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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5708/legalize-drunk-driving/

Legalize Drunk Driving

October 3, 2006 by

Drunk driving is ever in the news (Paris Hilton arrested) and the news typically conflates the non-crime of drunk driving with the real crime of actually hurting people and injuring property with a car. So it’s a good time to revisit my 2000 article calling for the legalization of drunk driving.

{ 42 comments }

mikey October 3, 2006 at 12:54 pm

True, the proper concern of the law is harm to others.One might drive drunk and not harm anyone.
One might also fire a rifle blindfolded and not hit anyone.I would therefore include “putting others at risk(without their consent)” in with “harm to others”,as being the proper concern of the criminal code.
In an anarcho- capitalist world where all property
is privately owned, the property owner decides if drunk driving is permitted or not.I would not permit it and would gamble that I would not lose
too many customers.I would however permit drunk driving in a specially designated area reserved just for that purpose, people agreeing to be put at risk in exchange for the pleasures of driving around at speed swilling Colt 45 straight from the can,perhaps while recieving the tender ministrations of an attractive member of the fair sex.I would probably patronize such a facility myself if there was one nearby.
My question for fellow bloggers, would you chose to live where drunk driving is permitted on the open road,everything else being equal?

Max October 3, 2006 at 1:19 pm

Well, I don’t think it would be different on privately owned streets or roads (although a privately owned road system would be a hell of a complex system, especially in the cities).
Most people prefer driving on safe highways, where you can be sure that drunken idiots are taken care of by the security forces (today: police facists).
I think that most companies would follow this rule to maximize their earnings, because only a minority is really in favor of “no-rules” at all.

What is really more interesting than the law-system of roads (or the contracts of the companies and the users), is how would roads work in a private property society.
Who owns the streets in front of his house? Would all people agree on roads or would it be a meandering road around the properties?
What to do with existing systems in cities? If we tend to privatize, who gets the system? Will the whole traffic system be sold or will each person of the city get a share of the system representing his tax input in the streets?

I think those are interesting questions, which should be considered when thinking about private road systems and whether they would be better than what we have today. I think, they could be, but it is a hell of a problem to privatize them.

David Spellman October 3, 2006 at 1:33 pm

A brilliant article, but then I have been saying the same thing for years so I am biased.

Think about this: remember the 80 year old guy who drove his car through a crowded street market and killed a few people? Nothing happened to him because it was an accident. We will excuse the poor man (and other people) because he didn’t mean to even though he _did_ hurt people. But if you are caught intoxicated you are a criminal even if no harm has been done.

I don’t drink at all. But as far as I am concerned, you are welcome to drink all you want so long as you don’t run over me with your car. And if you do run over me with your car, I don’t care whether you are sober or drunk, you have done a bad thing. Punish the crime.

Loved the article, yesiree!

nunyabidness October 3, 2006 at 1:47 pm

As usual, Lew, you’re five beers shy a six pack…maybe even 7 beers shy.

Tell ya what…you go out and stand on the street at exactly 2:00 AM in a major US city and let me know how you like it.

I love your pie-in-the-sky arguments – or rather the blatherings of a fool. Keep it up, you’re making McCarthy look downright sensible.

Too bad so many people are subject to your ravings.

Reddit-Reader October 3, 2006 at 3:04 pm

Some interesting replies and comments at Reddit.com: http://reddit.com/info/kqbe/comments

(You can also, if you wish, vote for the article at that address.)

Francisco Torres October 3, 2006 at 3:29 pm

you go out and stand on the street at exactly 2:00 AM in a major US city and let me know how you like it.

I’m game. Which city? I currently live in Houston. I can stand in Westheimer at that time – I am willing to bet that will not make drunk driver laws any more valid.

Keep it up, you’re making McCarthy look downright sensible.

I do not understand why advocating for LESS tyranny would be comparable to being like Sen. McCarthy.

Brad October 3, 2006 at 4:14 pm

Today’s laws are made to modify behavior, not to punish specific actions. The idea is to criminalize people before something bad happens endeavoring to eliminate any behavior up to two standard deviations away, and so make for a perfectly safe world. I deem that we have been managed by a matrix of bell curves with all but the upper tail not shaded as potentially criminal.

Such constructs, in total, is known as tyranny.

