Author Topic: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?  (Read 2242 times)

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Offline kirksnosehair

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"Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« on: May 14, 2013, 01:57:45 PM »
I don't drink any more and haven't in quite a while, but I used to.  I was always very careful about not driving drunk.  But there are plenty of times when I went to the bar after work with friends and had a couple of beers then went home.  I am absolutely positive that in those instances I was not impaired in any way, shape or form.  And I've never been stopped for drunk driving.  In fact, I've only been pulled over twice in my entire life.  And once was for a busted tail light.


Anyway, I saw this report on CNN.com today and even though I don't drink, I found the idea behind this to be kind of....extreme.


The story is here: https://www.cnn.com/2013/05/14/us/ntsb-blood-alcohol/index.html?hpt=hp_t2


Quote from: CNN.com

Washington (CNN) -- A decade-old benchmark for determining when a driver is legally drunk should be lowered in an effort to reduce alcohol-related car crashes that claim about 10,000 lives each year, U.S. safety investigators said on Tuesday.


The National Transportation Safety Board recommended that all 50 states lower the threshold from 0.08 blood-alcohol content (BAC) to 0.05.


The idea is part of a safety board initiative outlined in a staff report and approved by the panel to eliminate drunk driving, which accounts for about a third of all road deaths.


The board acknowledged that there was "no silver bullet," but that more action is needed.


"This is critical because impaired driving remains one of the biggest killers in the United States," NTSB Chairman Debbie Hersman said ahead of a vote by the panel on a staff report.


Hersman said progress has been made over the years to reduce drunk driving, including a range of federal and state policies, tougher law enforcement, and stepped up national advocacy. But she said too many people are still dying on America's roads in alcohol-related crashes.


Lowering the rate to 0.05 would save about 500 to 800 lives annually, the safety board report said.


"In the last 30 years, more than 440,000 people have perished in this country due to alcohol-impaired driving. What will be our legacy 30 years from now?" Hersman asked. "If we don't tackle alcohol-impaired driving now, when will we find the will to do so?"


Under current law, a 180-pound male typically will hit the 0.08 threshold after four drinks over an hour, according to an online blood alcohol calculator published by the University of Oklahoma. That same person could reach the 0.05 threshold after two to three drinks over the same period, according to the calculator.


Many factors besides gender and weight influence a person's blood alcohol content level. And many states outlaw lower levels of inebriation when behind the wheel.


The NTSB investigates transportation accidents and advocates on safety issues. It cannot impose its will through regulation and can only recommend changes to federal and state agencies or legislatures, including Congress.


But the independent agency is influential on matters of public safety and its decisions can spur action from like-minded legislators and transportation agencies nationwide. States set their own BAC standards.


The board also recommended on Tuesday that states vastly expand laws allowing police to swiftly confiscate licenses from drivers who exceed the blood alcohol limits.


And it is pushing for laws requiring all first-time offenders to have ignition locking devices that prevent cars from starting until breath samples are analyzed.


In the early 1980s, when grass-roots safety groups brought attention to drunk driving, many states required a 0.15 BAC rate to demonstrated intoxication.


But over the next 24 years, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other groups pushed states to adopt the 0.08 BAC standard, the last state falling in line in 2004.


The number of alcohol-related highway fatalities, meanwhile, dropped from 20,000 in 1980 to 9,878 in 2011, the NTSB said.


In recent years, about 31 percent of all fatal highway accidents are attributed to alcohol impairment, the NTSB said. But most of the decline in highway deaths occurred in the first decade.


"I think .05 is going to come. How long it takes to get there, we don't know. But it will happen," said the NTSB's Robert Molloy, who helped guide the staff report.


For some, the vote struck close to home.


NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt noted that one of his relatives had been killed by a drunk driver, and another is serving a 15-year sentence in a related death.


Many of the recommendations "are going to be unpopular," Sumwalt said. "But if we keep doing what we're doing, we're not going to make any difference."


The NTSB said even very low levels of alcohol impair drivers.


At 0.01 BAC, drivers in simulators demonstrate attention problems and lane deviations. At 0.02, they exhibit drowsiness, and at 0.04, vigilance problems.


A restaurant trade association attacked the main recommendation, saying the average woman reaches 0.05 percent BAC after consuming one drink.


"This recommendation is ludicrous," Sarah Longwell, managing director of the American Beverage Institute, said in a statement. "Moving from 0.08 to 0.05 would criminalize perfectly responsible behavior."


Longwell said the focus should remain on drivers with higher BAC percentages.


"A little over a decade ago, we lowered our legal limit from 0.1 percent after groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving assured the country that, based on all the science, 0.08 BAC was absolutely, unequivocally where the legal threshold should be set for drunk driving. Has the science changed? Or have anti-alcohol activists simply set their sights on a new goal?" Longwell asked.


