclewalker
October 9, 2005, 03:29 PM
I yam saddened by some of the responses here. We are screwed. This is a pro gun group and we hear the hackneyed expression, "Guns don't kill people, People kill people."

I cannot understand how a rational person could firmly believe the above and then somehow ascribe killing properties to alcohol. I feel like I am talking to children and I know I am not.

The socialists and authoratarians have joined together on this one and they have won. As more and more of us become products of the public schools more and more of us will become blind to the oppressive weights of the prior restraint laws.

Enjoy yer guns now fellers. We are screwed.

CAnnoneer
October 9, 2005, 03:52 PM
That is not a fair comparison. Guns do not impair judgment, while alcohol/drugs do. Also, I bet most people do much more driving than they do shooting.

45acpSHOOTER
October 9, 2005, 04:05 PM
despite conceding that they may violate the Fourth Amendment. Former Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote that ]the threat to public health posed by drunk drivers was reason enough to set aside concerns about searches without probable cause.[/i]


It could read in the future:

the threat to public health posed by Firearms was reason enough to set aside concerns about searches without probable cause.

jashobeam
October 9, 2005, 04:12 PM
I feel that driving after having been drinking is foolish not so much because I am convinced that everyone who does so poses a threat to society, but because I now know first hand how easy it is to get pulled over by the police and fail a field sobriety test.

Before I continue with my tale I'd like to say that in our culture, in California anyway, it is acceptable to drink and drive--despite all of the propaganda and slogans that attempt to convince us otherwise. Nearly everyone I know of who drinks, also drives after drinking. What all of the education against drunk driving has done is make those who are caught and convicted more ready to accept their fate as lawbreakers. Once caught, it suddenly becomes so clear--all of the warnings you ever heard--that you should have known better not to drink and drive. Even though many people do drink and drive, few people truly sympathize with those who receive DUI's because "everyone knows you shouldn't drink and drive."

I hope that it is not a mistake to reveal my personal experience on this forum in which I so enjoy participating. The night I was arrested I had been drinking with friends. At one point I announced that we would be taking a cab ride home. Later, however, around closing time, I became hungry and decided to drive my friends to get food and then to their homes. Hours later, after driving all over town, I had dropped off the last of my friends and was driving in an upscale residential area when I noticed a cop behind me which instantly lit up and pulled me over. The officer said I had rolled through a stop sign and that I was speeding. Many of you readers will probably not believe that I was able to accurately gauge my own driving, but I am thoroughly convinced that I did NOT fail to completely stop and that I was not speeding. The biggest thing I have realized out of all that happened as a result of that encounter is that the police can pull you over for absolutely NO REAL REASON. They can make up ANY REASON to pull you over, and if by chance you have done "wrong" or are doing "wrong" then the officer's gamble will pay off.

I failed two of the field sobriety tests: In the thumb-to-finger ascending and descending count-off test (1,2,3,4,4,3,2,1...) I completed 4 circuits when apparently I was told to only complete 3; on the heel-toe walk I stumbled on my first step after turning around to walk back toward the officer. BTW, my BAC was .11. You should know that, in a way, your Fifth Amendment rights DO NOT apply when you are suspected of DUI. You can refuse to say anything that might incriminate yourself and you can refuse to participate in the field sobriety tests (you will be arrested anyway if you do not allow the FST), but you cannot refuse a chemical test administered by the officer. There is an "implied consent statute" that obligates motorists to provide a chemical specimen if the officer has probable cause to believe the motorist is driving drunk. I am not looking to convince anyone that I was wrongfully arrested or accused. I just want to make everyone aware of the details of my initial stop and subsequent punishment.

Let me say at this point that I accept full responsibility for having chosen to drive while intoxicated. I should not have been driving. If someone had run out in front of my car I would not have been AS ABLE to react as if I'd been sober. I had become careless with drinking and driving. I thought very little about it. I figured that somehow a DUI would not happen to me. DO NOT THINK LIKE I DID!! Anyone doing anything wrong can be caught at any time. Chances are, if you are a relatively good, law-abiding citizen, the person caught doing "wrong" will be you instead of some hardened criminal (Murphy's Law?).

Once arrested, I was treated like a criminal. Earlier, I was enjoying the friendship and comraderie of my companions; later, I experienced the contempt shown to thieves, gangsters, and any other bad person. This type of treatment has been consistent throughout my arrest, booking, detainment, release, pre-booking (for weekend work program), attending the DUI school orientation, and will probably remain consistent during my weekend work which starts next weekend. I am used to being treated as a respectable citizen. When I patronize an establishment, I expect to be treated as a valuable customer. This does not happen once you find yourself on "the wrong side" of the law; your money and your time mean nothing to those who have gained control over you. Although I do understand that I was driving under the influence and COULD HAVE been in an accident and injured or even killed another human being, I have at times struggled with the notion that I am being punished without actually having done anything wrong (meaning that nothing adverse actually resulted from my driving that evening). What if the police entered your house for a false reason and found your gun under your pillow and arrested you, made you attend classes, took away your license, and raised your insurance rates astronomically (my auto insurance may triple) because someone could have been killed by your gun. This is just how I feel sometimes. But the reality is that I broke a law that I was well aware of. I did so knowingly. In fact, I am glad for this experience because I have learned my leason and honestly doubt that I will ever again drive after having even one drink. The experience was, and still is and will continue to be for many years, that bad. Though no harm was done that night by me, perhaps in the future under similar circumstances I could have been in an accident which resulted in harm or death. Even if the accident wasn't my fault, if I'd been drinking, the blame would surely have been placed upon me. That is reality.
LEARN A LESSON FROM ME.

Gewehr98
October 9, 2005, 04:22 PM
The only comparison that should be made between alcohol use and gun ownership is the mental capacity of those who choose to own and use either. You wouldn't give a firearm to somebody who couldn't understand the ramifications of improper use. Nobody argues that, we don't see in the news that a pitchfork and torch villager uprising happened because a FFL dealer refused a sale to a Downs Syndrome patient.

Likewise, one doesn't enable somebody diminished in mental capacity by alcohol to maneuver several thousand pounds of steel, glass, plastic, and rubber at high speed on public roads. The vehicle at that point is a deadly weapon, and people die when that deadly weapon is under the control of a drunk. I know that first-hand, read my post above. :scrutiny:

BTW, Cropcirclewalker,

Guns don't kill people, people kill people.

Cars don't kill people, drunk drivers kill people.

Valkman
October 9, 2005, 04:36 PM
We all know that alcohol and guns is a bad combo but we have people here saying driving and drinking is ok. If you get caught driving with alcohol in you, and are above the legal limit, I believe no sentence is too much including going to jail for the rest of your life. People here don't get it, and the penalties are such that people do it over and over again. If you think drinking and driving is such a great thing go walk around a casino after Monday Night Football and dodge all the drunks driving home. Yea it's great.

beerslurpy
October 9, 2005, 05:19 PM
Whatever happened to punishing people when they harm others?

Punishing people when they do something that merely increases their risk of harming another is a slippery slope that I think most gun owners do not want to travel down. It is impossible to own weapons without increasing the risk to those around you. You make a good-faith effort to manage that risk and hope that nothing ever goes wrong.

I personally dont drive drunk, but I am deeply suspicious of breathalyzer tests and deeply suspicious of giving police pretexts to detain motorists. It is less a question of whether drunk driving is good or bad, but a question of whether there should be a substance abuse exception to the 4th amendment. The same logic that causes us to decry gun control laws erected in the wake of a massacre should cause us to be similarly critical and suspicious of DUI laws that target everyone because of a small minority that will drink a fifth of bourbon and hit the road in their camaro for a night of street racing.

Many cops dont feel threatened by an encroaching police state because they work for the police. They see little likelihood that the system will be used against them and they dont mind that their jobs are much easier to do. When the State is no longer constrained by the constitiution, government employees have easy lives. So why have liberty? It only inconveniences the agents of the king!

ghost squire
October 9, 2005, 05:28 PM
Isn't there a word for this, derived from an old latin term for "bundle"?

This is probably wrong, but what came to mind is fascism? Derived from fasces.

spartacus2002
October 9, 2005, 05:37 PM
This is probably wrong, but what came to mind is fascism? Derived from fasces.

Bingo. Imposing state control over all aspects of life, particularly when it closely aligns corporate interests with the interests of the state.

cropcirclewalker
October 9, 2005, 05:42 PM
Whatever happened to punishing people when they harm others?

Punishing people when they do something that merely increases their risk of harming another is a slippery slope that I think most gun owners do not want to travel down. Yes. That is called 'prior restraint'.

Many authoritarians want to criminilize what we put in our bodies. Many liberals want to criminilize what we put in our minds (or on our hips). It's the same thing.

To drink and drive shows poor judgement. Freedom with responsibility requires that one take responsibility for their poor judgement.

Poor judgement things one can do while driving;
drinking
talking on phone
eating a whopper
putting on makeup
reading
watching TV
changing cds
bopping out to some good ol' country rocker
flipping off an errant driver
obsessive looking in mirror
not looking in mirror
speeding
not speeding

These are all things which display poor judgement. Regardless, many, many times the driver can do these things (including drinking) without getting into an accident.

In most cases when an accident occurs because a driver is doing one of the above......they call it an accident. Prosecutions usually only occur because of the drinking or speeding. Why? Poor Judgement. Is it a crime?

Perhaps you authoritarians out there would also like to criminilize these things too.....except for the speeding, which we all do, so it shouldn't be a crime.

cropcirclewalker
October 9, 2005, 05:46 PM
[Quote:]
This is probably wrong, but what came to mind is fascism? Derived from fasces.


Bingo. Imposing state control over all aspects of life, particularly when it closely aligns corporate interests with the interests of the state. Thank you. All I could think of was 'Faggot'. You know the bundle of sticks with the axe blade on the back of a dime. :o

slzy
October 9, 2005, 07:55 PM
my post about stopping for a year was... if you quit for a year,you will not start back drinking.

LawDog
October 9, 2005, 08:56 PM
Whatever happened to punishing people when they harm others?

Joe Critter lives next to the High School football stadium. During the Homecoming Game, Joe gets an urge to sight in his .338 Weatherby and punches 30 rounds through the Home section of the stadium, but for the grace of God and little green hop-toads Joe doesn't hit anyone.

By your logic, since Joe didn't "harm others" everything is just roses?

Punishing people when they do something that merely increases their risk of harming another is a slippery slope that I think most gun owners do not want to travel down. It is impossible to own weapons without increasing the risk to those around you. You make a good-faith effort to manage that risk and hope that nothing ever goes wrong.

Why do I always see the active act of driving drunk compared with the passive act of firearms ownership?

Driving drunk is not the same as owning a firearm.

A proper comparison would be: owning a firearm is similar to owning a bottle of booze. The mere owning a firearm and ammunition is similar to the owning a bottle of booze and a car. The act of owning something, be it a firearm, a bottle of booze, or a car, is passive.

Driving drunk on a public highway is similar to shooting at a public football stadium. Both actions are active. Both actions require a conscious decision to perform actions that reasonable people have decided present a reckless disregard for the safety of others.

The drunk may not hit anyone in the thirty miles to his house, and the idiot may not hit anyone with the thirty rounds he fires into the football stadium, but that doesn't mean they should have a free pass to do it again next Friday, just because nobody got hit this time.

LawDog

grampster
October 9, 2005, 09:05 PM
Jashobeam's post was very telling and revealing. He speaks the truth. The problem with .08 bieng too low, that is not necessarily the problem entirely. Another part of the problem is a zealot with a badge. Before I'm accused of leo bashing, I was one for several years, have many contacts yet today, and most of my friends are in LE or the court system. I know what I'm talking about and the problem exists.

The facts seem to indicate that most deaths and injury is caused by BAC over .15, or by alcoholic scofflaws that are constantly trashed and driving. That behavior is wrong and should be punished severely. But....

Some police officers build reputations for arresting "drunk drivers". I know as I worked with guys like that. While I am not defending driving while drinking, we are quickly getting to the point where we have a punative culture that seeks to punish people severely and for years for infractions that that may not have been a danger to anyone. The fact is, being caught for .08 may indeed happen because the leo invented a reason to pull you over merely because it was late at night, wrong neighborhood, or leaving a restaurant that serves alcohol. How can you defend yourself from a wrongful, illegal pullover when Officer Friendly got lucky when you blew .08. To say that if you had not been drinking you would not have been in trouble parallels allowing an officer to stop and frisk you for no reason other than "public safety". We do have some rights, after all, and we need to be careful that they are not trounced. Some folks are willing to make rules about anything to grind an ax.

Whether anyone wants to recognize this as a problem or not, it does exist. Thousands of dollars in fines, loss of job, draconian requirements of attending classes, being required to admit one is an alcoholic or be accused of being in "denial". Insurance rates through the roof for several years, restricted license for maybe a year and the list goes on. All for havin 3 or 4 beers over a couple of hours and driving carefuly into the net of a predatory officer.

We defend our rights with regard to firearms. Yet who stands for the poor sap that has 3 or 4 beers over a couple of hours, is basically harmless, being careful and runs afoul of the legal system that is out of control, starting with predatory police officers looking to pad a resume with MADD.

Life is full of risks and people will be injured and killed because of drunk out of control drivers. That is bad. But a lot of lives are being screwed up on the other side of the page because some among us wish to restrict freedom to gain a little safety. Someone else talked about that a long time ago and expressed that truth better than I.

Standing Wolf
October 9, 2005, 09:12 PM
I can remember when MADD was a very new, daring organization. It seems to have become very well established after 25 years.

beerslurpy
October 9, 2005, 09:22 PM
Lawdog, you argue as if you beleive drunkenness to be a simple on/off state of mind. I know you dont actually beleive this, but that is how the law currently reads. 0.079999 and you get off scott-free- .000001 higher and you are subjected to all sorts of terrible penalties. Rather than directly ascertaining someone's incapacitation level, the law currently substitutes a machine test which measures this in a very indirect way.