In terms of driving with toxins in the system, I’ve said for years that it needs to be an action based system, not particular situations. I assume that in many situations people who are on prescription meds are given a freer pass than those who self medicate, or are tired, or who smoke, or those who drive with their knee while tying a tie. But what’s the difference? Driving while not having the capacity to, and ultimately driving recklessly is what endangers other people. Demonizing one set of circumstances and ignoring the rest is a more harmful mindset, in my opinion.

I drive interstate, first as city (Milwaukee)arterials, and then as two lane country stretches, every day. I operate under the assumption that most of the drivers are not under the influence of self proscribed medicants. Yet a goodly portion drive so poorly it makes my hair stand on end. Due to age (old/young), anger, cell phones, plain stupidity, supermen on crotch rockets etc etc. And only a tiny fraction are ever pulled over. How much sense does that make?

I can’t comprehend why having three beers and driving relatively safely from A to B is a dire crime while being 80, barely able to see over the steering wheel, pilled up to the eyeballs coasting at 20 miles UNDER the speed limit is perfectly sound.

Owl October 3, 2006 at 6:46 pm

Certainly a very interesting, and courageous article. I’ve also wrecked my brain thinking about this dilemma.

Not that I’m in favor of drink driving. But if we accept the principle that the government can determine what we should and shouldn’t do, based on the chance that we might hurt someone else (let alone ourselves), then what freedom would be left? Could you ever leave your house, live with others, experience (“negative”) emotions, own any object that might be used to kill someone, have and spread knowledge that might be used to harm someone, in short: do anything that makes life more than the katatonic predestinated existence of a Stepford Wife?

Alcohol, like a lot of other things, does cause quite a bit of trouble for a lot of people. But if I’m given the choice of living in a society where people can drive drunk unpunished as long as they don’t physically harm anyone against their will, or a society where every single choice is eliminated and made for me because I am forced to choose the statistically safest option (which basically means “living” in a padded cell), I would obviously prefer the risk of drunk drivers.

gene berman October 3, 2006 at 7:23 pm

Mikey (if you’re still around):

I like your idea! The only thing I’m not clear on is whether there’s just one gal to render the services described, a choice, or more like a BYOB (where you can bring your own and count on management for minor, ancilliary services). These things should be made clear in the advertising!

Ohhh Henry October 3, 2006 at 7:26 pm

My question for fellow bloggers, would you chose to live where drunk driving is permitted on the open road,everything else being equal?

A few years ago a prof from a university in Vancouver, BC claimed that when he studied the effect of a recent significant strengthening of the enforcement and punishment related to drunk driving laws in his jurisdiction, the rate of highway traffic deaths had increased. He said this was because the average young male who is prone to be a drunk driver will driver far faster and more dangerously when he is sober.

I have seen this for myself when out driving with my family on Friday and Saturday nights. If we are on the highway around 9pm, we are passed by young bucks racing to the bars, weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating, and swerving to their highway exit at the last second. These drivers are very dangerous to be around. But if we’re still on the highway after midnight it’s completely different. There are no more speed freaks still on the road, but it’s easy to spot the ones that have been drinking: they’re driving right on the speed limit, or slightly under the limit, and they’re staying right in the slow lane (where they tend to weave back and forth very slightly). Avoiding collisions with these drivers is simple.

So all in all, I would rather that drunk driving which doesn’t cause an accident be punished as a misdemeanor, similar to other types of dangerous driving such as speeding and running stop signs. But drunk driving causing death must be treated severely – similarly to manslaughter.

The trouble is that the nanny state must turn justice upside-down in order to justify its existence. Non-harmful activities must be turned into major crimes and truly harmful activities must be trivialized. The more topsy-turvy the justice system, the more money there is to be made by legislators, lawyers, judges, police, prison guards, social workers, etc. as they take on the heroic (in their minds) job of trying to be everyone’s nanny and insert themselves as deeply as possible into every possible situation of conflict. If the law was no more than a simple reflection of what everyone understands to be natural justice, then who would need a gigantic, multileveled system of legislatures, police forces, courts, prisons, social agencies, law schools, etc.?

David Baskin October 3, 2006 at 8:25 pm

As this is an economics site, perhaps some reference to the statistics might be in order, rather than to anecdotal evidence, however personally convincing.

The NHSA website demonstrates the following:

-alcohol related traffic fatalities have fallen 5% in absolute terms since 1995, and much more on a per mile driven basis; that’s about 10,000 fewer dead people, or 3 times the number killed on 9/11;

-the highest percentage of impaired drivers among the dead are in the 18 to 21 age group, followed by the 16 to 18 age group; these are not the 50 year old repeat offenders;

- a whole lot of children get killed by drunk drivers. While I may have no objection to you killing yourself, society does have an interest in protecting those who cannot protect themselves.

