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1 Velvet Elvis  Sun, Sep 1, 2013 8:57:49pm

Europe has decent mass transit.

This would basically criminalize going to bars since walking under the influence can also get you charged with public drunkenness.

2 bratwurst  Sun, Sep 1, 2013 9:26:28pm

re: #1 Velvet Elvis

Europe has decent mass transit.

This would basically criminalize going to bars since walking under the influence can also get you charged with public drunkenness.

Take it from someone who has lived half his adult life in Europe: the late night public transport options in most places there are only slightly more plentiful or appealing than in big American cities. The biggest difference is in mentality. As I mention (assuming you actually bothered to read what I wrote) this is something that CAN be changed here, but it takes time.

If you find that you are unable to leave a bar on foot without causing the kind of nuisance that leads to a public drunkenness charge, then it is time to stop drinking.

3 Lidane  Sun, Sep 1, 2013 11:48:23pm

The only thing lowering the legal BAC limit does is increase the number of potential people who will end up on probation for DUI. All that does is adds people to the system, makes money for defense lawyers and the states ,and makes MADD happy but overall it’s ineffective.

This is punitive and would essentially criminalize going out to bars.

4 bratwurst  Mon, Sep 2, 2013 12:23:54am

re: #3 Lidane

The only thing lowering the legal BAC limit does is increase the number of potential people who will end up on probation for DUI. All that does is adds people to the system, makes money for defense lawyers and the states ,and makes MADD happy but overall it’s ineffective.

This is punitive and would essentially criminalize going out to bars.

First of all, MADD has nothing to do with this and is not even taking a position.

Secondly, you are probably right that in the short term this change would carry a possibility of burdening a criminal justice system that is already in crisis in a number of jurisdictions. This would obviously be an adverse outcome. However, there is a movement gaining traction around the country where repeat offender cases are being removed from criminal court completely and being addressed in an accountability/treatment model. You can read about it here. This is the type of thinking that can hopefully separate criminals from mere substance abusers in our justice system, saving millions of dollars and improving public health and safety.

I do, however, reject in absolute terms the notion that this change would “criminalize going out to bars”. There is absolutely nothing about this that stops anyone from going to a bar (or anywhere else) and drinking as much as they like…as long as they have plans for getting home that do not include driving. I PROMISE you that the alcohol industry screamed bloody murder and predicted the death of all bars when the limit dropped down to 0.08. Europe is FULL of bars, and there really isn’t public transport waiting outside of each and every one of them waiting to whisk patrons home safely around the clock.

5 Velvet Elvis  Mon, Sep 2, 2013 1:16:58am

I’m going to play the “nanny state” card here.

My primary hobby is going to dive bars, listening to really loud music, and drinking 5-6 beers over the course of a several hours. If I have any doubt about my ability to drive home, I’ll call a cab. I’ve been doing this for 20 years so I know damn well when I’m OK to drive and when I’m not. There is no public transportation and any friends I have will either be too trashed to drive or in bed by the time I need a ride. If anything, I end up being the designated driver because I can keep myself under control.

0.8 works well. I can pace myself to that. 0.5 eliminates session drinking, which you should know as a long established European tradition, entirely.

Oh, and weaving a bit while you walk can get you a PD charge. It happened to me. If you walk a half mile drunk, you’re more likely to attract police attention than if you drive a half mile drunk.

6 Velvet Elvis  Mon, Sep 2, 2013 1:24:27am

Oh, and are you really saying that somebody who has three beers in two hours should be treated as a substance abuser?

Dude, I know addiction well and up close. I’ve beat it. Putting someone in substance abuse treatment for driving with over a 0.5 isn’t just a waste of resources, it diverts resources away from people with real substance abuse problems.

7 Lidane  Mon, Sep 2, 2013 7:29:02am

re: #4 bratwurst

I do, however, reject in absolute terms the notion that this change would “criminalize going out to bars”.

Sure it does. Using an online BAC calculator, a 135lb woman hits .05 when she has three glasses of wine over a three hour period. A 150 lb man hits .05 after four beers in three hours. Even if someone paces themselves and drinks slowly, avoiding shots, mixed drinks, or binging on booze, they’d still be considered legally drunk. That criminalizes social drinking and only burdens the legal system.

I understand wanting to reduce drunk driving deaths, but lowering the legal limit again doesn’t do anything to solve the problem. It just adds to an overburdened system. And sending what amounts to social drinkers to a substance abuse program or to AA (a common probation requirement) doesn’t do anything but waste people’s time. It punishes the wrong people.

8 William Barnett-Lewis  Mon, Sep 2, 2013 8:36:46am

If you wish to go back to prohibition, fine, but say so. This is simply an attempt to force bars out of business by criminalizing anyone who attempts to go to them. Look at Lidane’s numbers and then think if you really want do this. if you do, again fine - just realize you’re going to destroy lives in the name of saving lives.

9 kerFuFFler  Mon, Sep 2, 2013 10:03:28am

Perhaps a possible compromise would be for the .05 limit to be in place when drivers are on freeways or driving over 40 mph. And .08 could apply on side streets where the speed limit is typically about 30 to 35 mph. Fatalities are usually on high speed stretches, so changing the requirements for freeways and highways might make sense.

10 bratwurst  Mon, Sep 2, 2013 10:12:23am

I can honestly say that I am not at all in favor of prohibition. What I would like to see is a country like those I have lived in abroad: a place where the vast majority of adults will not have more than one drink before driving. This would require a change of American culture, yes. I remain convinced we would all be better off with this change.