Drunkenness spans a wide range of mental states which are associated with different risks. Different people handle different levels of intoxication differently. The only reason a single number is used to define "drunkenness" is because that is what the machine can measure, and it is much harder to argue with a number from a machine than it is to argue with the recollection of a police officer. In any case, people do not switch from being entirely sober to being completely incoherent at .08- it is more like a steady progression into dangerous behavior that begins at a certain number of drinks- a certain different number for every person.

It is easier to simply make the law a matter of not exceeding numbers that are measured on machines, because then the state no longer has to establish mens rea or deal with the imperfect recollection of the officer. This is a trick they learned from speed traps. I feel it is a significant and dangerous deviation from the traditional way in which crimes were tried. Strict liability laws should generally be avoided in a free society.

Ironically, being drunk on a non-alcoholic form of depressant would cause someone to blow clean but still be completely intoxicated. Many drugs can only be detected by taking a blood sample. How do the police find and detain users of qualudes, ghb or weed?

cropcirclewalker
October 9, 2005, 09:37 PM
Simpletons are as simpletons do....Joe Critter lives next to the High School football stadium. During the Homecoming Game, Joe gets an urge to sight in his .338 Weatherby and punches 30 rounds through the Home section of the stadium, but for the grace of God and little green hop-toads Joe doesn't hit anyone.

By your logic, since Joe didn't "harm others" everything is just roses? Alas.

Surely you coulda come up with a better example. Are their no laws against damaging public property? Discharging a firearm within the city limits? Stupidity on the verge of being a democrat?

Crime is best defined as the wrongful taking on another's life, liberty, or property.

So, Mr. Critter watches the super bowl at the neighbor's house. He has two beers. The good guys win. He gets in his car and drives the half mile home. No accidents. No soberiety checks. He arrives, goes inside and tells the missus about the wardrobe malfunction and goes to bed.

Is everything roses? Is he a criminal?

Cheese!

Active vs passive. A hoot. How about walking into the post office while owning a firearm on your hip?

How about trying to enter an airliner while owning a firearm in your briefcase?

For the Washington DCers......How about owning a firearm?

Gimme a break. All of these Crimes are prior restraint and no more repugnant than the crime of driving while intoxicated.

Gewehr98
October 9, 2005, 10:17 PM
Especially when pointed directly at forum moderators. Bad juju, that.

Simpletons are as simpletons do....


And we get your analogy with the superbowl drinker/driver. Something along the lines of "it ain't illegal until you're caught." Nice.

Pray to whichever deity works in your world that you don't lose a family member to a drunk driver. It isn't all it's cracked up to be, and offers very little in the way of entertainment value. Trust me.

Of course, it wouldn't be illegal if I shot my brother's killer if they didn't catch me afterwards, right?

:mad:

cropcirclewalker
October 9, 2005, 10:58 PM
I am somehow impervious to your loss. I have been trying to avoid responding because sometimes the loss of a loved one causes one to become irrational.

You apparently need to keep beating me over the head with it. I am real sorry that you lost your brother.

It is not my fault.

I have drinked and drived. Not recently since I live in the woods and have no place to go, but, yes, I have drinked and drived. I did not kill your brother.

I did not kill your brother

Mr. Lawdog made reference to a certain Mr. Critter. Mr. Critter is a simpleton.

If, for some reason, you ascribe the actions of the simpleton, Mr. Critter to Mr. Lawdog, then you are really screwed up.

Mr. Critter is a simpleton. He discharges a firearm into a group of people, depending on his sense of accuracy to protect him from doing physical harm to the citizens.

Mr. Lawdog is an authoritarion. He thinks that people should be prohibited from doing things that might be dangerous, based on certain assumptions such as the obvious danger of running with scissors.

Dmack_901
October 9, 2005, 11:20 PM
...yes, I have drinked and drived.
Apparently so.


(Hold, on what is the proper way to say that? Maybe it just sounds wierd.)

edit: Oops, I just researched it, and apparently that is right. Stupid me.

LawDog
October 9, 2005, 11:40 PM
Mr. Critter is a simpleton. He discharges a firearm into a group of people, depending on his sense of accuracy to protect him from doing physical harm to the citizens.

And he should be prevented from doing so again. And Mr. 0.15BAC who drives down a public roadway, depending on his (alcohol dulled) senses to protect him from doing physical harm to the citizens should also be prevented from doing so again.

LawDog

cropcirclewalker
October 9, 2005, 11:56 PM
Yes, I am saddened by the socialist, fascist, liberal concept that we, as good little subjects of the all powerful .gov should forsake our freedoms and line ourselves up and take our punishments like good little subjects.

Freedom with responsibility.

Think about it.

Like I said before, so far we have sunk.

The framers would be spinning in their graves. It makes me real sad.

There is no cure, we are screwed.

We are screwed.

It's all over.

We should have stayed as a colony of Great Britain.

George III is snickering in his grave.

jashobeam
October 10, 2005, 12:05 AM
Why do I always see the active act of driving drunk compared with the passive act of firearms ownership?

Driving drunk is not the same as owning a firearm.

A proper comparison would be: owning a firearm is similar to owning a bottle of booze. The mere owning a firearm and ammunition is similar to the owning a bottle of booze and a car. The act of owning something, be it a firearm, a bottle of booze, or a car, is passive.
LawDog, you are right. Drunk driving is not the same as merely owning a firearm. I was irresponsibly driving under the influence of alcohol. And who's to say that my arrest didn't save me from a terrible accident in which I may have otherwise been 'destined' to be involved a mile down the road? The truth is that I am still filled with all sorts of conflicting thoughts and emotions. I wish it never happened; I'm glad it happened, as it taught me a lesson. Why'd it happen to me; I'm glad it was me--I'll benefit from it, and hopefully others will too.

Also, thank you Grampster.

While there does not exist any logical similarity between DUI and firearm possession, what should be of some concern is that anyone can be stopped without cause. What if you were pulled over for invented reasons on suspicion of DUI, were found to be sober, but to save face or whatever, the LEO actually ticketed you for the contrived violations? And while I was not the victim of racial profiling, I was singled out solely because I was the only car on the road in that area at that time. Social Profiling? I do also know that there had recently been several cars broken into in that area. Maybe that's why I was pulled over. Who knows? Maybe the arresting officer will tell me honestly someday.

Our rights and privacy become less important when in potential conflict with emotionally-charged issues of public concern (Homeland Security for example). What if the public demands to be protected from the wickedness of the privately-owned firearm? The parallel I should have drawn is not that firearm ownership is anything like DUI (at this present time anyway), but that the means that are (or may become) acceptable in preventing us from causing harm to others or ourselves may be similar when applied to either cause (like in the movie Equilibrium).

What will happen if our gullible public votes away its right to bear arms? In a Police State, perhaps the confiscation of all privately owned firearms may be viewed as instrumental in preventing terrible crimes from being committed.

I am not cop bashing. My very good friend is a cop, and it is a profession that I often wished I had pursued myself. Is it not true that, among certain cops and/or in certain agencies, somewhat of a big deal is made for the cop with the most DUI arrests per month (more so at certain times of the year)? It is something that certain officers refer to as a point of pride or seem to use as an indicator of their capability of good police work. This type of thinking appears to be encouraged. DUI is a revenue generator, big time.

We are as a culture being influenced to include alcohol in our fun times. We are also being conditioned to associate alcohol with having fun; nearly every sporting event, including motorsports, is sponsored by a manufacturer of alcohol. Hollywood continues to have its leading men and women smoke cigarettes despite the education and trend against smoking.

In the majority of movies, it is a handgun that saves the day in the hands of an otherwise hopeless and helpless victim. Nevertheless, people fail to be indoctrinated by this particular fantasy and fail to accept that perhaps a gun could save their lives, too. Sorry about the inconsistent theme in this post. I may have tried to make several different points, and in the process, made none.

Again, I will recommend to everyone from the bottom of my heart: Do not drink and drive.

cropcirclewalker
October 10, 2005, 12:28 AM
Again, I will recommend to everyone from the bottom of my heart: Do not drink and drive. Yes. I agree.

The difference here is; To what extent do we want .gov involved in this whole mess.

Yes, I agree, driving under the influence is a bad thing. Especially in the big city where people live together like rats in a cage, certain freedoms that we in the woods enjoy should not be permitted.

Yes, I agree. If you must live like a rat in a cage then you must obey the 'rat in a cage rules' and yes, you should not drink and drive.

The founders are rolling in their graves.

We are screwed.

Prior restraint sucks and there is no other way to describe it. We have become a socialist country.

Enjoy.

Mikul
October 10, 2005, 01:16 AM
The goal is to keep people who are in no condition to drive from doing so and punishing if they act irresponsibly. I'm not going to argue that. The problem I have is that we are not trying to determine if people are impaired, we are testing a blood alcohol level which may or may not tell us anything about a person's impairment. Of course, we aren't measuring blood alcohol levels either. We're using a breathalizer to ESTIMATE the blood alcohol level.

The problem that I have with current drunk driving laws is that it is legally worse to smash head on into a car with your family in it because you were drunk than because you were reading the morning paper and it's legally no different to do the same thing with a cell phone in your hand. It really doesn't matter to your family, does it?

Ryder
October 10, 2005, 02:45 AM
It's a witch hunt.

Not sure what percentage of accidents involve alcohol these days but it used to be 50/50. Doesn't sound like cause and effect to me yet 100% of those drinking are at fault. The drinkers couldn't possibly have caused all those accidents.

The way it works is if some idiot runs a stopsign causing a death I am automatically guilty and would have to do prison time? I wouldn't allow that. Lucky for them I don't drink. :)

spartacus2002
October 10, 2005, 08:39 AM
Doctrine of Fascism (http://www.historyguide.org/europe/duce.html)

of particular interest are (i)11-13 and (ii)9

MechAg94
October 10, 2005, 12:17 PM
Many people are too emotional about this topic to make reasonable and logic discussions, IMHO.

Personally, I don't have a problem with setting BAC limits, I just think having 0.08 as a near-felony is way to strict. I would like to see .08 become a more minor misdemeanor and some higher limit become the near-felony that we have today. To me that would be more reasonable especially if those are the people causing most of the accidents.

If someone is driving 100 miles per hour through the city, they are driving in a very unsafe manner and could cause an accident and kill someone. If caught, we don't treat that person near as badly as we treat a drunk. Yet to me it is the same circumstance and same risk.

roo_ster
October 10, 2005, 01:41 PM
If you get caught driving with alcohol in you, and are above the legal limit, I believe no sentence is too much including going to jail for the rest of your life.

So, what if the legal limit were lowered to 0.07? 0.03? 0.01? 0.001?

Just chuck them into jail if they consume more than the neo-prohibitionists think you ought? Nice. Toss them into the same jail cell as the guy with the 17 3/4" bbl on his shotgun for the rest of their scofflaw lives.

You do realize, that the states' legal limits have been steadily ratched down in the past two decades from much higher limits (double the current legal limit, in some cases)?

Last, it is this sort of law that engenders contempt for the law.

rick newland
October 10, 2005, 02:02 PM
Beerslurper sorry but you don't know shineloa about how many beers cause .08. Sure if you weigh about 40 lbs you can be in danger of blowing .08 after one beer. If you weigh about 200 lbs it takes about eight beers to hit .08. It is all about body weight.

ALS
October 10, 2005, 02:28 PM
I had a conversation with a VP at MADD about 15 years ago and proposed a better and cheaper way to solve the problem. Funny she shot it down so fast I knew I must be on to something. In fact she made it a point to say if was against the law to ban the sale of alcohol to someone of age. *** is what I said to myself at the time also.
I said why don't we do it this way, First offence 30 day license suspension and rehab classes as they do now. Second offence we just ban the purchase of alcohol for 5 years by the offender. If found to have alcohol in his or her system they spend the rest of the 5 yr penalty in jail. Driving while intoxicated they finish the 5 yr plus another 5 yrs in jail and a life time ban of the purchase, possession, and use of Alcohol.
On their driver licence there is a red A with a circle with a slash through it.
So to purchase alcohol you would have to show your drivers licence to prove you were not a person banned from purchasing or possessing alcohol.
Any one found to knowingly acquiring alcohol for such banned person would see a minimum $10K fine. Notice I used the word knowingly which means if the said individual was at a back yard barbeque or a tailgate party and was drinking yet the host had no idea he or she was banned from the use of alcohol they could not be held responsible.

My reasoning is yes people make mistakes but why take it out on the family of the drunk. If the bread winner has his or her licence pulled for 5 yrs or longer how does he or she get to work in some cases? What if he or she drives for a living? That threat of a mandatory jail sentence would go a long way to solving the drinking problem.

How many gun owners out there especially those with CCW's go out of their way to make sure they follow the letter of the law to protect their right to own and carry a gun. I wonder how much the DUI's would drop if this form of a law was implemented? Don't flame me on this I was just putting a point out to MADD and they were totally against the idea. Gee I wonder why? Maybe we should bring it back up to MADD.

brickeyee
October 10, 2005, 04:00 PM
"In fact she made it a point to say if was against the law to ban the sale of alcohol to someone of age. "

Not in Virginia. There is a state law governing the interdiction of alcohol sales to known drunks. The state stores used to have a notebook with names and pictures.

svtruth
October 10, 2005, 04:34 PM
What would happen if you tested a bunch of 40 yr olds w 0.08% and a bunch of liscensed 80 yr olds? If the drunks averaged better than the geezers, you would have an argument for pulling the driving privileges of the oldies.
AARP vs MADD steel cage death match.















5

KriegHund
October 10, 2005, 04:35 PM
The Supreme Court gave its OK to the road blocks in 1992, despite conceding that they may violate the Fourth Amendment. Former Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote that the threat to public health posed by drunk drivers was reason enough to set aside concerns about searches without probable cause.

HEA

Hang em all.

Koobuh
October 10, 2005, 04:51 PM
:mad: I have little sympathy for the increase in pressure on drunk driving.

Most people here would loudly and angrily protest someone waving a gun in their direction at the range, even if the person was just plain ignorant of basic safety.