The safety board also recommend to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it provide financial incentives to states to implement the changes.


At Tuesday's meeting, the safety board also championed laws allowing police to confiscate a motorist's license at the time of arrest if the driver exceeds a BAC limit, or refuses to take the BAC test.


Some 40 states already use the administrative tool, which the NTSB believes is effective because it is swift and immediate.
And the board recommended more widespread use of passive alcohol sensors, which police can use to "sniff" the air during a traffic stop to determine the presence of alcohol.


The sensor is capable of detecting alcohol even in cases where the driver has attempted to disguise his breathe with gum or mints. If the sensor alerts, it is grounds for more thorough testing.


The NTSB timed the recommendation to coincide with the deadliest alcohol-related highway crash in U.S. history.


On May 14, 1988, a drunk driver drove his pickup the wrong way on Interstate 71 near Carrollton, Kentucky. The truck hit a school bus, killing 24 children and three adults and injured 34 others.






Again, I am definitely strongly against drunk driving.  But I find it kind of absurd that "two beers in an hour" makes every single person legally drunk.


Am I the only one that thinks this is a bit over the top?



Offline rumborak

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2013, 02:02:10 PM »
I honestly don't care either way. Anybody who drinks 3 beers in one hour and steps into a car is an idiot. At least among my friends the Golden Rule is "2 beers at best, and no beer for an hour before you drive".
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2013, 02:04:53 PM »
I am for anything that gets drinkers off the road.  Want to drive home?  Then don't drink. 

I stand by my opinion that alcohol is a much bigger problem in this country than guns, but good luck getting rid of either (we know how prohibition went, and we see how the gun control thing is going).

They ought to address texting while you are driving, while they are at it. 

Offline El Barto

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2013, 02:07:08 PM »
I've got a pretty strong opinion on the matter, but very little time. For now I'll just say that I don't think people consider BAC when deciding whether or not to drive. The people who do drive after drinking either think they're fine, and lowering the threshold won't change that, or they just don't care. My estimate is that lowering the threshold will result in more arrests, but no real decrease in people drinking and driving.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2013, 02:09:34 PM »
I've got a pretty strong opinion on the matter, but very little time. For now I'll just say that I don't think people consider BAC when deciding whether or not to drive. The people who do drive after drinking either think they're fine, and lowering the threshold won't change that, or they just don't care. My estimate is that lowering the threshold will result in more arrests, but no real decrease in people drinking and driving.

I disagree.  I think knowing that just a couple of drinks might put them over the limit might prevent some from drinking at all, kind of like how people often resist drinking at all once word gets out earlier that day that there will be sobriety checkpoints all over the place that night.  I am not saying the decrease will be huge, but I think it will make a dent, and that is a good start.

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2013, 02:10:56 PM »
I honestly don't care either way. Anybody who drinks 3 beers in one hour and steps into a car is an idiot. At least among my friends the Golden Rule is "2 beers at best, and no beer for an hour before you drive".


Yeah, that's about where I sit as well.  I just don't think your average 180 pound person is "drunk" after having consumed two beers over a 60 minute period.  To me, the current impairment standard is adequate.

Offline yorost

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2013, 02:29:45 PM »
BAC is a stupid measure as far as trying to judge if someone is impaired or not, but what else are they going to do that's simple to test and easy to understand? As BAC gets higher people lose coordination, so I'm fine with it, but setting any single number as a threshold will never be fair (except 0 or so high you're dead, of course).  They need something simple, but everybody has a personal limit from body type and built tolerance. Three drinks in an hour and I'd be better off to drive than if my wife had 1/4 of a drink in that hour, but my BAC would be much higher. She just has no tolerance, I wouldn't trust her on the road with any BAC over 0.

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2013, 02:34:43 PM »
They can lower it as low as they want. Until you neuter the abilty to pay a lawyer to get you DUI/DWI changed to a parking ticket it's not going to matter. It's ridiculous that any alcohol related offense can be bargained away as long as you have the cash. And I say this knowing my brother, AND wife have done it. Both were 21, both got. DUI...both paid out the booty and got some BS moving violation.
  Until the consequences are enforced more strictly I don't see how lowering the limit is going to change anything other than creating more clients for lawyers.
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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2013, 02:44:00 PM »
BAC is a stupid measure as far as trying to judge if someone is impaired or not, but what else are they going to do that's simple to test and easy to understand? As BAC gets higher people lose coordination, so I'm fine with it, but setting any single number as a threshold will never be fair (except 0 or so high you're dead, of course).  They need something simple, but everybody has a personal limit from body type and built tolerance. Three drinks in an hour and I'd be better off to drive than if my wife had 1/4 of a drink in that hour, but my BAC would be much higher. She just has no tolerance, I wouldn't trust her on the road with any BAC over 0.