Lisa Casanova October 3, 2006 at 9:01 pm

David,
If your stat that the largest percentage of impaired drivers among the dead are 16-21 is correct, this suggests that a lot of deaths are occurring among those who are not legally allowed to consume alcohol in the first place. What does this say about law enforcement’s ability to stop drunk driving?

Aakash October 3, 2006 at 9:47 pm

The problem with these types of extreme libertarian arguments is that they overlook the fact that driving on public roads is not a right. It is a privilege – something that can be revoked.

There is nothing wrong with laws prohibiting driving under the influence – unless perhaps the drunk driver is also the owner of the road upon which he is driving.

Urbanitect October 4, 2006 at 1:02 am

“Well, I don’t think it would be different on privately owned streets or roads (although a privately owned road system would be a hell of a complex system, especially in the cities).”

For most of history streets and roads were privately owned, either by nobility or by merchant corporations. The City of London is in fact still owned by the same corporation that owned it in the middle ages. It wasn’t hell of a complex.

Although I don’t believe drunk driving is a crime, it’s rather obvious that even private operators would immediately revoke the license of a drunk driver.

David October 4, 2006 at 2:06 am

David Baskin said: As this is an economics site, perhaps some reference to the statistics might be in order, ………

This reminds me of a a case a few years ago in Johannesburg, South Africa ( where there is a bi-annual media ritual of watching and deconstructing the december and April ‘carnage’ on the roads during the holiday lemming runs).

two articles appearing in the newspapers mere days apart showed an interesting subtext of ignorant hysteria:

The first one quoted statistics showing a ‘staggering’ proportion of drivers who had had accidents the previous week, and had some alcohol in their bloodstreams (irrespective of what level). It was something in the order of 45%, and that statistic was trumpeted loudly as an indictment of alcohol use while driving.

In the other ( unrelated) article, some researchers had sampled the proportion of all road users in a given period, who had had alcohol in their bloodstreams. This proportion was somewhere arounbd 60 percent (!), and was likewise trumpeted as a sad reflection on local drivers and their sense of responsibility.

Of course, taken together, these two results ( discounting sampling errors, timing mismatches etc), at face value suggest that being SOBER increases the risk of an accident! But nobody else seemed to make that connection, and this absurd use of magnificently un-contextualised numbers in isolation went unquestioned. After all, taking issue with any aspect of a ‘worthy campaign’ is as bad as paedophilia, right?

wrong: Nothing invalidates a cause more completely than the spurious and misleading use of statistics in support of its thesis.

David

Peter October 4, 2006 at 2:12 am

The problem with these types of extreme libertarian arguments is that they overlook the fact that driving on public roads is not a right. It is a privilege – something that can be revoked.

It’s neither a right nor a privilege, since the state is not the legitimate owner of the roads. Sure, driving on private roads is/would be a revocable privilege. But on the theory that the state should act as much as possible like a private owner (or an agent for “its” citizens) in the utilization of property it controls, it’s not clear to me that it should penalize drunk driving (the drunk driver isn’t like to revoke his own privilege to drive on roads he owns)

Artisan October 4, 2006 at 9:29 am

David,

on second thought, the fact that more people tend to be involved in car accidents while not drunk, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily irrational to crack down on drunk driving, does it?

Check the difference with this true syllogism: on the flights landing in Paris (driving), 60 % of all passengers are Europeans (drunk). And of all the persons landing in Paris (driving) on a certain day, who claim to be there for business reasons (crash), 45% claim to be European… Would that mean the 40% non Europeans landing in Paris (sober), are more likely to be business travellers? Certainly… but while taken together, the non-Europeans and Europeans make 100% of potential business travellers, the “sober and drunk condition” groups don’t nearly describe 100% of all potential disturbing circumstances leading to a crash…

“A sober condition” may mean in your example that someone’s high on another drug, or he’s distracted by a girlfriend just calling him on the phone… which will be the “real disturbing circumstance” leading to the crash.

And, drunkenness may thus still have a higher relative incidence in the “disturbing circumstances” while driving.

Billy Beck October 4, 2006 at 11:29 am

Has everyone here bookmarked the DUI Blog?