That is exactly what an intoxicated person is doing when they get behind the wheel of a motorized vehicle.

This is not a game, some 'innocent action' that no one is hurt by. Drunk driving kills and maims more people every year than firearms in the U.S. Most of the time it's a repeat offender, and I'm sick of hearing about it.

Now- as for legal alcohol limits, what you must understand is that not everyone has the same tolerance for alcohol. This isn't rocket science, as everyone knows a 'lightweight' or two, who can't hold their liquor. They may be completely wasted on .08, while Jimmy Joe Bob, beer aficianado, won't feel it until .20 rolls around.

Somehow it has become a badge of honor in certain parts of the country to barrel down roads drunk as a skunk. I can't say what I think of people that do that, on these forums. It's just too much. Like a pack of gangbangers at the range, sighting you down with their 'nahns 'n fohties' and laughing at you when you pack up and leave in a huff. It is absolutely inexcusable, execrable, and disgusting to try and justify drunk driving, at any time. There is always an alternative.
You should be ASHAMED to admit that you drive while intoxicated- you are putting everyone around you, everything you care about, at risk. :fire:

This isn't about freedom, it's about responsibility. :cuss:

Biker
October 10, 2005, 04:59 PM
Ya see, that's the problem, Koobuh-not everyone, or even most, are drunk or impaired at .08% but yet, someone's life can be semi-ruined because of this arbitrary ruling. I could possibly agree with a standard test (physical) to determine sobriety, but not this BAC BS. A lot of old folks, when completely sober, cannot safely drive according to the standards set today.. Why not attack them?
Biker

brickeyee
October 10, 2005, 05:04 PM
It is very important to watch the description used carefully.
To continue to create the appearance of a crisis 'alcohol related' has become the new mantra. It means that someone involved in the accident had detectable alcohol in them. It does not mean than anyone was drunk (0.08) just that 0.01 or more was present in someone.
Every newspaper seems to parrot the line without actually knowing what the criteria being used means.
The ‘per se’ laws have also resulted in some obvious miscarriages. In Northern Virginia a few years ago a car pulled out from behind a stop sign and was struck. Children in the car did not have seat belts on and were killed. The alcohol level of the driver made him guilty of manslaughter. The fact that the other driver pulled out from behind a stop sign and had unbelted children was not a defense. ‘Per se’ rules.
The pendulum has swung to far again, and MADD is trying to justify its continued existence by embarking on a new campaign against underage drinking.

Derek Zeanah
October 10, 2005, 05:08 PM
I guess my take is that I'm against dangerous drivers, and could care less about whether they're currently intoxicated. Take the motorcycling study given earlier: at the legal limit, the racer was a better rider than everyone else when they were sober. I'd rather share the road with that rider at .10 than the others at .00.

I see a bunch of 80 year-olds who shouldn't be on the road, period. Same with young kids (male and female) -- they're accidents waiting to happen.

I'd rather see a situation where dangerous drivers were pulled over, rather than roadblocks designed to snag otherwise-safe intoxicated drivers.

Biker
October 10, 2005, 05:16 PM
Well said, Derek.
Biker

cropcirclewalker
October 10, 2005, 05:36 PM
I have figgered it out.

Gun grabbers and MADD are almost identical. 'It's for the children'.

What still bedazzles me is how so many on this board buy into it.

These laws, both BAC and gun control, essentially say, "The citizen is too stupid to exercise good enough judgement to keep from harming the children so we must criminalize a non crime". Prior restraint is always wrong. It punishes the innocent for the lack of judgement of the guilty.

Land of the free.

Brad Johnson
October 10, 2005, 05:58 PM
Seems like I remember seeing some college study comparing the effects of .08-.10 BAC and cell phone use while driving, and the cell phone users were worse!

Couldn't find it with a quick internet search, so if anyone has a link...

Brad

Lone_Gunman
October 10, 2005, 06:06 PM
Gun grabbers and MADD are almost identical. 'It's for the children'.


I don't think so.

Gun grabbers are trying to take away a God-given, inalienable right to self defense that is protected by the US Constitution.

The MADD people may be over-zealous, but fundamentally, drunk driving is not a protected right.

Biker
October 10, 2005, 06:23 PM
The problem is, I believe, defining *drunk*. Does anyone feel that .08 should apply to carrying firearms in public?
Biker

cropcirclewalker
October 10, 2005, 06:32 PM
The MADD people may be over-zealous, but fundamentally, drunk driving is not a protected right. What you meant to say was 'enumerated' right. It is further NOT a .gov enumerated power to legislate against.

Mnemesyne
October 10, 2005, 06:57 PM
I can see the sense of penalties for drunk driving...why you might ask? Because I grew up with a severely alchoholic father who repeatedly wrecked his vehicles due to drunk driving....Did all the points on his license stop him? Nope...nor did the fines or totaled cars...Even when he almost lost his leg it didn't deter him....

Ohio has made DUI laws tougher since I was a kid...Dad's had his license suspended for drunk driving a couple of times already, and still the moron keeps doing it....He's been in and out of rehab...managed to stay sober a whole 4 years (mind you I'm now 30) and still to this day, he'll drink and drive...

Yeah...I wish they'd make tougher laws....for people just like dad....because I'll admit it...(and I pray nightly this never happens) if dad does take the life of another due to his drinking and driving....I'd have a hard time ever looking at that man again....

I love my dad don't get me wrong...But I wish the law could do something to keep chronic drunks like him off of the blasted streets already....before he does hurt someone besides himself.....

When I took my emt class, I learned that the drunk usually survives the wreck simply because their body goes limp at moment of impact.....This is a sad but true fact...

Strings
October 10, 2005, 07:36 PM
Heh. I've been stopped (legitimately) exactly ONCE for suspicion of DWI...

I had just left a bar, where I had finished a second drink (quicker than planned: they decided after I had it they wanted to close early). Felt fine, got behind the wheel... cop saw me SLIGHTLY over the centerline, pulled me over. I was honest about what I had been drinking, and we started the field sobriety test... and stopped with the "follow the light" section. Why? I know what they're looking for, and I was showing the signs of intoxication! Verified with the officer (he was shocked that I'd ask about it like that, and told him "I don't care WHAT you say, I am NOT getting behind the wheel of that car again tonight!". I was given a warning. All that said...

I think .08 is WAY too low. HAs there really been any improvement since it's been lowered?

Lone_Gunman
October 10, 2005, 07:52 PM
What you meant to say was 'enumerated' right. It is further NOT a .gov enumerated power to legislate against.

I think at the federal level you are correct, but DUI laws are state laws, and each state should have the power to establish its own legal limits.

The individual states certainly should have the power to establish whatever limits they want.

Heck, in Georgia, counties have the right to totally ban the sale of alcohol if they so choose.

cropcirclewalker
October 10, 2005, 08:26 PM
The individual states certainly should have the power to establish whatever limits they want. How long have you been in this country?

Why is it all the states have settled on .08?

I must be a simpleton too. I thought the fed.gov told them what to make it to keep some funding or other.

This is like trying to teach a pig to sing.

I'm done, good night.

12-34hom
October 10, 2005, 08:55 PM
It's about driving Impaired. While most impaired drivers will tell straight up that they can drive good or as good while impaired - it's pure B.S.

Standard field sobriety tests show this, reaction times lowered, perception of time and field of depth altered, visual acuity reduced, aggressive driving habits bolstered. This all happens at .08 bac, whether you are willing to admit it or not.

It's not about drunkenness it's about impairment. It's about taking responsibility for your actions while operating a motor vehicle.

Their are too many options one can take to avoid getting arrested for D.W.I., designated driver, call a cab, find a place to stay until sober, drink responsibly, etc...

Ignore these signs, keep driving impaired and you will either end up a statistic or a peace officer taking you to jail - if you're lucky. From what I've observed over the last 10 years working in law enforcement drunk drivers have a bad habit of killing some Innocent person who happened to be in the wrong place & time, instead of just killing them selfs.

.08 is a great law, the more impaired drivers i put in jail, the safer my roads will be for those who have the right to drive without being maimed or killed by drivers that are impaired.

12-34hom.

Lone_Gunman
October 10, 2005, 09:16 PM
This is like trying to teach a pig to sing.

Well, I didn't mean to make you resort to name-calling, as it really screws up a meaningful discussion. Oh well, it wasn't too meaningful anyway.

Biker
October 10, 2005, 09:25 PM
12-34hom
Does that hook, line and sinker interfere with your digestion? How can *you* say that .08 makes someone impaired anymore than *I* can say that talking on your radio or sulking over a fight with your wife makes you impaired? You can't. Not unless the Dept. bleach has already reached your frontal lobe. In all fairness, I figure you for an over zealous cop, out of touch with the real world. In truth, nothing personal intended. None taken, I hope.
Biker

spacemanspiff
October 10, 2005, 09:51 PM
i was arrested for DWI back in '97.

the best thing that ever happened to me. not at first, i didnt learn my lesson then. i still thought i was only endangering myself. but one of the things the court sentenced to me (aside from the fines, 3 days in jail, and various other things to complete) i had to attend a MADD seminar.

not only did they have the family members of those dead by drunk drivers on hand to speak, they also had people who were injured severely, and a few of the drivers themselves.

it was at that point that i realized just who i was endangering by driving after even a 'few' beers. i also came to grip with the fact that when i had a lot more than a few beers, i'd still get behind the wheel, even during complete blackouts (apparently a lot of people dont realize what 'blackout' is. a blackout is when you have no memory of what you are doing, not simply passing out).
to this day i cringe when i think of who i might have run over and not ever remember it. i remember running through red lights, jumping up over curbs onto sidewalks, all without a single care for my life or anyone elses.

this was back when AK had a .10 legal limit. i blew a .11, was sobering up fast. the officer who arrested me gave me the option of having a blood sample drawn, which would have superceded the breathalyzer, and in the time it would have taken to go to the hospital, i'd have been below the legal limit. i know that now, and i declined the suggestion. which was a good thing. if i got off easily, i'd have never gotten it through my head jsut what i was doing.

the officers who were on the scene were very nice, polite, and professional. they could see i was coming out of the blackout, and let me provide correct answers to questions like where i worked, where i lived, etc. apparently i gave them old or just wrong info.

i co-operated completely and they both thanked me for it. the officer went so far as to ask the magistrate we went before to release me on my own recognizance, clean record, and my co-operation meant i didnt have to spend any time right then in jail.


do i think the lowered .08 limit is bad? no.
do i think that MADD is out of line? no.

people who drive even after just a 'few beers' have no respect for life, their own, nor anyone elses.

simple as that.

Strings
October 10, 2005, 10:00 PM
I'm sorry, but I don't buy into it.

The officer I dealt with was VERY polite. Yes, he probably COULD have gotten me on DWI: I had JUST finished the drink, so my BAC was probably rising. Instead of being over-zealous, he gave me a warning (had to leave my car there: that was fine, *I* wasn't in any shape to drive). Unfortunately, too often, we get someone who is "Supercop" (had one there that night: could NOT get it through his head that I wasn't going anywhere, nor "resisting his authority"), who thinks they have to make an example of EVERYONE...

Spiff: you feel you needed that wake-up call. That's fine, some do. I've never needed one: I recognize the dangers. The ONLY reason I got behind the wheel that night was I felt fine at the time. The drink hadn't hit me yet, so I probably WAS fine, right at the start. So all fining me for having a BAC over .08 would've done is generate revenue for the state (and caused hardship on my part). Taking my liscense would've caused a disaster...

As for some of the "new" suggestions MADD has: they can bite me. They're pushing too far, and it'll eventually bite 'em someplace...

Biker
October 10, 2005, 10:03 PM
No Spaceman. In reference to your last few sentances, it's not as "simple as that". If I have a few beers (2, 3 or 4?) I have no respect for life? BS. How can you say that a "few beers" impairs me? You can't, and I resent the implication. You wanna get religion? Fine, but confine your limitations to yourself.
Biker

Derby FALs
October 10, 2005, 11:46 PM
Beerslurper sorry but you don't know shineloa about how many beers cause .08. Sure if you weigh about 40 lbs you can be in danger of blowing .08 after one beer. If you weigh about 200 lbs it takes about eight beers to hit .08. It is all about body weight.

About four beers in a hour according to the .gov (http://www.health.org/nongovpubs/bac-chart/)

Heh. I've been stopped (legitimately) exactly ONCE for suspicion of DWI...

I had just left a bar, where I had finished a second drink (quicker than planned: they decided after I had it they wanted to close early). Felt fine, got behind the wheel... cop saw me SLIGHTLY over the centerline, pulled me over. I was honest about what I had been drinking, and we started the field sobriety test... and stopped with the "follow the light" section. Why? I know what they're looking for, and I was showing the signs of intoxication! Verified with the officer (he was shocked that I'd ask about it like that, and told him "I don't care WHAT you say, I am NOT getting behind the wheel of that car again tonight!". I was given a warning. All that said...

I think .08 is WAY too low. HAs there really been any improvement since it's been lowered?

Field Sobriety Tests are designed to be failed. They are also voluntary.

Strings
October 10, 2005, 11:57 PM
>Field Sobriety Tests are designed to be failed. They are also voluntary.<

I was refering to the "follow the light" segment. Do you know what they're looking for? I do... jerky motion of the eyes. Happens (that I know of) both when inebreated or suffering low blood sugar. Since I knew my blood-sugar was fine, and could tell that my eyes were moving in a jerky fashion, I was therefor impaired to drive. Hadn't felt at all odd BEFORE I got into the vehicle, so the alchohol was just starting to hit me...

Derby FALs
October 11, 2005, 12:07 AM
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus or HGN is an involuntary jerking of the eye that is purportedly caused by alcohol causing a jerking (nystagmus) of the eye as it moves from side to side. This is an extremely technical test that a motorist has no control over, and the results are completely subjective, based entirely upon the officer’s observation. Most officers receive little training in this test, but it is one of the more common tests employed by police.