That's a good point, and kind of what I was trying to imply.  I think tolerance definitely impacts impairment, regardless of BAC.  I could be wrong, but I am 100% unequivocally positive that I would be able to pass any subjective field sobriety tests after having consumed two beers in the course of an hour.  For me a moot point anyway, because bars were never really my thing as I did probably 98% of my "drinking" at home, but I know I drove home plenty of times with a couple of beers under my belt and I never felt impaired. 




Offline Chino

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2013, 02:57:49 PM »
I could drink 4 beers in 30 minutes and you'd never know. It takes 11 beers to get me to .08. I've tested this.

Offline El Barto

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2013, 03:29:37 PM »
I sense another gun thread coming up, but this time I won't even have GMD on my side.  :lol  Everybody here has seen me state that I think DWI enforcement is bullshit. When asked why, I say I'm not going to derail a thread about it and move on. I guess now's the time.

As Yorost said, BAC is a pretty weak way to determine impairment. It really has little to do with it, in fact. I'm all for getting impaired drivers off the road, but that includes plenty of people much more hazardous than plenty of people who's only fault is blowing a .08. Everybody's going to disagree with me, but I'm very much of the opinion that a good driver with a .08 BAC is far safer than a shitty driver (meaning average) stone cold sober. Once you factor in bad drivers eating breakfast, dicking with the radio, sending text messages and yacking about nonsense to distract from the tedium of driving, it's no comparison. At least the .08 crowd is trying.

The problem is that MADD, in fighting a laudable battle, sought to win by turning DWI enforcement into a for-profit enterprise. When law enforcement is profit-driven, you lose twice. You enforce one law arbitrarily to a set goal, and you don't enforce other laws that get in the way of your money. DWI is the single best way to earn money across the board (although drug interdiction is pretty good, as well). You've got lawyers getting rich. Cities getting rich. Insurance companies getting rich. Police departments getting rich. All at the expense of a group that nobody dare defend. In the mean time, you've got 2/3 of the accidents and fatalities that aren't alcohol related* that get very little attention. Has anybody ever heard of a distracted driving roadblock? Doesn't happen. Distracting driving is an intangible. DWI has a nice, bright (albeit arbitrary) line, and system streamlined to shake down anybody who falls on the wrong side of it.


*The alcohol related part is also pretty sketchy. The NHTSA uses some pretty dodgy numbers, which significantly inflate the number of so-called alcohol related accidents. I'm not suggesting that there isn't a problem, mind you, but misleading people about the extent of it is never the right solution.
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Offline Chino

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2013, 03:39:35 PM »
. Everybody's going to disagree with me, but I'm very much of the opinion that a good driver with a .08 BAC is far safer than a shitty driver (meaning average) stone cold sober. Once you factor in bad drivers eating breakfast, dicking with the radio, sending text messages and yacking about nonsense to distract from the tedium of driving, it's no comparison. At least the .08 crowd is trying.



I agree with you. I'm a firm believer that a stoned driver is the safest driver on the road. Back in the day my friends and I drove around fucked on everything you could imagine. We never had a single accident, not one, out of literally hundreds of hour driving around. Between the three of them (I'm clean and not included), they have totaled 5 cars and have caused 9 other accidents while sober... More often than not being impaired makes you focus... something that is near impossible for many sober people to do.

Offline Cool Chris

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2013, 03:40:12 PM »
Saw this, and not sure what to make of it. I was hit with a DUI in 1998, knowing that I was inebriated, and thinking I was invulnerable (what 22 year old doesn’t?). I have been pulled over twice while out at bar. Answered a couple questions once, did the flashing-in-the-eye test the other time. No problems, tickets, etc…  I agree an across the board BAC level isn’t very accurate, but neither is the driving age. I’d trust some 15 year olds behind the wheel before some 35 year olds. But there does need to be some standard. (edit: wrote this before seeing EB's post)

Also, agree with gmiller, it’s like most crimes. The poor will face stiffer punishments than the rich.

Irrelevant, but interesting:

https://www.drunkard.com/issues/10_06/10_06_andre_giant.html

You won’t find it in the Guinness Book of World Records, but Andre the Giant holds the world record for the largest number of beers consumed in a single sitting. These were standard 12-ounce bottles of beer, nothing fancy, but during a six-hour period Andre drank 119 of them.

And…..

[Prior to surgery…] the anesthesiologist was frantic. He had never put a person of Andre’s size under the gas before and had no idea how much to use. Various experts were brought in but no solution presented itself until one of the doctors asked Andre if he was a drinker. Andre responded that, yes, he’d been known to tip a glass from time to time. The doctor then wanted to know how much Andre drank and how much it took to get him drunk.

“Well,” rumbled the Giant, “It usually takes two liters of vodka just to make me feel warm inside.”