JIMB October 4, 2006 at 1:23 pm

Seems to me that DUI punishment (without accident) is only valid if there’s a direct cause-effect relationship between driving and damage the same as being blindfolded would be (thanks mikey for the hint). Then the cause would be “essentially the same” as the effect. I am confident (perhaps in my ignorance) that millions of people drive “under the influence” according to the law and are fine. I think this is a great article, because it touches on so many topics.

Example: Psychologists are now trying to “find ways of predicting school violence” and you can bet where that is going to lead …

steve October 4, 2006 at 2:23 pm

“I would therefore include “putting others at risk(without their consent)” in with “harm to others”,as being the proper concern of the criminal code.”

If that statement is accepted, then everything under the sun is the “proper concern of the criminal code” Risk and life go hand in hand.

Is there anything in this world exempt from the concern of the criminal code? Must everything be a criminal matter? I guess freedom is just to dangerous.

Mark Anderson October 7, 2006 at 7:11 pm

Lew writes: “Bank robbers may tend to wear masks, but the crime they commit has nothing to do with the mask. In the same way, drunk drivers cause accidents but so do sober drivers, and many drunk drivers cause no accidents at all. The law should focus on violations of person and property, not scientific oddities like blood content.”

Also, Lew implied that blood-alcohol level is akin to the color of one’s hair. I can see where this argument can go. Separate the drinking from everything, just focus on the accident and the damage, and even an ACCIDENT caused by a SOBER person becomes just as bad. This then becomes a calculus for severely punishing ACCIDENTS, which contorts the entire meaning of the word ACCIDENT. Pray tell me, as human beings, should an ACCIDENT that results in a death be criminally prosecuted? I don’t think so.

Lew actually creates the framework for a heightened police state, as now sober people who get into accidents causing deaths are no different than people who deliberately murder others.

By DELIBERATELY drinking, the crash can no longer be called an ACCIDENT, and that is the difference.

Mark Anderson October 8, 2006 at 12:14 am

By the way, I do understand and agree with Lew’s point. He is protesting the criminalization of alcohol consumption, which is what drunk driving laws do. In other words, it is the crashing into cars and causing death that Lew is saying is the crime. He would be right.

Sione Vatu October 8, 2006 at 4:24 pm

What a pack of Pollyannas!

Who hasn’t driven after consuming some alcohol at one time or another? Had a few and thought, “I’m OK. I’m only slightly over. I’ll just drive home CAREFULLY.” And guess what, you drove home AOK. Nothing happened. No-one died. No-one was injured. Nothing was damaged or destroyed. Done it several times. So quit the hypocracy and admit there is something wrong with the official govt line on this topic, not with the action that is being persecuted.

The blood alcohol limit is arbitrary. Some people are fine at that point, others are affected far more strongly. There are those who are safe to drive at twice the limit and there are those who should not be driving at half the limit or less. Then there are those silly falsifiable (wreckable) tests do not measure the OUTCOME of action other than to show a person may have been drinking. So what if he has?

Drinking and then driving is not necessarily going to result in a traffic fatality, injury or even a crash. It isn’t causal in every single situation. It isn’t causal in the majority of cases. Given that, then there is no need to prohibit it.

The whole “prevent road accident” business is based on hokum and make-work. Why accept such nonsense?

Sione

Mark Brabson October 8, 2006 at 8:56 pm

I was reading on that DUI Blog site, that some states are moving to a 0.05% limit. How long, before zero tolerance is enacted?

Speaks alot against the whole notion of positive law. There should be no positive law at all. It should be handled under the common law. You cause harm, you pay restitution accordingly. If you don’t cause harm, then the government (and MADD) need to stay out of your business.

Knute Hansen January 3, 2007 at 9:25 pm

Having a clean record, including a 100%-perfect driving record, I was arrested and imprisoned for 48 hours over the millenium New Years weekend on DUI-drugs charges, even though the police had no evidence that I used drugs, and didn’t administer a breathelyzer test because they knew I wasn’t drunk. The case never even made it to court it was so flimsy, but it did ruin my millenium New Years, to say the least, and I caught a life-threatening virus while incarcerated that caused emissions of blood and chronic bronchitis. And yes, the blood test was clean.

bruce alm March 16, 2007 at 1:54 am

The Answer to the Problem of Drunk Driving, etc.

by Bruce Alm

The answer to the problem of drunk driving, etc. could be this; a permit for the purchase and consumption of alcohol beverages.