Since the legal BAC came down to .08, the number of drunk driving deaths here has remained constant at 10000. All of these deaths are, of course, tragic. I am especially concerned with the percentage made up of people who AREN’T drunk drivers. The Century Council (an alcohol industry group) states that in 2011 27% of all drunk driving deaths were car occupants NOT driving (2,661), and 7% were not in cars at all (710), with an average of one person dying in a drunk driving fatality every 53 minutes.

I respect the fact that several fellow lizards obviously disagree with me here. Anyone care to take a crack at something that might work in reducing drunk driving deaths?

11 Decatur Deb  Mon, Sep 2, 2013 10:14:56am

re: #10 bratwurst

Stop trying to attack the drinking, and go after the driving. Confiscate the license on second offense, confiscate car on third.

12 Randall Gross  Mon, Sep 2, 2013 10:30:35am

Yet another reason that we need cars that drive for us.

13 Randall Gross  Mon, Sep 2, 2013 10:32:59am

re: #9 kerFuFFler

Perhaps a possible compromise would be for the .05 limit to be in place when drivers are on freeways or driving over 40 mph. And .08 could apply on side streets where the speed limit is typically about 30 to 35 mph. Fatalities are usually on high speed stretches, so changing the requirements for freeways and highways might make sense.

The problem with that approach is that it’s safer to drive on the freeway than on any city street when you consider others. (Pedestrians, children playing, other cars going different directions, bicycles aren’t found on freeways.)

14 CarleeCork  Mon, Sep 2, 2013 10:40:59am

Over 300 deaths a year. How many people die each year from accidental shootings?

Perspective is needed.

15 subterraneanhomesickalien  Mon, Sep 2, 2013 3:59:49pm

...

16 Dark_Falcon  Mon, Sep 2, 2013 4:26:06pm

re: #12 Randall Gross

Yet another reason that we need cars that drive for us.

That won’t be a popular idea at all. It’s not just the obvious opportunity such a scheme presents for government control, but also that such a system would be FAR too vulnerable to electronic sabotage.

17 b_sharp  Mon, Sep 2, 2013 6:39:52pm

re: #8 William Barnett-Lewis

If you wish to go back to prohibition, fine, but say so. This is simply an attempt to force bars out of business by criminalizing anyone who attempts to go to them. Look at Lidane’s numbers and then think if you really want do this. if you do, again fine - just realize you’re going to destroy lives in the name of saving lives.

Bull shit.

Our legal limit is .04.
No bars went out of business because of it.

At one time I could drive down the streets at 3:00am and see half a dozen drunk drivers, last few times I drove at that time I saw none.

It will not cause the sky to fall.

18 SpaceJesus  Mon, Sep 2, 2013 7:41:36pm

You can already be convicted of DWI for having a .04 BAC or even none at all under the “impaired to the slightest degree” standard that most (if not all) states already have. This seems a bit odd.

19 Amory Blaine  Mon, Sep 2, 2013 8:21:26pm

IDK. 0.05 is real low like cough medicine before a sip of sacramental wine low. Instead of more punishment, I would like to see more funding, drastic, towards getting mental help towards repeat offenders. Repeat drunk drivers are the worst offenders and the greatest danger. Locking them up is not effective. Mental health has been neglected too long. The next phase in the battle for drunk driving is help.

20 Amory Blaine  Mon, Sep 2, 2013 8:22:06pm

re: #16 Dark_Falcon

That won’t be a popular idea at all. It’s not just the obvious opportunity such a scheme presents for government control, but also that such a system would be FAR too vulnerable to electronic sabotage.

It won’t need sabotage if it runs on windows.

////

21 Political Atheist  Mon, Sep 2, 2013 9:04:53pm

re: #4 bratwurst

First of all, MADD has nothing to do with this and is not even taking a position.

I got curious because I thought I remembered MADD backing this some time ago. But I was wrong. They oppose it.

MADD Founder: Don’t Lower the Legal BAC Limit
Candace Lightner says criminalizing .05 BAC level would be ‘a waste of time’

theatlanticwire.com

Advocates can be opaque in motive. Setting that aside a moment. This convinces me we just don’t need to-

“Under the current law, you’re guilty if you provide a sample of over .08 or higher, but you’re still guilty if you’re impaired at a lower level,” Talpins pointed out, meaning that the lower limit would only affect people below .08 who do not appear impaired.

22 bratwurst  Mon, Sep 2, 2013 9:44:31pm

re: #21 Political Atheist

I got curious because I thought I remembered MADD backing this some time ago. But I was wrong. They oppose it.

Please do not confused MADD with Candy Lightner. She has not had a formal relationship with MADD in decades. The Chicago Tribune article that prompted me to post this page states that MADD is not taking a stand on this, and there is certainly nothing to indicate otherwise on the organization website.

I remain unashamedly idealistic that we can live in a country someday where the vast majority of adults will almost never get behind the after more than one drink period, as is the case in much of the rest of the world.

23 Absalom, Absalom, Obdicut  Tue, Sep 3, 2013 4:35:55am

re: #16 Dark_Falcon

That won’t be a popular idea at all. It’s not just the obvious opportunity such a scheme presents for government control, but also that such a system would be FAR too vulnerable to electronic sabotage.

How is a car that drives itself more vulnerable to sabotage than a car that doesn’t?


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