As far as I know, only three states let it have evidentiary admissibility with my state, Kentucky, having no regard for it at all.

beerslurpy
October 11, 2005, 12:17 AM
I have seen my share of Florida accidents. Florida has TONS of accidents. Ironically, few are due to alcohol. The simple fact is that many Florida residents cannot handle sober driving on a dry straight road with wide lanes. Either they are senile, stupid, agressive, etc- they cant drive!

Again, the bit about the drunk road racer being safer than the sober average joes strikes me as particularly relevant. I have done autocross, track days and had driving instruction. Many people are lacking even the basics. They become dangerous with alcohol because they are already dangerous sober and the alchol helps them forget this- they start exploring the limits of their abilities and they get in over their head fast. Drunk people revert to their level of training, just like sober people. The problem is that drunk people with no training think they are experts. White people think they can dance, ugly nerds can talk to hot women and people who cant drive are suddenly Michael Schumacher.

Some things I think are important but are neglected by 95 percent of the population, sober or not:
-you don't know how to drive until you have spun a car at least once and learned from the mistake. Knowing how to maintain control over the car with brake, accelerator and steering wheel is hugely important in avoiding accidents.
-Every driver should experiment with the limits of their car and instinctively know how it handles when traction runs out. The time to practice this is alone and on dry pavement, not when the neighbor kid runs in front of you or when you have a fifth of bourbon in your gut. Sometimes you will pass the test without studying, but why take a chance?
-Performing proper maintenance is huge. So many cars drive around with half flat tires and worn out brakes, then are amazed when they dont stop in time or flip over.

So basically know your car and take care of it. Alcohol isnt nearly the evil demon that stupidity and ignorance are.

Agent P
October 11, 2005, 01:11 AM
except for the speeding, which we all do, so it shouldn't be a crime.

Are you kidding me? Sure, if it was only 4 or 5 mph over the posted limit, that'd be no problem, but what about the f***er who's doing 50 down my street? That's twice the limit. I have young siblings who often are outside playing. This shouldn't be a crime?

As for decreasing the drivers who are dangerously drunk, how about a driving sim before leaving the bar? Might work, at least a little.

beerslurpy
October 11, 2005, 01:22 AM
Obviously driving at high speeds through crowded residential neighborhoods is bad, but what about doing double the speed limit on a mountain road or an interstate in the middle of nowhere? Also, Pamela, please consider that my race car (when I drive it on the street) can stop many times faster than a normal street car. I could safely drive 3-4 times faster than when I am in the daily driver. One size fits all speed limits have nothing to do with safety.

If the speed limit is 35 on a windy mountain road and I do 70+, who is harmed?
If the speed limit is 70 on an empty highway and I do 140, who is harmed?

The cops around here lie in wait in the places which are safest to speed because they want money, not because they are trying to discourage bad behavior. They actually encourage ticketable behavior by making ultra high quality roads with insanely low speed limits. You could safely go 200mph on many of the florida highways, many of which are marked 45-55 mph with speed traps galore. This isnt accidental.

Back in CA, when I was exploring the mountain roads, I encountered some incredibly high quality roads and some insanely bad roads with identical speed limits. On the bad ones I would barely go the speed limit because I didnt feel it was safe- on the good ones I would go 2-3x the speed limit because it was safe.

Scottmkiv
October 11, 2005, 01:33 AM
Anyone who has ever driven through west texas will agree that some speed limits just don't make sense. There are plenty of places where doing 100 in a Semi would not only be safe, but boring, to say nothing of something like a corvette.

That isn't to say that residential speed limits should be eliminated, but I sure think interstate highway limits should be raised by 50% or more, if not eliminated outright.

Agent P
October 11, 2005, 01:42 AM
If the speed limit is 35 and I do 70+ because I have race tires, who is harmed?

If the speed limit is 70 on an empty highway and I do 140, who is harmed?

If it's an empty highway, probably no one will be harmed, but you can't be absolutely certain, especially if you're zipping along at over 100 mph. I suppose I'm overly cautious compared to other people, but I tend to think "what if", i.e., what if there's someone walking along the road, and I don't see him until he's plastered on my windshield because I'm going so fast. And just to clarify, I strive to keep my "what ifs" within the realm of possibility.

I sure think interstate highway limits should be raised by 50% or more, if not eliminated outright.

With the way people tailgate (at least where I live), it'd be better to decrease the limit rather than raise it. The last thing those idiots need is to be allowed to go faster. However, there will always be those who drive really fast, regardless of the speed limit or absence of.

Amusetec
October 11, 2005, 01:53 AM
Obviously driving at high speeds through crowded residential neighborhoods is bad, but what about doing double the speed limit on a mountain road or an interstate in the middle of nowhere? Also, Pamela, please consider that my race car (when I drive it on the street) can stop many times faster than a normal street car. I could safely drive 3-4 times faster than when I am in the daily driver . One size fits all speed limits have nothing to do with safety.
beerslurpy-
I agree with you on open highways but in local traffic you have one big very uncotrolable problem all the other crappy drivers, Most 18 wheeler crashes there is a 4 wheeler at fault.
going 90 down a street then some idiot pulls out of a parking lot when you are 20 feet away can you stop ;) and what about the yahoo that decides running a red light is only illeagle if you get caught. :rolleyes:
I fully belive the speed limit on open highways should be what you can safly drive
Texas is too big for 65.

Agent P
October 11, 2005, 02:21 AM
I fully belive the speed limit on open highways should be what you can safly drive

There's a lot of people out there with poor judgement, though, who will think they're driving safely when they're not. Already, it happens every day. I mean, if everyone were truly driving safely, wouldn't there be less accidents?

my race car...can stop many times faster than a normal street car

If only all cars were so equipped!

Also, in defense of reasonable highway speeds, what about fuel consumption? I read somewhere, probably Reader's Digest, that fuel economy peaks at 60 mph and decreases by 10% for every 5 mph over 60. With gas prices on the rise, that right there is a good reason to slow down.

Jeff White
October 11, 2005, 04:31 AM
You can always count on the membership here to look at every tool law enforcement uses as just another way the man keeps the brothers down :rolleyes:

Derby FALS said;
Field Sobriety Tests are designed to be failed. They are also voluntary.

Field sobriety tests are not designed to be failed. In fact they are designed to be as accurate an indicator of impairment as possible. Back in the good old days of the 50s and 60s ( I know many of you long for those days, when the police could beat up suspects and generally trample the constitution with impunity, it wasn't really Andy and Barney in those days) there were many different field sobriety tests used in different parts of the country. In late 1975 the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) sponsored extensive studies to come up with standardized field sobriety tests that were more accurate then the hodgepodge of FSTs that were in use nationwide. Six tests were used in the initial studies. The studies found that 3 of the tests, when adminsitered in a standardized manor were very accurate in determining blood alcohol content above 0.10, these tests were:

The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmous (HGN)

Walk and Turn (WAT)

One Leg Stand (OLS)

When NHTSA analyzed the data from these studies they found that:

HGN by itself was 77% accurate

WAT by itself was 68% accurate

OLS by itself was 65% accurate

By combining HGN and WAT an 80% accuracy can be achieved.

There were three validation sudies conducted between 1995 and 1998:
Colorado - 1995
Florida - 1997
San Diego - 1998

The Colorado study was a full field study that used experienced officers administering SFSTs. Correct arrest decisions were made 93% of the time using the 3 test battery, which was significantly higher then the initial studies back in the 70s indicated.

The Florida field validation study had a 95% correct arrest decision rate using the three battery SFSTs.

The San Diego study was was done to check the validity of the three test battery given the (then) nationwide trend towards the lower legal BAC limit of 0.08. Correct arrest decision were made 91% of the time. So no, they weren't designed to be failed. If they were, my friend El Tejon and others in his profession would have had them ruled inadmissible by now.

Derby FALS also said;

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus or HGN is an involuntary jerking of the eye that is purportedly caused by alcohol causing a jerking (nystagmus) of the eye as it moves from side to side. This is an extremely technical test that a motorist has no control over, and the results are completely subjective, based entirely upon the officer’s observation. Most officers receive little training in this test, but it is one of the more common tests employed by police.

Well you got one part of this right. HGN is an involuntary jerking of the eye. It is caused by alcohol and other things. There is vestibular nystagmous which is caused by movement or action to the vestibular system. there are four types of vestibular nystagmous:

Rotational: Rotational nystagmous occurs when the person is spun around or rotated rapidly, causing the fluid in the inner ear to be disturbed. If it were possible to observe the eyes of a rotating person, they would be seen to jerk noticeably.

Post Rotational Nystagmous is closely related to rotational nystagmous: when the person stops spinning, the fluid in the inner ear remains disturbed for a period of time and the eyes continue to jerk.

Caloric Nystagmous occurs when fluid motion in the canals of the vestibular system is stimulated by temperature as by putting warm water in one ear and cold water in the other.

Positional Alcohol Nystagmous occurs when a foriegn fluid, such as alcohol, that alters the specific gravity of the blood is in unequal concentrations in the blood and in the vestibular system.

Nystagmous can also result directly from neural activity. Optokinetic nystagmous occurs when the eyes fixate on an object that suddenly moves out of sight, or when the eyes watch sharply contrasting moving images.

Examples of optokinetic nystagmous include watching strobe lights, rotating lights or rapidly moving traffic in close proximity. The HGN test is not influenced by optikinetic nystagmous when administered properly. That means you don't have them facing your lit up squad car or the traffic.

Physiological Nystagmous is a natural nystagmous that keeps the sensory cells of the eye from tiring. It is the most common type of nystagmous. It happens to all of us, all the time, but it produces extreme,y minor jerks of the eys and it's generally not visible to the naked eye.

Gaze nytagmous occurs as the eyes move from the center position. Gaze nystagmous is separted into three types:

Horizontal gaze nystagmous occurs as the eyes move to the side. This is the one you look for in SFSTs. Although it's the most accurate in determinaing alcohol impairment, it's presense may indicate the use of other drugs.

Vertical gaze nystagmous occurs as the eyes gaze upwards. The presence of VGN is an indicator of high doses of alcohol and certain other drugs. There is no drug that causes VGN that also doesn't cause HGN so if only VGN is present the subject may have a medical condition.

Resting nystagmous is jerking of the eyes as they look straight ahead. Resting nystagmous is usually indication of a medcal condition or high doses of drugs such as PCP.

This is not new science. Look up Positional Nystagmous in Man During and After Alcohol Intoxication Aschan, Bergstedt, Goldberg and Laurell 1956

As for most officers receiving little training in SFSTs, the certification course is 24 hours and includes both videotaped subjects and a live drink, where volunteers get drunk on the departments dime and perform SFSTs at various levels of intoxication.

As far as I know, only three states let it have evidentiary admissibility with my state, Kentucky, having no regard for it at all.

Well lets see here: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas,
Kentucky yes my friend, look up Commonwealth v. Rhodes, 949 S.W. 2d 621, 623 (KY Ct. App. 1996) HGN test admitted due to defendants falure to object. Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming all allow HGN to be part of probable cause for intoxication or evidence of intoxication.

Pennsylvania ruled in three cases: Commonwealth v. Moore, Commonwealth v. Apollo and Commonwealth v. Miller that the state laid an inadequate foundation for the admissablilty of HGN under the Frye/Tropa standard.

SFSTs are only part of the arrest decision. Observing the subjects driving, personal contact with the subject and performance on the SFSTs go into the decison to arrest. If you can't articulate all of these steps, you stand the risk of having your arrest thrown out and the case dismissed. It's not as simple as dragging motorists from their cars and making them take a breathalyzer test as some of you seem to think. Don't document and articulate one step in the process and watch all your work be thrown out when the suspects attorney is granted a motion to suppress based on you not having sufficient probably cause to stop the vehicle, get the suspect out of the vehicle and have them perform SFSTs. On the other hand, cases have been made and convictions obtained without breathalyzer evidence.

DUI/DWI is a serious crime. Yes we've made great strides in the last 20 years. Yes, I believe MADD has become the new home of the temperance movement. No, I don't believe we need BAC standards any lower then they are. As long as there is alcohol and automobiles there will be drunk drivers. MADD needs to recognize that and be happy with the good work they have done. But we don't need to trivialize the problem because the fanatcis are going off the deep end. That is the big problem with advocacy groups, they don't ever recognize just what is acheiveable so they don't know when to stop.

Jeff

Lupinus
October 11, 2005, 05:05 AM
I live in florida and while most of the driver's suck, the road's are beutiful. I can drive down I-4 doing 90 with not a problem in the world. The only thing that cause me to go "Chit!" is when someone is in the fast lane doing 5 mph under the speed limit. Most tailgating is caused by people that will not move out of the way and hold up traffic, not by people perfectly capable of going faster. Ther German Autoban (or hoever it's spelled) has much less fatalities then the American highway system. And that is a road you can legaly do however fast you like on wide open road, in area's where it gets congested there is a speed limit. That is how it should be in the US.

If the speed limit is 65 and all you are doing is 65 or less, you do not belong in the left hand lane. The left hand lane is the passing lane. Unless I am going faster then condition's permit and have to put my foot on the brake because you are in that lane, you do not belong there. Last time I got pulled over was christmas eve. It was a clear night with good weather, road's were dry and not wet or icy in the slightist. I got pulled over for doing 80. Would I be doing 80 and weaving in and out of traffic? No, of course not. I know my limit's and when not to go fast. And where was the cop? A good 2 mile's to 2 and a half miles into well maintained lonly road with a steady downhill grade (pa up in the mountian's). Another favorite place for police in that area? The bottom of a very long somewhat steep hill. If you dont ride your brake's down most of it you will be a good 10-15 mph over the speed limit in more then a few vehicle's.

On the drunk driving. I know people I would trust more at twice the legal limit then I would with no drink in them. Different people drive different ways and have different levels. IMO if you are intoxicated should be concluded with solid tests of your judgment and reflex's and ablities rather then just your alcohol level. Hell I know people that would have a hard time standing on one leg or touching their nose sober let alone drunk, and people drunk that could do the same just as easy as when sober.

