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

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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!'
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?
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:
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).
I'm honored. Ya know, you're really tense...downright uptight. You should pop a cold one and relax. :cool:
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.
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.
cropcirclewalker said:
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.
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.
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
All of these people upset about infringement on personal liberties forgot something.

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.
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.
(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.

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.

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...
Pat phrases and cliches certainly make for a convincing argument. Care to expand? Just a bit more clarity?
Point of reference

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.
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
Information Processing

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

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.

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.
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.

Usually about a half an hour a beer. I'm not a slammer, just an enjoyer.
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