By JG Vibes
May 17, 2013
The government is here to help again, and as usual they are probobly going to make a lot of money, and fill a lot of their cages in the process.
A federal agency’s recommendation to lower the legal limit is drawing some opposition. The National Transportation Safety Board says the recommendation could cut the number of DUI deaths but not everyone is on board. If the NTSB has its way, the legal limit could drop from .08 to .05 across the country.
“Studies have shown if you can bring it down to .05, you can significantly reduce the number of fatalities and accidents on our nation’s highways,” said one official.
As it stands right now the way that the state deals with drunk driving is tyrannical and infringes upon everyone’s rights, even people like myself, who don’t drink at all. To lower the limit even more would be insane, and it is obvious when things are done like this that the government isn’t concerned about anyone’s safety, they are just looking for another excuse to fill their pockets and their jail cells. Recently economist Jeffrey Tucker wrote an article on this subject and discussed the problems with the status quo while offering some solutions as well.
Laws against drunk driving have vastly expanded police power and done nothing to stop the practice. The best prevention against unsafe driving from drinking has been provided privately: friends, services offered by bars and restaurants, community interest groups, etc. This is the humane and rational way societies deal with social risks. The police have only messed up this process by adding a coercive element that targets liberty rather than crime.
And we can see where this is heading. Texting is now illegal in most places. So is talking on the phone. Maybe talking itself should be illegal. Some communities are talking about banning eating. All of this is a distraction from the real issue.
If our ultimate goals are to reduce driver impairment and maximize highway safety, we should be punishing reckless driving. It shouldn’t matter if it’s caused by alcohol, sleep deprivation, prescription medication, text messaging, or road rage. If lawmakers want to stick it to dangerous drivers who threaten everyone else on the road, they can dial up the civil and criminal liability for reckless driving, especially in cases that result in injury or property damage.
Doing away with the specific charge of drunk driving sounds radical at first blush, but it would put the focus back on impairment, where it belongs. It might repair some of the civil-liberties damage done by the invasive powers the government says it needs to catch and convict drunk drivers. If the offense were reckless driving rather than drunk driving, for example, repeated swerving over the median line would be enough to justify the charge. There would be no need for a cop to jam a needle in your arm alongside a busy highway.
Scrapping the DWI offense in favor of better enforcement of reckless driving laws would also bring some logical consistency to our laws, which treat a driver with a BAC of 0.08 much more harshly than, say, a driver distracted by his kids or a cell phone call, despite similar levels of impairment. The punishable act should be violating road rules or causing an accident, not the factors that led to those offenses. Singling out alcohol impairment for extra punishment isn’t about making the roads safer. It’s about a lingering hostility toward demon rum.
There is no doubt that drunk driving should be discouraged and that solutions to prevent people from driving drunk should be explored. However it is entirely possible to do this without violating anyone’s rights in the process.
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J.G. Vibes is the author of an 87 chapter counter-culture textbook called Alchemy of the Modern Renaissance, a staff writer, reporter for dev-test.intellihub.com and Executive Producer of the Bob Tuskin Radio Show. You can keep up with his work, which includes free podcasts, free e-books & free audiobooks at his website www.aotmr.com
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