This would not only be a major assault on the problem of drunk driving, but would also have an effect on virtually all other crimes such as these;

murder, rape, assault, burglary, robbery, suicide, vandalism, wife beating, child beating, child molestation, the spread of aids, animal cruelty, etc., the list is endless.
If this proposition was made law, there could be a major reduction in all these areas of concern, even though the emphasis concerning alcohol abuse seems to be drunk driving in particular.

There could also be many other positive results; families healed, better work performance, booze money spent on products that would help the economy (we’ve all heard of the guy who spends half his check in the bar on payday,) would spare many health problems, etc.

This new law could go something like this:

Any person found guilty of any crime where drinking was a factor would lose the right to purchase and/or consume alcohol beverages.

For a first misdemeanor, a three year revocation. a second misdemeanor, a ten year revocation. a third misdemeanor, a lifetime revocation. Any felony crime, an automatic lifetime revocation.
Anyone caught drinking alcohol without a permit would receive a possible $1000 fine and/or jail sentence. those who would supply alcohol to people without a drinking permit (and possibly make money at it,) would also lose his/her right to purchase alcohol beverages.

What wife or husband would buy an alcoholic spouse a bottle?

What friend would give a problem drinker a drink at the possible cost of a thousand bucks and the loss of their own privilege? This could be a total discouragement to these would-be pushers.

This permit doesn’t seem as though it would be a problem to put into effect. It could simply be a large X, or whatever, on the back of any drivers license in any state, to show who has been revoked, and cannot purchase alcohol.
Most people of drinking age have a driver’s license, but one area that might be a problem could be New York City, where many people don’t drive.

This problem could be resolved, however, by a license-type I.D. specifically for the purchase of alcohol beverages. Most, if not all states have these already for the purpose of identification.
This could be a small price to pay for the saved lives of thousands of Americans each and every year.

After this, it would simply be a matter of drinking establishments checking I.D.s at the time of purchase.
In the case of crowded bars, they could simply check I.D.s at the door, as they do now.

Would this be a violation of rights? There can be no argument here since they already check I.D.s of people who look as though they may not be old enough to drink.

This could be a good saying, “If a person who doesn’t know how to drive shouldn’t have a license to drive, a person who doesn’t know how to drink shouldn’t have a license to drink.”

Here are some other pluses to this idea:

A good percentage of people in correctional institutions are there because of alcohol related offences . Because of this, court, penal, and law enforcement costs could drop dramatically.

A.A., ALANON, MADD, SADD, etc., could become things of the past.

What the alcoholic fears most, is the temptation to have that first drink, usually a spur of the moment type thing. Without the ability to do this, he/she is fairly safe. To start drinking again would almost have to be planned in advance. and to maintain steady drinking would be extremely difficult, in most cases.

Even though A.A. members as a group don’t become involved in political movements, it seems as individuals, they would all be in favor of a situation like this. Any person who wants to quit drinking, even if never having been in trouble with the law, could simply turn in their license for the non-drinking type.

A woman from MAAD, on the NBC TODAY show, said “One out of every ten Americans has a drinking problem, and that 10% consumes 60% of all alcohol beverages sold in the U.S..” If this is true, there could be financial problems for breweries, liquor stores, bars, rehab centers, etc., as well as lawyers, massive amounts of tax revenue ‘down the drain,’ and so on.

But it doesn’t seem as though anyone would have a valid argument against a proposal such as this for financial reasons. To do so would be morally wrong, and could be likened to a drug-pusher attitude.

Even with the problems this new law could present, it still could, in one sense, be considered the simple solution to the number one drug problem in the U.S. and elsewhere. Alcoholism.

P.S.

What ever happened to the skid row drunk?

http://www.geocities.com/dwi_dui/index.html

Santa Clarita DUI Defense Lawyer October 21, 2007 at 1:28 am

For anyone interested, you can go to this site for the actual Law on DUI in California http://www.lawyerinsantaclarita.com/DUI-Law.html

Jay July 31, 2008 at 9:11 am

If you can go to a bar and spend money on drinks and food then you can certainly afford a cab!
The government does not prevent you from doing this. It is called a rational decision, which is what most of America lacks this day and age.

Jay July 31, 2008 at 9:12 am

If you can go to a bar and spend money on drinks and food then you can certainly afford a cab!
The government does not prevent you from doing this. It is called a rational decision, which is what most of America lacks this day and age.