Drunk driving is not a joke. If oyu are impared you belong no where behind the wheel. But making it lower and lower to make it easier to arrest people for having a few drinks out before heading home is getting idiotic.

feedthehogs
October 11, 2005, 06:13 AM
to go after these new "drunk" drivers who don't pose much of a threat to highway safety

Much of a threat. How many people have to be killed or maimed to be considered a real threat?

Someone wants to drink, fine have a designated driver or stay home.

Don't get on the road where you put my family at risk. You don't have that right. Period.

For those drunks who feel they can polish off a whole case and still function, well good for you. I bet that's your best feature on a job resume.

But there are plenty of people who are impaired after only one drink.

jashobeam
October 11, 2005, 06:56 AM
Observing the subjects driving, personal contact with the subject and performance on the SFSTs go into the decison to arrest. If you can't articulate all of these steps, you stand the risk of having your arrest thrown out and the case dismissed. It's not as simple as dragging motorists from their cars and making them take a breathalyzer test as some of you seem to think.
No offense, but in my particular case I assert that I made no driving errors, with the exception of deciding to drive after drinking (Just so that my entire account is not dismissed, I must defend this statement by explaining that I was constantly checking my speed--I knew I did not want to get pulled over and was driving cautiously). Whether I actually did or did not roll-through a stop sign and speed becomes irrelevant if the arresting officer is willing to fabricate those details in order to satisfy an important criterion for a DUI arrest and to justify the stop in the first place. My point, which I believe deserves some consideration, is that IF there was no real reason to pull me over in the first place then there would NOT have been any personal contact between officer and subject (me) NOR would there have been any FST's. THEN, I would not have taken a breathalyzer and been arrested.

I do not doubt the validity of your statistics regarding the accepted FST's, but the tests are not as straightforward as pass and fail. Even regarding their most basic requirements (like walking and turning), the successful completion of any given test is determined by the subjective observations of the officer. Beyond that, if someone placed his feet perfectly and completed the "walk and turn" without ever faltering or stumbling or failing even once to place his heel at the toe of his other foot, the officer may still believe him intoxicated based on other indicators of uncoordination or lack of balance. The whole test is subjective. If you passed each test perfectly (by perfectly, I mean the motorskills component as instructed) but failed to convince the officer that you were sober enough to drive, you would still be forced to submit to a chemical test. Of course, in the officer's notes he would describe your lack of coordination or maybe even your inability to follow instructions (like if you took 10 steps instead of 9). The officer may be absolutely right in his suspicions of your intoxication, but that is not the point. The point is that once you are pulled over (for whatever reason/excuse) and are suspected of being under the influence, you WILL, if you fail to convince the officer otherwise, be blowing on that breathalyzer tube. Chances are, if you are sober you will have no problem proving to the officer that you are not DUI. But if you are intoxicated, then you may as well just be dragged from your car and forced to submit to a breathalizer, because all the steps in between are but formalities. I do not intend for any of what I have said here to imply that I deny being guilty as charged; nor am I able to propose any better system than the one existing.

In conclusion, what I'm trying to say is that impairment is secondary to BAC. If the officer believes that your BAC will exceed .08, then his observations will be biased toward perceiving impairment. I would be curious to know how many drivers with BAC below .08 "fail" FST's and are ultimately required to be breathalyzed.

Janitor
October 11, 2005, 07:45 AM
despite conceding that they may violate the Fourth Amendment. Former Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote that the threat to public health posed by drunk drivers was reason enough to set aside concerns about searches without probable cause.

It could read in the future:

the threat to public health posed by Firearms was reason enough to set aside concerns about searches without probable cause.
Really not even close.

They said "drunk drivers" & you said "Firearms".

Either change theirs to "booze" or yours to "drunk pistol packers" or something like that. They talk about people - your statement is about an inanimate object. It's actually a long reach from one to the other. Not that a long reach would bother a liberal anti in the mood to speak out against their favorite demon, it is still something different.

Reno
October 11, 2005, 08:37 AM
With the way people tailgate (at least where I live), it'd be better to decrease the limit rather than raise it. The last thing those idiots need is to be allowed to go faster. However, there will always be those who drive really fast, regardless of the speed limit or absence of.Lowering the limit from 65 to 60 will help you catch the people going 100 no more than the AWB kept "weapons of war" out of the hands of criminals and terrorists.

Also, in defense of reasonable highway speeds, what about fuel consumption? I read somewhere, probably Reader's Digest, that fuel economy peaks at 60 mph and decreases by 10% for every 5 mph over 60. With gas prices on the rise, that right there is a good reason to slow down.
I got 33mpg in a car rated for 28 highway going 75-80 for the majority of a tank. There are far too many factors for your average magazine editor to understand that will affect your milage.

Agent P
October 11, 2005, 09:21 AM
Lupinus wrote:
Most tailgating is caused by people that will not move out of the way and hold up traffic, not by people perfectly capable of going faster.

I beg to differ. At least where I live, tailgating is very commonplace, and not just in the passing lane on the highways. People don't realize, or don't care, that if you don't leave sufficient stopping distance, you WILL ram into the car ahead of you if it suddenly stops. I was taught to leave one car length for every 10 mph in order to stop safely. In other words, going 60 mph means you oughta be pretty far back.

Lupinus also wrote:
Unless I am going faster then condition's permit and have to put my foot on the brake because you are in that lane, you do not belong there.

The leftmost lane is not "drive however fast you like--it's the passing lane!" The speed limit applies there as well. If only common sense were applied, too. Just because I'm passing someone slower than what YOU would like does not give you the right to endanger my life by riding on my bumper, and flashing your brights at me or honking. It is you who is not driving safely; I am, and will not be forced into breaking the law.

Besides, if I get pulled over, you think the trooper is going to buy "I wanted to drive slower but they made me drive fast!" I don't think so.

Byron Quick
October 11, 2005, 10:25 AM
Back before the drinking age was jacked up to 21 again, I was stopped for DUI one night. Passed the breathalyzer test at .09. I was drunk as a skunk at .09. I weighed about 250 lbs at the time.

I kept drinking and driving for about another year. Wound up with a large pine tree sitting in the passenger seat with me one night after it jumped out in front of my car. Extrapolated that pine tree into several possible scenarios: pine tree sitting in the driver's seat with me, pine tree being someone else's car with all their kids, etc. Stopped drinking and driving. Pretty simple actually. I drink at home or at friends' homes. At friends' homes, I either stay long enough for the effects to dissipate or I make arrangements to spend the night BEFORE I drink any alcohol. I don't do bars unless I have a designated driver.

The stopping drinking for a year and never going back is both simplistic and false. Go to an AA meeting. Listen to the recovering alcoholics talk. After a while you'll hear recovering alcoholics relate relapsing after years of sobriety. Many of them.

This is a difficult issue. Many of the tactics being used or proposed are dangerous to liberty. But drinking and driving is a danger to the right to life of everyone on the highway.

Lupinus
October 11, 2005, 11:55 AM
At least where I live, tailgating is very commonplace, and not just in the passing lane on the highways. People don't realize, or don't care, that if you don't leave sufficient stopping distance, you WILL ram into the car ahead of you if it suddenly stops.
And if he wasn't doing 65 in the passing lane when the speed limit is 65, I wouldn't be coming up on his back end. You do not belong in the passing lane if you are not going fast enough to pass someone at anything more then a crawl. And I have been doing 80 behind someone who was doing a similer speed. I was roughly a few car lengths (but far short of that car length for every ten mile's) behind and he hit a deer. I don't know, I managed to brake just fine without rear ending him. It is called pay attention. If you are doing sixty and I am coming up on you at 80, you should be paying attention as well to whats happening behind you and move out of the left lane. I am not going to run up to six inchs from your bumper. But I am not going to stay back ten car lengths and do sixty because you want to cruise at the speed limit in the passing lane.

The leftmost lane is not "drive however fast you like--it's the passing lane!"
Exactly, so pass and get out of it uless you are going to go fast enough to pass most car's on the road. You know in Germany on the Autoban doing that is illegal?

Just because I'm passing someone slower than what YOU would like does not give you the right to endanger my life by riding on my bumper, and flashing your brights at me or honking
And if that is all you are doing I will do nothing of the sort. But if you are just riding your life away in the left hand lane and not moving over after you have passed, I will. Move over, let faster traffic pass, and then if you feel so inclined get back over.

"I wanted to drive slower but they made me drive fast!" I don't think so.
Im 19 in a camaro, trust me, I will get pulled over long before you do even if you are going faster.

goosegunner
October 11, 2005, 11:59 AM
Why is the number 0.08 a problem? The only problem I can see is someone beeing punished for something that could (easily) have gone bad, but did not. The number is irrelevant; either you accept that the autorities have this power or you do not. It is as simple as whose right is more important: My right to not be wacked down by a drunk driver, or your right to not be subject to random testing for (exessive) alcohol. If you are so drunk that it shows on your driving, it really doesn't matter as you will/should be stopped if the police sees you anyway.

It is (in Norway at least) illegal to drive while incapasitated by anything be it lack of sleep, alcohol, medications, drugs or anything else. The only special thing about alcohol is that it is easily tested. And since driving is a privilege (spelling??) you accept the limitations our you don't drive. We have random testing at random spots along the road, the limit is 0.02, if cought you will lose your driving lisence (for a limited time or for life), you will pay a lot of money and probably go to jail (above 0.05 usually go to jail). If this works is impossible to know as no official statistics is avilable. But subjectively it looks as drunk driving is relatively rare and decreasing, but driving under influence of other drugs is rising in popularity.

spacemanspiff
October 11, 2005, 12:04 PM
If I have a few beers (2, 3 or 4?) I have no respect for life?
did i not make myself clear? even a few beers can impair judgement. if you get behind the wheel with your judgement and reflexes impaired, you are putting yourself and everyone on the road you travel at risk.

you might think this is me sitting on my high horse here, but it isnt. if you dont want to agree with me, fine. but when you do get pulled over after drinking just a 'few beers' (ever notice how everyone who is pulled over always says they had 'just two beers') i suppose you can hide behind the defense of 'its not MY fault, my judgement was impaired!'

Biker
October 11, 2005, 12:12 PM
You're saying that "even a few beers can impair judgement". I'm saying that with many people a few beers won't. A simple statement of fact as is yours.
I guarantee you a few brews do not impair my judgement. If I choose to ride or drive after four beers, you are in no more danger than if I had drank none. I weigh about 190 and my cop buddies tell me that is the legal limit for a guy my size. What's the problem?
Biker

cropcirclewalker
October 11, 2005, 12:19 PM
Mr. Spacemanspiff says if you get behind the wheel with your judgement and reflexes impaired, you are putting yourself and everyone on the road you travel at risk. Made me think of Ms. Agent P.

Yes, I have been in a parade of cars behind someone like her, passing a string of semis on the interstate, clicking along 1 or 2 miles per hour faster than the semis.

Yes, her judgement is impaired. Is she not aware that running alongside those big wheels for so long a time is dangerous? Are her reflexes so slow that she cannot look up from the road long enough to see in her mirror the parade of cars patiently tailgating along behind her? Is she in a blind spot?

A bee flies into the window of the semi she is passing or a dog runs out into the interstate, or the semi flips an alligator out into her lane or God knows what and she has just created one of those multi-car pileups that we see on TV.

But at least she can sit up on the clouds with her golden harp and tell the angels that she was not forced into breaking the law.

One does not have to be drinking to have impaired judgement. :scrutiny:

goosegunner
October 11, 2005, 12:28 PM
Your judgemet is probably just fine, maby even better than normal because you know you have been drinking and pay extra attention. But your reaction time (from you see the child running into the road to you step on the brakes) is most likely more than double of what it is with out alcohol. (Not a statistically proved number, but what was written in my driving licence manual).

spacemanspiff
October 11, 2005, 12:40 PM
fine. you've convinced me. you CAN make good decisions while drunk.
welcome to my ignore list.

Biker
October 11, 2005, 12:45 PM
I'm honored. Ya know, you're really tense...downright uptight. You should pop a cold one and relax. :cool:
Biker

slzy
October 11, 2005, 02:12 PM
you may be impaired if you think about drinking alcohol,much less actually guzzle it.why is it all the kum ba ya types always have wine and cheesw at there get togethers?spend your money on ammo and your time on practice. i don't mind watching your back if you are asleep,there is too much to do to mind drunks.

Biker
October 11, 2005, 02:18 PM
We don't have wine and cheese, we have beer, Beam and deer sausage (we shoot our own deer and elk, btw) and we neither hold hands or sing, and I can honestly say that I've never became impaired while just thinking about booze. I don't quite get the meaning of your post.
Biker

Agent P
October 11, 2005, 02:20 PM
Yes, her judgement is impaired. Is she not aware that running alongside those big wheels for so long a time is dangerous?

Oh, I am quite aware of how dangerous semis are, having been almost run off the road by one. Even before that happened I knew of their danger. Make no mistake, I do not linger by those trucks.

My judgement is impaired? As opposed to all those people who drive one atop the other at 70 mph? O-kay.

I guess I didn't give a clear enough example: if I'm cruise controlling at 65 and come up behind someone slow, I will pass them by going into the left lane. Sometimes it's the leftmost lane. I do not pass people "at a crawl". But I am not accelerating to 80 if 65 is gettin' the job done. And yes, I get out of the lane after I've overtaken the passee by a safe amount.

"19 in a Camaro"? 'Nuff said.

carebear
October 11, 2005, 03:00 PM
Impairment is impairment. If we truly want to be intellectually honest about "road safety" we'll only pull over those who actually commit driving infractions.

If you cross the line several times, you should get pulled over, you are, for WHATEVER reason, driving in an unsafe manner. I don't care why.

However, picking an arbitrary number that cannot be shown to directly relate to any particular individual's physiological ability IS prior restraint and IS a direct impingement on persoanl liberty.

I might be a danger to my coworker's safety right now, where do we draw the line?