Ada August 7, 2008 at 6:39 am

I don’t agree with you – legalizing drunk driving will put more drivers under alcohol influence on the roads. If now some people are saying that they don’t want alcohol, because they are driving, that’s not only because of their conscience, but more because they know they might loose their driving license. If drink driving will be legalized, I bet the accidents statistics will rise. We can’t put people on the roads. We should better send them to an Alcohol Treatment Rehab. Alcohol is guilty for many human tragedies – accidents, violence in families, rapes… and so on.

Michael Hardesty August 22, 2008 at 7:07 pm

Lew is right. Drinking should not be a crime. Misuse of the car should be, whether drunk or sober. We could greatly reduce urban crime in the USA by incarcerating all black males between 14 and 45. Would that be right ? Obviously, no. Same principle as all
other preventative or administrative laws.

Mic Jhon September 8, 2008 at 3:12 am

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DUI Lawyers November 18, 2008 at 4:40 am

Great post about Santa Clarita DUI Defense Lawyer.

Michael Wilson January 29, 2009 at 12:31 pm

Rockwell writes: “But there’s a more fundamental point. What precisely is being criminalized? Not bad driving. Not destruction of property. Not the taking of human life or reckless endangerment.”

This sentence strongly implies that ‘reckless endangerment’ should be criminalized. Two questions: 1) What is it? Some would call drunk driving a form of reckless endangerment; Rockwell doesn’t address this. 2) According to Rockwell, on what grounds can even reckless endangerment (which includes bad driving) be criminalized, since it only increases the probability that others will be harmed and, as Rockwell says elsewhere in the same article, “government in a free society should not deal in probabilities”? Rockwell should explain this apparent contradiction.

Some posters have compared drunk driving that hurts no one to firing a loaded gun at a person and having it jam. A better analogy would be to neglecting to store firearms, poisonous chemicals, or dangerous tools so that children cannot readily get to them. Drunk driving is a form of negligence.

Rob May 23, 2009 at 9:27 am

Leagalize Freedom! We are the only country which was initially dedicated to the ideal of personal freedom. Liberty is being stolen by fascist scum. Get your rifles.

It is time to stand and Fight.

Babbits September 6, 2009 at 5:50 pm

People make way too many assumptions, before the fact, about the capabilities of others. There should be no driver’s tests. Why do people assume that just because someone has gone out at the wheel of a vehicle with some dumbo from the state motor vehicles branch and done monkey tricks for him means that means that person will be a safer driver than someone who hasn’t? Lots of teens have far better reflexes than old farts half blind and crazy, but they’re not allowed to drive. But the old fools go out and kill people and get away with it.

samuel welsh May 27, 2010 at 8:34 pm

only if your sober

George June 28, 2010 at 12:04 am

Lots of teens also kill themselves and others around them because they have no fear of death and poor judgment.

samuel welsh May 27, 2010 at 8:32 pm

drunk means criminal
cops do your thing

PBaz March 3, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Lew, I can’t thank you enough for writing this article. I’ve been making this argument for some time now and its nice to know that someone else agrees.

It is generally accepted that drinking alcohol, among other things, can cause reckless driving which may lead to accidents. If this is true we can expect that a significant number of people pulled over by the police for reckless driving will have consumed alcohol. The point is, as you described in your article, that by enforcing the existing laws punishing those who drive dangerously and who cause accidents you already address the problem (whether or not the government should punish people for actions which haven’t harmed anyone else being beyond the scope of this discussion).

In addition to the criminalization of drinking and driving itself, there is also a tendency for people to insist that someone convicted of a driving infraction while under the influence of alcohol should receive a harsher punishment than someone who hasn’t. The idea being that the infraction was avoidable and wouldn’t have occurred if the driver hadn’t had alcohol in their blood. It would be equally just to hand out a harsher punishment if it was discovered that a driver’s radio was on at the time of an accident. Just as there is no way to know whether listening to the radio led to the accident there is know way to know whether alcohol played a role in causing the infraction.

We should also keep in mind the punishments currently applied to cases of drunk driving. Being convicted of a DUI is no slap on the wrist, but a life-changing event.

Despite the logical flaws in drunk driving laws which appear, at least to me, to be obvious; drunk driving laws are popularly accepted and praised. Because drinking alcohol is considered a vice, others feel less sympathy for the drinker and the drinker is more inclined to accept guilt for his actions. This effect combines with the ever present tendency for people to assume that the government knows what it’s doing, whether or not we understand why, and to defend these laws beyond all reason.

Matthew April 23, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Your article raises some interesting questions on the efficacy of DUI laws in this country, very thought provoking!

jasonkhan1020 December 13, 2011 at 12:57 am

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