I would hope it would be when I actually made an action that would be threatening, not just be based on what I may or may not have ingested, read, thought of or experienced earlier in the day.

spacemanspiff
October 11, 2005, 03:10 PM
I might be a danger to my coworker's safety right now
i thought that only applied when your co-workers happened to be british? :evil:

spacemanwe'lldiscusswhatyousaidoverthephoneanothertime :neener: spiff

Gewehr98
October 11, 2005, 03:18 PM
I'm looking through the Constitution, trying to find the "Right to own and operate motor vehicles shall not be infringed".

I'm coming up at a dead loss. It isn't in there, unlike the 2nd Amendment.

Driving is a privilege, not a God-given or Constitutionally-guaranteed right.

It's regulated, by county, state, local, and federal government.

We Americans have become so enamored of the automotive process over the last 100 years, that we've gotten to the point of being totally oblivious to the difference between a privilege and a right.

My right to not get killed by a drunk driver pretty much eclipses a drunk driver's privilege to make that attempt.

Jeff White
October 11, 2005, 03:57 PM
jashobeam said;
No offense, but in my particular case I assert that I made no driving errors, with the exception of deciding to drive after drinking (Just so that my entire account is not dismissed, I must defend this statement by explaining that I was constantly checking my speed--I knew I did not want to get pulled over and was driving cautiously). Whether I actually did or did not roll-through a stop sign and speed becomes irrelevant if the arresting officer is willing to fabricate those details in order to satisfy an important criterion for a DUI arrest and to justify the stop in the first place.

So you are saying that the officer fabricated probable cause for the stop? That's a pretty serious charge. Did your lawyer file a motion to have the charge dismissed based on there being no probable cause for the stop? If not, why not? Around here defense lawyers try to get people off on DUI by getting the court to say that there was no probable cause to make the stop in the first place all of the time. If you want to win your case, you'd better have good PC to start with. Dash cam tape has given us another tool that's hard to beat in court.

You probably exhibited more then one of the 24 Initial Visual DUI Detection Cues. Again, no one picked these cues out of thin air. The 24 cues were taken from a list of more then 100 driving cues that have been determined to be indicators of BAC of 0.08 or greater. This list of 24 cues was developed from three field studies involving more then 12,000 vehicle stops.

1. Weaving - Weaving occurs when the vehicle alternately moves toward one side of the roadway or the other, creating a zig-zag course. The pattern of lateral movement is relatively regular as one sterring correction is closely followed by another.

2. Weaving Across Lane Lines - Extreme cases of weaving when the vehicle wheels cross the lane lines before correction is made.

3. Straddling a Lane Line - The vehicle is moving straight ahead with the center or lane marker between the left-hand and right hand wheels.

4. Swerving - A swerve is an abrupt turn away from a generally straight course. Swerving might occur directly after a period of drifting when the driver discovers the approach of traffic in an oncoming lane or discovers that the vehicle is going off the road; swerving might also occur as an abrupt turn is executed to return the vehicle to the traffic lane.

5. Turning With Wide Radius - During a turn, the radius defined by the distance between the turning vehicle and the center of the turn is greater then normal. The vehicle may drive wide in a curve.

6. Drifting - Drifting is a straight-line movement of the vehicle at a slight angle to the roadway. As the driver approaches a marker or boundry (lane marker, center line, edge of the roadway), the direction of drift across the lane marker into another lane, then the driver makes a correction and the vehicle drifts back across the lane marker. Drifting might be observed within a single lane, across lanes, across the center line, onto the shoulder and from lane to lane.

7. Almost Striking Object or Vehicle - The observed vehicle almost strikes a stationary object or another moving vehicle. Examples include passing abnormally close to a sign, wall, building, or other object; passing abnormally close to another moving vehiclecausing another vehicle to maneuver to avoid a collision.

8. Stopping Problems (too far, too short, too jerky) - Stopping too far from a curb or at an inappropriate angle. Stopping too short or beyond the limit line at an intersection. Stopping with a jerking motion or abruptly.

9. Accelerating or Decelerating Rapidly - This gue encompasses any acceleration or deceleration that is significantly more rapid then that required by the traffic conditions. Rapid acceleration might be accompanied by breaking traction; rapid deceleration might be acompanied by an abrupt stop. Also a vehicle might alternately accelerate and decelerate rapidly.

10. Varying Speed - Alternating between speeding up and slowing down.

11. Slow Speed (10 m.p.h. + Under Limit) - The observed vehicle is being driven at a speed that is more then 10 MPH below the speed limit.

12. Driving in Opposing Lanes or Wrong Way on a One-Way Street - The vehicle is observed heading into opposing or crossing traffic under one or more of the following circumstances; driving in the opposing lane; backing into traffic; failing to yield right of way; driving the wrong way on a one way street.

13. Slow Response to Traffic Signals - The observed vehicle exhibits a longer then normal response to a change in a traffic signal. For example the driver remains stopped at an intersection for an abnormally long period of time after the traffic signal has gone green.

14. Slow or Failure to Respond to Officer's Signals - is unusually slow to respond to an officer's lights, siren or hand signals.

15. Stopping in Lane for No Apparent Reason - The critical element in this cue is that there is no observable justification for the vehicle to stop in the traffic lane; the stop is not caused by traffic conditions, traffic signals, an emergency situation, or related circumstances. Impaired drivers might stop in the lane when their capability to interpret information and make decisions becomes impaired. As a consequence, stopping in lane for no apparent reason is likely to occur at intersection or other decision points.

16. Driving Without Headlights at Night - The pbserved vehicle is being driven with headlights off during a period of the day when the use of headlights is required.

17. Failure to Signal or Signal Inconsistant with Action - A number of possibilites exist for the driver's signalling to be inconsistant with the associated driving actions. This cue occurs when inconsitancies such as the following are observed: Failing to signal a turn or lane change; signaling opposite to the turn or lane change executed; signalling constantly with no accompanyning driving action; and driving with four-way hazard flashers on.

18. Following Too Closely - The vehicle is observed following another vehicle while not maintaining minimum legal separation.

19. Improper or Unsafe Lane Change - Driver taking risks or endangering others. Driver is frequently or abruptly changing lanes without regards to other motorists.

20. Illegal or Improper Turn (too fast, jerky, sharp, etc.) - The driver executes any turn that is abnormally abrupt or illegal. Specific examples include: turning with excessive speed; turning sharply from the wrong lane; making a U turn illegally; turning from outside a designated turn lane.

21. Driving on Other than Designated Roadway - The vehicle is observed eing driven on other then the roadway designated for traffic movement. Examples include driving; at the edge of the roadway, on the shoulder, off the roadway entirely, and straight through turn-only lanes.

22. Stopping Inappropriately in Response to Officer - The observed vehicle stops at an inappropriate location or under inappropriate conditions, other then in the traffic lane. Examples include stopping in a prohibited zone; at a crosswalk; far short of an intersection; on a walkway; across lanes; for a green traffic signal; for a flashing yellow traffic signal; abruptly as if startled; or in an illegal, dangerous manner.

23. Inappropriate or Unusual Behavior (throwing objects, arguing, etc.) - Throwing objects from the vehicle, drinking in the vehicle, urinating at roadside, arguing without cause, other disorderly actions.

24. Appearing to Be Impaired - This cue is actually one or more of a set of indicators relating to the personal behavior or appearance of the driver. Examples of specific indicators might include:

o Eye fixation

o Tightly gripping the steering wheel

o Slouching in the seat

o Gesturing erratically or obscenely

o Face close to the windshield

o Driver's head protruding from the vehicle.

It's very possible that while you were concentrating so hard on your speed that you were unconsiously vaying your speed (cue #10) in an attempt to keep it steady.

I do not doubt the validity of your statistics regarding the accepted FST's, but the tests are not as straightforward as pass and fail. Even regarding their most basic requirements (like walking and turning), the successful completion of any given test is determined by the subjective observations of the officer.

How are they not straightforward pass/fail? Like every other step in the process there are cues that are recorded and they determine if the subject passes or fails. There are 8 cues on the Walk and Turn test. The subject must exhibit two or more of them to fail the test.

The eight cues are:
1. Cannot keep Balance while Listening to the Instructions. Two tasks are required at te beginning of this test. The subject must balance heel-to-toe on the line, and at the same time, listen carefully to the instructions. Typically the person who is impaired can do only one of these these things. The subject may listen to the instructions, but not keep balance. Record this clue if the subject does not maintain heel-to-toe position throughout the instructions. (Feet must actually break apart.) Do not record this cue if the subject sways or uses the arms to balance but maintains heel-to-toe position.

2. Starts Before the Instructions are Finished The impaired person may also keep balance, but not listen to the instructions. Since you specifically instructed the subject not to start walking "until I tell you to begin," record this cue if the subject does not wait.

3. Stops While Walking The subject pauses for several seconds. Do not record this clue if the suspect is merely walking slowly.

4. Does Not Touch Heel-to-Toe The subject leaves a space of more then one-half inch between the heel and toe on any step.

5. Steps Off the Line The subject steps so that one foot is entirely off the line.

6. Uses Arms to Balance The subject raises one or both arms more then 6 inches from the sides in order to maintain balance.

7. Improper Turn The subject removes the front foot from the line while turning. Also record this cue if the subject has not followed directions as demonstrated i.e. spins or pivots around.

8. Incorrect Number of Steps Record this cue if the subject takes more or fewer then nine steps in wither direction.

The officer recorded the test in his/her notes and all missed cues were documented. In many places SFSTs are videotaped. The defense has access to all of this evidence and is given ample opportunity to impeach it in court. A DUI case is prepared just like the serious criminal case that it is.

In conclusion, what I'm trying to say is that impairment is secondary to BAC. If the officer believes that your BAC will exceed .08, then his observations will be biased toward perceiving impairment. I would be curious to know how many drivers with BAC below .08 "fail" FST's and are ultimately required to be breathalyzed.

Impairment does occur at BACs below 0.08. Moskowitz and Robinson conducted a comprehensive literature review concerning the effects of alcohol on driving behavior, emphasizing the BACs at which impairment begins in 1988. A majority of the studies found impairment at low BACs (below 0.07) and many studies found impairment at the 0.04 level and below. Tasks requiring divided attention showed impairment as low as 0.02. Two of the SFSTs the Walk and Turn and One Leg Stand are divided attention tests. So it's possible for a person who is below 0.08 to fail the SFSTs.

This brings up the question, can you be charged with DUI if your BAC is below 0.08? Yes, in Illinois and many other states the standard is impairment. So if you failed the SFSTs and your driving was bad, but you blew a 0.02 on the breathalyzer, you can still be charged and convicted of DUI.

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=062500050HCh%2E+11+Art%2E+V&ActID=1815&ChapAct=625%26nbsp%3BILCS%26nbsp%3B5%2F&ChapterID=49&ChapterName=VEHICLES&SectionID=59643&SeqStart=101500&SeqEnd=103100&ActName=Illinois+Vehicle+Code%2E
(625 ILCS 5/11‑501) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11‑501)
(Text of Section from P.A. 93‑1093)
Sec. 11‑501. Driving while under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, intoxicating compound or compounds or any combination thereof.
(a) A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle within this State while:

(1) the alcohol concentration in the person's blood or breath is 0.08 or more based on the definition of blood and breath units in Section 11‑501.2;

(2) under the influence of alcohol;

(3) under the influence of any intoxicating compound or combination of intoxicating compounds to a degree that renders the person incapable of driving safely;

(4) under the influence of any other drug or combination of drugs to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving;

(5) under the combined influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, or intoxicating compound or compounds to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving; or

(6) there is any amount of a drug, substance, or compound in the person's breath, blood, or urine resulting from the unlawful use or consumption of cannabis listed in the Cannabis Control Act, a controlled substance listed in the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, or an intoxicating compound listed in the Use of Intoxicating Compounds Act.

Impaired drivers are routinely charged and convicted of DUI under paragraph (2) of the law here. The officers decision to arrest doesn't have to be based solely on his/her feeling that you're going to be over the legal limit. Impaired is impaired and with dash cams recording the impaired driving and the SFSTs convictions aren't that hard to come by.

Jeff

Agent P
October 11, 2005, 04:28 PM
Nicely put.

12-34hom
October 11, 2005, 06:35 PM
Biker no offense taken, your statement saying that you can drink four beers and "your cop buddies" tell you its ok,[is that supposed to excuse you of being responsible for your actions?] just proves my point about how most impaired drivers will tell you the same thing every time.

Thanks for proving my point. But after you drink four beers you are impaired to operate at motor vehicle.

Field sobriety tests prove this. 10 years of dealing with people DWI tells me I'm right and your dead wrong. But, i see you have to learn things the hard way.

12-34hom

Biker
October 11, 2005, 06:50 PM
You're missing the point, 12-34hom. I'm *not* impaired after 4 beers. Some folks are and some aren't. How can you make a blanket statement indicting everyone who drinks 4 beers and drives? That's insane. I've been pulled over after a few brews and did just fine. Not all people fit into the same cookie-cutter as you would like to believe. You're so busy trying to be 'right' that you've closed your mind to the possibility that you could be wrong.
Whatever works for ya...
Biker

12-34hom
October 11, 2005, 07:02 PM
Biker, denial - it ain't a river in Egypt.

12-34hom.

Biker
October 11, 2005, 07:34 PM
Pat phrases and cliches certainly make for a convincing argument. Care to expand? Just a bit more clarity?
Biker

Otherguy Overby
October 11, 2005, 07:43 PM
12-34hom Biker no offense taken, your statement saying that you can drink four beers and "your cop buddies" tell you its ok,[is that supposed to excuse you of being responsible for your actions?] just proves my point about how most impaired drivers will tell you the same thing every time.



I made a post sometime back on this thread. #23, I think it is. The described experiment was done long enough ago that the general limit was .10 Maybe I didn't say enough, but what was discovered was that none, except for the road racer could clean the test when sober. After everyone was "legally" intoxicated at .10 they had varied results. The road racer got three points deducted on his "drunk" test which was still better than the others did while sober.

IOW, impairment is different for different individuals and really knowing how to do something well also makes a difference. A slightly impaired good driver may well be safer than a sober mediocre driver was what was found.

One size fits all rules do tend to fit very few well.

rick newland
October 11, 2005, 07:44 PM
In my LE career I would give a low estimate of making 1000 DUI arrests. If I prevented someone from going through what this young lady has gone through it was worth it.

http://www.fnnc.org/drunk-driving.html

Jeff White
October 11, 2005, 07:48 PM
Biker said;
You're missing the point, 12-34hom. I'm *not* impaired after 4 beers. Some folks are and some aren't. How can you make a blanket statement indicting everyone who drinks 4 beers and drives? That's insane. I've been pulled over after a few brews and did just fine. Not all people fit into the same cookie-cutter as you would like to believe.

Well maybe you are impaired and maybe you aren't. Have you ever tested your reactions after four beers? I'm not saying driving home from the bar, I'm saying conducted some scientific testing. It could be you just have a tolerance. that's not the same as not being impaired. I arrested a drunk driver one night, who I wasn't sure would blow 0.10 (the limit at the time). He was definately driving badly, but he did very well on SFSTs. Not even much nystagmous. Another officer who had much more experience then I did at the time agreed he might not test out. Guess what, he blew a 0.28! He was an alcoholic and had quite a tolerance. Was he impaired? Darn right he was.

The Moskowitz and Robinson Study (1988) showed that the following behavioral categories were affected at 0.05 BAC:

Reaction time
Divided Attention
Visual Functions
Tracking
Information Processing
Perception

How many beers gives you a BAC of 0.05?

In addition one of the effects of the lower BAC levels is that people tend to overestimate their abilities and get brave. The Anacapa Sciences' Study conducted for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Casey and Stuster (1982) identified these 12 risky driving behaviors of both automobile and mororcycle drivers at BAC of as low as 0.02:

Running stop signs or traffic lights
Unsafe passing due to oncoming traffic
Unsafe turn in front of oncoming or opposing traffic
Following too closely
Unsafe lane change or unsafe merging
Weaving through traffic
Crossing a double line in order to pass
Passing on the right
Excessive speed for conditions
Improper turn
Splitting traffic
Stunts

Now I know that there are many drivers who do these things stone sober. But the facts are that drivers impaired as little as 0.02 are more likely to do these dangerous things.

In a perfect world, we'd be able to legislate laws that took each individual's impairment at the time into consideration. Unfortunately we don't live in a perfect world. Our lawmakers set the standards at levels that impair most people. You can also be arrested and convicted at a BAC of far less then the legal limit.

The best way to avoid tragedy is not to drink and drive. You're kidding yourself if you think you can belt down 4 beers in an hour and not be impaired.

Jeff

cropcirclewalker
October 11, 2005, 07:51 PM
Like Mr newland said,

It's for the children.

Biker
October 11, 2005, 08:03 PM
Not at all, Jeff. I'm absolutely sure that I'm not impaired after 4 beers, although I don't drink them all within an hour. I wasn't aware that those were the parameters assigned to this argument. If the test that are given to me by the officer who pulled me over indicated that I'm not, you would disagree with those results? I don't understand this.
Biker

Jeff White
October 11, 2005, 08:08 PM
Biker,
How long did it take you to consume the four beers? Anyone can be sober after 4 or more beers if they drink slowly enough. The average male metabolizes 2/3 of the alcohol in a 12 ounce beer in an hour.

Jeff

Biker
October 11, 2005, 08:11 PM
Usually about a half an hour a beer. I'm not a slammer, just an enjoyer.
Biker

pax
October 11, 2005, 08:11 PM
I arrested a drunk driver one night, who I wasn't sure would blow 0.10 (the limit at the time). He was definately driving badly, but he did very well on SFSTs. Not even much nystagmous. Another officer who had much more experience then I did at the time agreed he might not test out. Guess what, he blew a 0.28! He was an alcoholic and had quite a tolerance. Was he impaired? Darn right he was.
Sounds like my Grandpa. The man could be so drunk he literally couldn't stand up -- but shove him behind the wheel of a car and he could drive a straight line home.

I'm thankful he died before I was old enough to be appalled.

pax

bmwmcars
October 11, 2005, 08:30 PM
If I recall correctly, the law in MI is like the law in Illinois, in that 'impared' is no longer simply a number, it actually comes from the officer's assessment as to the persons ability to operate the vehile. under the influence however is .08 or more. of course, I could be wrong on that one.

I actually prefer this. I think it leaves the officer to actually be able to use his head to determine wether or not the person is intoxicated, rather than just a number.

Drunk driving is clearly a bad bad thing, and I would never attempt to defend it. I do, however, think that MADD has gotten a bit out of control in their pursuit of 'justice'.

Now I will get on my soap box for two seconds...

What really pisses me off is that a driver that exercises utter lack of control and responsibility for the vehicle they are operating so as to infringe on my rights to operate my vehicle safely can walk away with absolutely jack, so long as they werent drinking. to me, drinking or not, its moot.

I was recently involved in a severe accident in which a woman who was paying zero attention to the road and other cars on it decided to make a left turn in front of me. I literaly had maybe 30 feet between her an I when she crossed my path. I was doing the speed limit of 50mph. I hit her full size durango in the passanger side and flipped it over, with the truck ending up upside down. I was injured.. my back, wrists, legs, etc. She walked away, no worries. BOTH vehicles were total losses (30k+ each).

She was cited for failure to yeild, took it to court and got it kicked because 'she had no prior tickets'.

Me, I get months of rehab, possible back surgery and almost certain chronic pain.

drinking or not, bad drivers should be prosecuted.

sorry for the slight off topic.

slzy
October 11, 2005, 08:30 PM
i cannot think of a single relative,friend,highschool class mates or co-worker who died at an age less than 70 that was not alcohol and or tobacco related.this includes several that were ran over by drunks.most did thereselves in though.0nly 1 in the 70's.most spread out from 14 to 53.

Biker
October 11, 2005, 08:33 PM
Well then, if you feel that stongly about it, don't smoke or drink. As for myself, I believe that I'll have a beer and a cigar.
Biker

Derby FALs
October 11, 2005, 08:41 PM
Now I will get on my soap box for two seconds...

What really pisses me off is that a driver that exercises utter lack of control and responsibility for the vehicle they are operating so as to infringe on my rights to operate my vehicle safely can walk away with absolutely jack, so long as they werent drinking. to me, drinking or not, its moot.

I was recently involved in a severe accident in which a woman who was paying zero attention to the road and other cars on it decided to make a left turn in front of me. I literaly had maybe 30 feet between her an I when she crossed my path. I was doing the speed limit of 50mph. I hit her full size durango in the passanger side and flipped it over, with the truck ending up upside down. I was injured.. my back, wrists, legs, etc. She walked away, no worries. BOTH vehicles were total losses (30k+ each).

She was cited for failure to yeild, took it to court and got it kicked because 'she had no prior tickets'.

Me, I get months of rehab, possible back surgery and almost certain chronic pain.

drinking or not, bad drivers should be prosecuted.

sorry for the slight off topic.

If you had had a beer before the crash it probably would have been you that was ticketed. Three or four and you would likely have gone to jail.

Strings
October 11, 2005, 10:19 PM
>that was not alcohol and or tobacco related<

Dude... you forgot red meat. That one's a surefire killer!

You worry about your life and risks, I'll worry about mine. Sound fair?

slzy
October 12, 2005, 04:33 AM
sounds very fair to me. don't know about the widows orphans or the 8 or so that were ran over by drunks. also make sure you have adequate insurance for your risks. also,stock up some blood so you will have some on hand so you won't waste any of mine. in fact do what you want to.i wish you would actually double your consumption of alcohol and tobacco,or even triple. shame they only give the Darwin Award for spectacular examples of stupidity.

c_yeager
October 12, 2005, 04:48 AM
I think that MADDs stated gole is laudable. Sometimes i think their intended goal might be a little less so. No matter how you look at it their methods WILL be the methods of choice when it comes to regulating everything else that you enjoy.

The fact is that there is someone out there that really hates damn near everything that you do, and that those people will stop at nothing to make you stop doing it. So long as a collectivist agenda trumps individual liberty, they will succeed.

Heres an example of how this is going to happen. Right now employers have the right to terminate employees who smoke cigarettes on the grounds that they increase the burdon on their health insurance. This has been discussed on this forum in the past (and oh god is it a mess every time) even in an individualist place like this there are many who support such measures.

Consider this; how much of a stretch is it to see this applied to other activities that place a burdon on insurance, activities like motorcycle riding, or hey, how about SHOOTING. (your health insurance can already deny you coverage if you happen to be hurt while riding a horse or a motorcycle FYI, this is new as of 2001).

How much controll over your life are you willing to cede in the name of collective good will? Yeah ok, I am willing to give up my freedom to drink and drive in the interest of the safety of other motorists, but where do you draw the line and when is it too late to start making fuss?

jashobeam
October 12, 2005, 06:38 AM
I really do appreciate all of your information and for the time you took to respond to my post. I did not file a hearing with the DMV within 15 days of my arrest or make any effort to fight the charge because it would have been my word (a .11 drunk driver) against the officer's. I'm just glad she didn't give me a ticket for speeding and running a stop sign. Also, I bought and read a couple small books about DUI defense and concluded I was beyond help.

I know it's a serious accusation to say she gave me a false reason for stopping me. I had no dash-cam and, like I said, I had just dropped off my last passenger (potential but lousy witness who was far more intoxicated than I). While downtown, hand-cuffed to a desk, I said to the officer, "Hey, I know it doesn't make any difference, but I want you to know that I don't believe that you saw me roll the stop sign or that I was speeding. I just wanted you to know that." She never said a word in response or even looked at me. It didn't matter; she got what she wanted, another DUI arrest.

Also, as for those other driving indications of intoxication, she didn't say that my speed was inconsitent or that I was swerving or had crossed any lines, etc. She said I had rolled through a stop sign (a stop sign that was not in her sight) and that I was speeding (50 in a 40).

BTW, I was given instructions for the WAT test before I was asked to step onto the line. Not that it matters.

I was impaired. I was also so nervous that I was trembling.

Did you not sort of lend credence to my contention with your story of the .28 BAC dude who passed the FST's without difficulty but was breathalyzed anyway? You suspected he was drunk, he passed the FST's, he was breathalyzed and revealed to truly be quite drunk. It didn't go: you suspected he was drunk, he passed the FST's so you had to let him go, end of story. I hope I'm correctly remembering what you said. I'm not disagreeing with you whichever way you answer. If there is some validity to what I'm saying, will you admit it? In your other post, to which I responded, you made it sound like there was this due process that leads to breathalyzation (or some other chem test). But what about check-points? There's no chance to observe a driving error.

I believe that FST's give the sober driver the opportunity to prove his sobriety or lack of impairment; they do not provide a drunk driver with any sort of out. Therefore, you may as well be dragged from your car and breathalyzed. :)

The bottom line is that if you drive sober, it won't matter what test is thrown your way. The cops can't make you drunk if you're not drunk.

One more question. What's the difference between the actual downtown breathalyzer and the patrol unit breathalyzer? Thanks for your knowledge. As I said before, I think this experience was/will be good for me...but at the same time it really, really sucks!

Byron Quick
October 12, 2005, 09:33 AM
All of these people upset about infringement on personal liberties forgot something.

Gewehr98,

I think that we may kinda be talking past each other. I don't find any infringements of any constitutional rights in speed limits, driving licenses, DUI's., etc.

Governments deciding to deem driving a privilege controlled utterly by governments is a warning sign of things to come, in my opinion. A warning that there will be no new rights to new technology-only privileges granted by the omnipotent state.

Where I find infringement of constitutional rights is in the tactics used against drunk driving. The Supreme Court rules that the public interest can justify infringement of part of the Constitution which is a right. Search and seizure. Probable cause. Stopping everyone at a roadblock. Try to argue that the government has probable cause to search everyone. You can't. The Supreme Court didn't try to argue that. The court just stated that it was alright for the public interest outweighed the enumerated right. The Second is an enumerated right. To my mind, it's not much of a stretch for a future Supreme Court to rule that total confiscation of firearms is in the public interest. If you look at many of the decisions of the past eighty years, the federal courts have developed this worrisome habit of ruling,"Yes, there is a constitutional principle involved in this matter, BUT the public interest....or the government's interest...or

Chip, chip here. Chip, chip there. Governments tend to increase their power over the citizenry over time. Thus far, history shows that they all do it. All organizations evolve into something different from their founders' intent eventually. Our local, state, and federal governments are doing it. So is MADD.

Derby FALs
October 12, 2005, 10:53 AM
Governments deciding to deem driving a privilege controlled utterly by governments is a warning sign of things to come, in my opinion. A warning that there will be no new rights to new technology-only privileges granted by the omnipotent state.

Driving is an essential act these days, hence it isour right. Governments may deem it a privilege the same way NYC deems the 2nd Admendment a privilege. That doesn't mean New Yorkers don't have those rights. Driving only became a "privilege" when governments saw it as a way to collect revenue. The early years of driving weren't controlled by the government.

cropcirclewalker
October 12, 2005, 11:26 AM
Say what you will, hold up pictures of "the children", tell us how our judgement in impaired (like as if it was a crime to be stupid), but this whole thing boils down to one thing.

Prior Restraint.

The liberal gun controllers, and the authoritarians are doing the same thing. Prohibiting us from doing what they think is unsafe/bad. They are imposing their "Alleged good judgement" on top of our "obvious bad judgement" even though we have committed no crimes.

I have never said driving drunk was good. I have only said that (at least here in the US) the people should have the freedom to do what they want so long as they do not infringe on another person's rights. That is what we used to have back here in America.

You get screwed up and drunk and cause an accident? Go to prison. Negligent manslaughter.

You clickity, clickity, click past a string of semis on cruise 2 mph faster than them with a parade of cars tailgating behind and cause a multicar pile up. Go to prison. Negligent manslaughter.

You do your make up or talk on a cell phone and cause an accident? Go to jail. Negligent manslaughter.

The common cell phone call;

"Uh, huh, honey, I just pulled out of the drive through.
Yeah, I ordered two grilled stuffed burritos and a chalupa.
I am pulling out onto Main now.
Yeah, I guess I should look in the sack, you know how these drive throughs are."

Honk, Honk,

THE SAME TO YOU, BUDDY

"Cheese, give some guy a Hummer and he thinks he owns the road.
No, I looked, they're all here.
Yeah, I got 6 milds and 4 hots and extra napkins.
Well, get the TV trays out and tell little Sidney that I am turning onto Green Street.
I should make it home in time for "Fear Factor".
Hey, the Ashcrofts have their Christmas lights up. Cheese, it's not even Thanksgiving yet.

You said it, some people.

Hey, I'm on the home stretch.
I can see the house.
I am turning into the drive.
I can hear Muffie barking.
Well, I'm here and I'm coming in.
Bye."


The liberal, fascist, socialist, authoritarian, for-your-own-good, it's-for-the-children types (you know who you are) are destroying what is left of the freedom in this country.

The real shame is that many on this forum work in LE so the primary reason they want to see speed limits, traffic laws, BAC stupidities, and even gun control enforced is because that is what they do for a living.

Job security.

It's a real shame.

spacemanspiff
October 12, 2005, 12:17 PM
actually i think about EVERYONE ELSES good, not yours. obviously those who insist that they can drive while impaired dont care about their own lives. for that matter it'd be far easier and less costly if they simply played russian roulette.

you are right, you have the right to have wanton disregard for your own life. but not anyone elses.

Biker
October 12, 2005, 12:31 PM
You missed the point, SpacemanSpiff, it's not necessarily about the right to drive impaired, it's about determining *if* a driver is impaired and how to do so. The one size fits all approach is unreasonable.
Biker

grampster
October 12, 2005, 02:56 PM
The short answer to all this is the idea that dui laws are like making everybody wear a size 12 shoe. One size does not fit all, in this case.

Jeff White
October 12, 2005, 03:02 PM
jashobeam,
There have been numerous cases where drivers who passed the SFSTs were released and sent on their way. Here in Illinois, if we take them in for a breath/blood test they are already under arrest for DUI. In the case of the alcoholic who blew a 0.28, there were other indications that he was pretty intoxicated, the overwhelming odor of alcohol and the fact he had lost control of his bladder and had urinated on the seat of his car. The decision to arrest is based on the subjects driving, observations made during personal contact and the SFSTs.

I'm not going to comment on if the officer who arrested you had probable cause to stop you. I wasn't there and you were. If it was me, I would have hired an attorney and tried to get the arrest suppressed on the grounds that the stop itself was illegal.

You are right that at checkpoints there is no chance to observe driver error, but the officer does have personal contact with the driver and can smell alcohol, notice how the driver talks and moves. The last DUI arrest I made was after I came upon a young man who had just put his car in the ditch. I didn't observe his driving at all, but he was definately drunk. The smell of alcohol, his slurred speech and glassey eyes was all I needed to ask him to do SFSTs. It's the same as a vehicle stop only without needing to stop the vehicle.

Portable breath test units (PBTs) are just another field sobriety test here in Illinois. The court does not recognize them as proof of BAC. I use my PBT after I have given the SFSTs. I understand that in some states they are admissible in court as proof of BAC, but not here.

There are portable breathalyzer units that are admissible in court here, there are a couple troopers who work in my area who have them issued.

Jeff

spacemanspiff
October 12, 2005, 03:14 PM
The short answer to all this is the idea that dui laws are like making everybody wear a size 12 shoe. One size does not fit all, in this case.
well i suppose when we all get our RFID chips implanted we can have it coded so that it will tell any cops who pull us over what our individual limit of being impaired is.

:p

Biker
October 12, 2005, 03:47 PM
Or perhaps if we pass a fair FST, after being pulled over for a valid reason, there is no problem and we're on our way?
Biker

Too Many Choices!?
October 12, 2005, 04:07 PM
Sure is wierd how threads like this can bring out the,"Feelings/Leftist", in a lot of normally RIGHT minded people :uhoh: ...

The term,"Flip-flopper comes to mind". This is directed at no member directly, just an observation :( .

PS-Prior constraint(punishing a person before a crime) sux, period; and that truly is the bottom line.

12-34hom
October 12, 2005, 08:06 PM
Biker, the HGN - Walk & Turn - One leg stand - P.B.T. are fair field sobriety tests, and are effective when properly administered. [divided attention tests] Coupled with observations of individuals driving - personal contact with said driver - their demeanor - all of which go to the totality of circumstances before the decision to arrest are made.

Most police vehicles are equipped with video camera's and the its ability to record all conversations. This is one of the most effective tools police officers now employ. They normally eliminate all doubt about a drivers impairment when presented before a jury of their peers.

12-34hom.

jashobeam
October 13, 2005, 01:45 AM
Once again, Jeff, thank you for the information. Also, I really appreciate that you did not accuse me of being too drunk to know for sure if I'd rolled a stop or sped.

Byron Quick
October 13, 2005, 09:35 AM
Jeff,

Got a question for you. I had a stroke in February, 2004. Recovered almost completely. However, I do have some problems with balance. I can do a one legged stand on my right leg but there is no hope with my left. Sober or drunk makes no difference. Same thing with doing the heel and toe walk down a straight line. Tried it during a slow moment at work last night. The officer who had brought us an inmate to treat told me that I definitely failed:D

What should I do if faced with the situation? I've been stopped twice when the officers were suspicious that I had been drinking. I don't know why for I had not had even a beer for days in one instance and hadn't had a drink for years in the other. Today I would fail the FST's involving balance. Any way to avoid the trip to the breathalyzer?

Jeff White
October 13, 2005, 11:48 AM
Byron,
If the officer is giving SFSTs by the book, he/she should ask about medical conditions before proceding. There are other FSTs that can be used, however the officer may not be certified in giving them and the court may or may not be willing to accept them.

In a case like yours, I'd be inclined to base any arrest decision on observation of driving, personal contact, HGN and the PBT.

Jeff

LawDog
October 13, 2005, 12:01 PM
Remembering that Texas does not allow DWI checkpoints.

Byron, the investigation would begin with any driving irregularities. If you're driving fine, then there shouldn't be a stop to begin with.

If you, for whatever reason, cross the yellow line, drive down the shoulder of the road, drive 35 miles an hour down the highway, etc., etc., the officer should strike up a conversation with you during the stop.

If, during the course of the conversation, you showed further signs of intoxication: inability to concentrate, odor of alcohol or vomit, dozing off during the conversation, slowed reactions, incoherence, etc., etc., then the investigation would move to the Standardized Field Sobriety Test phase.

I'm pretty sure that a quick chat with you would show a perfectly coherent, orientated, not intoxicated driver and the investigation would never get to the SFST phase.

LawDog

slzy
October 14, 2005, 12:37 AM
this here is taken from the us army marksmanship unit manual:alcohol and drugs give a shooter a false sense of security.they make him feel that even if he makes a mistake it will not really influence the outcome.the individual thus does not try as hard,but feels that he is nevertheless doing quite well. inevitably he is defeated by a shooter in full control of his body,senses,and will power.

Ryder
October 14, 2005, 03:50 AM
Any way to avoid the trip to the breathalyzer?
a quick chat with you would show a perfectly coherent, orientated

If I got stopped on my way home from working a 12 hour midnight shift there is little reason to believe I'd appear coherent and oriented from a conversational standpoint. This may even be the case on my way back to work after a few short hours of sleep. My eyes are red and I am dead tired. I don't verbalize well in the first place, never did. Balance? I'm lucky to survive getting out of the house some days. I have back problems and frequent headaches.

If I am put in the position of having to prove myself innocent I figure I'll just blow in their face. That should dispell any suspicions in a hurry! Hey if she's a cutie pie officer I might ask for a smootch. That's gotta be good proof. Right? :D

Biker dude - There are people who lack driving skills. For them to acknowledge others are capable of controlling a vehicle under any circumstance outside the ordinary would mean to admit their own inadequacies. That isn't going to happen any time soon. We're all created equal, remember? :evil:

DRZinn
October 15, 2005, 05:38 PM
I'm looking through the Constitution, trying to find the "Right to own and operate motor vehicles shall not be infringed".

I'm coming up at a dead loss.Hmmm... I think I'd include it in the 9th. See, in a car-based society there are many instances and places where if you can't drive you can't go anywhere. And I damn SURE have a right to travel.

c_yeager
October 15, 2005, 07:46 PM
I'm looking through the Constitution, trying to find the "Right to own and operate motor vehicles shall not be infringed".


This is why we are going to lose, as a whole society :(

Try this for a change, look through the constitution for a place where it says that the government has the right to keep us from operating motor vehicles.

Convincing us that the only rights we "get" are those listed in the constitution is the single greatest defeat our notion of a "free society" has ever suffered.

Biker
October 15, 2005, 07:52 PM
It is necessary today to drive a MV in order to make living for most people in most circumstances. Care to provide govt. funded taxis? Keep those who can't afford ins. on welfare of one kind or another or pay for them to sit in jail? Make it a jailable offense to have *one* glass of wine with dinner? Oops...
Biker

roo_ster
October 16, 2005, 09:13 AM
Make it a jailable offense to have *one* glass of wine with dinner?

Your reductio ad absurdum (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proof_by_contradiction) is Law Enforcement's command.

Dinner, dinner everywhere and not a drop to drink (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/10/15/wwide15.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/10/15/ixworld.html)
By Alec Russell in Washington
(Filed: 15/10/2005)

It has survived the fast-food "vulgarianism" of Bill Clinton and the Tex-Mex "cowboy" tastes of George W Bush. But now the grand Washington dinner party is facing the zero-tolerance regime of the DC police, who insist a single glass of wine is too much if you want to drive home.

For decades the city's social powerbrokers have maintained the dining traditions of a bygone era: dress "informal", meaning frocks and suits; the honoured guest receiving and delivering an elegant homily and, crucially, cocktails, several wines and liqueurs flowing.

Ronald Reagan, who presided over a boom in Washington entertaining after the drabber years of the Carters, dubbed the city's legendary hostesses, "the Georgetown Ladies' Social Club". As they and their successors have long made clear, it takes more than the arrival of a new First Family at the White House to knock them off their perch.

Bill Clinton may have been known on the 1992 campaign trail for his midnight pizzas and love of deep fried chicken but, like his predecessors, he made the social pilgrimage to the table of Katharine Graham, the late owner of the Washington Post.

Speculation that his successor would oversee a culture change also proved wide of the mark. As his critics love to chortle, the tee-totalling Mr Bush likes being tucked up by 10pm. He has hosted only a handful of state dinners and he provoked Batemanesque outrage in Georgetown when one of his first trips out of the White House was to a garish Tex Mex joint. But the dinner parties have continued apace.

This week, however, the dinner party set awoke to a dire new challenge. Emblazoned on the front page of the Post, was the chilling cautionary tale of Debra Bolton.

It was about half past midnight one morning last May. The 45-year-old lawyer was on her way home from dinner at Caf&#233; Milano, a trendy eatery in Georgetown when she was pulled over by the police for driving without lights.

She apologised, admitted to having drunk one glass of wine and ended up being handcuffed, imprisoned and facing a four-month legal battle.

For Sally Quinn, wife of the Post's former editor, Ben Bradlee, and the self-designated successor to Katharine Graham, this was too much.

"All I can say is thank God none of the legendary Georgetown hostesses and grandes dames is left in Washington to see this day," she wrote in the paper. "The city may just as well roll up the red carpet and shut its doors after what we have just learned."

Her reminiscences of the 1970s when five-course dinners starting with martinis and ending with Dom Perignon and cr&#234;pes Suzette sounded, as she admitted, a little wistful.

The concept of a political salon is a bit pass&#233; these days; five courses have become three and it is widely acknowledged you need a heavy European - preferably British - presence to keep an occasion going after 11pm.

David Heymann, author of The Georgetown Ladies' Social Club, says the new era is a pale imitation of the old. He believes possibly only Teresa Heinz Kerry, the fabulously wealthy wife of Mr Bush's defeated Democratic challenger, can now afford a Katharine Graham-style entertaining schedule.

But to anyone who has endured hours of politicking over dinner from the city's regiments of blazered apparatchiks, Miss Quinn's conclusion rings all too true: "Who's going to drive to some horrible official party knowing they can't have a drink? How do you think people get through these parties anyway? It's not by drinking Diet Coke."

You can't make this stuff up.

I truly hope nobody ever proposes, even in jest, that drivers (who have a BAC of more than 0, but less than 0.08) be given educational/inspirational beatings and/or harassings to "scare them into (driving) straight.

Because some craptacular wanna-be Mussolini will think it a dandy idea...and then implement it.

Byron Quick
October 16, 2005, 11:07 AM
Personally, I'd be quite willing to let people drive while drinking and only punish those who injured someone else. However, it would take a constitutional amendment for those punishments would be very cruel and very unusual. I don't think you'd see much driving and drinking under my plan. The drinking drivers would be too nauseous to drink after what happened to the last guy.

I came up on my cousin one night shortly after he was released from prison. He was imprisoned for vehicular homicide while driving drunk after four or five previous DUI's. He was sitting in his car in a convenience store parking lot. Drunk. Going on and on about how he had been wronged by his imprisonment for three or four years. I told him bullcrap. You're sitting here in a nice car drunk. You're victim is still lying in a cold grave. You think you were done wrong? Tell you what: I would have put a motorcycle on tracks with a rocket motor welded to the back. Strapped you on it and run you into the front end of a car at the end of the tracks at 120 mph. I would have treated you exactly as you treated the man you killed while he was riding his motorcycle.

My cousin won't speak to me anymore.:neener: But he wouldn't be driving drunk anymore if I had control of the penalities.

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