And thus was a solution found. The gas-passer was able to extrapolate a correct mixture for Andre by analyzing his alcohol intake. It was a medical breakthrough, and the system is still used to this day.
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Offline carl320

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2013, 03:45:50 PM »
I've heard someone say once, "I'm a much better driver after I've had one beer."
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Offline El Barto

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2013, 03:53:47 PM »
Saw this, and not sure what to make of it. I was hit with a DUI in 1998, knowing that I was inebriated, and thinking I was invulnerable (what 22 year old doesn’t?). I have been pulled over twice while out at bar. Answered a couple questions once, did the flashing-in-the-eye test the other time. No problems, tickets, etc…  I agree an across the board BAC level isn’t very accurate, but neither is the driving age. I’d trust some 15 year olds behind the wheel before some 35 year olds. But there does need to be some standard. (edit: wrote this before seeing EB's post)

Also, agree with gmiller, it’s like most crimes. The poor will face stiffer punishments than the rich.

Irrelevant, but interesting:

https://www.drunkard.com/issues/10_06/10_06_andre_giant.html

You won’t find it in the Guinness Book of World Records, but Andre the Giant holds the world record for the largest number of beers consumed in a single sitting. These were standard 12-ounce bottles of beer, nothing fancy, but during a six-hour period Andre drank 119 of them.

And…..

[Prior to surgery…] the anesthesiologist was frantic. He had never put a person of Andre’s size under the gas before and had no idea how much to use. Various experts were brought in but no solution presented itself until one of the doctors asked Andre if he was a drinker. Andre responded that, yes, he’d been known to tip a glass from time to time. The doctor then wanted to know how much Andre drank and how much it took to get him drunk.

“Well,” rumbled the Giant, “It usually takes two liters of vodka just to make me feel warm inside.”

And thus was a solution found. The gas-passer was able to extrapolate a correct mixture for Andre by analyzing his alcohol intake. It was a medical breakthrough, and the system is still used to this day.

Poking around the forum at Officer.com I came across a thread where cops were discussing the highest BAC they'd registered. Plenty of people had busted people from .4-.5, and there were a handful of .7's in there (with .4 being the agreed upon lethal limit). What struck me about it was that with one exception, the cops who'd registered the .7's said they only administered a test as an afterthought. They really had no reason to suspect they'd been drinking at all. Incidentally, the one exception was a woman passed out in her car, and the only non-Roosky in the lot. The point is that BAC doesn't seem to account for tolerance, so Russians and professional drinkers throw that whole thing off.

Never thought about it, but I suppose Asians would skew the opposite direction.
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Offline Chino

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2013, 04:05:16 PM »
Saw this, and not sure what to make of it. I was hit with a DUI in 1998, knowing that I was inebriated, and thinking I was invulnerable (what 22 year old doesn’t?). I have been pulled over twice while out at bar. Answered a couple questions once, did the flashing-in-the-eye test the other time. No problems, tickets, etc…  I agree an across the board BAC level isn’t very accurate, but neither is the driving age. I’d trust some 15 year olds behind the wheel before some 35 year olds. But there does need to be some standard. (edit: wrote this before seeing EB's post)

Also, agree with gmiller, it’s like most crimes. The poor will face stiffer punishments than the rich.

Irrelevant, but interesting:

https://www.drunkard.com/issues/10_06/10_06_andre_giant.html

You won’t find it in the Guinness Book of World Records, but Andre the Giant holds the world record for the largest number of beers consumed in a single sitting. These were standard 12-ounce bottles of beer, nothing fancy, but during a six-hour period Andre drank 119 of them.

And…..

[Prior to surgery…] the anesthesiologist was frantic. He had never put a person of Andre’s size under the gas before and had no idea how much to use. Various experts were brought in but no solution presented itself until one of the doctors asked Andre if he was a drinker. Andre responded that, yes, he’d been known to tip a glass from time to time. The doctor then wanted to know how much Andre drank and how much it took to get him drunk.

“Well,” rumbled the Giant, “It usually takes two liters of vodka just to make me feel warm inside.”

And thus was a solution found. The gas-passer was able to extrapolate a correct mixture for Andre by analyzing his alcohol intake. It was a medical breakthrough, and the system is still used to this day.

Poking around the forum at Officer.com I came across a thread where cops were discussing the highest BAC they'd registered. Plenty of people had busted people from .4-.5, and there were a handful of .7's in there (with .4 being the agreed upon lethal limit). What struck me about it was that with one exception, the cops who'd registered the .7's said they only administered a test as an afterthought. They really had no reason to suspect they'd been drinking at all. Incidentally, the one exception was a woman passed out in her car, and the only non-Roosky in the lot. The point is that BAC doesn't seem to account for tolerance, so Russians and professional drinkers throw that whole thing off.

Never thought about it, but I suppose Asians would skew the opposite direction.

I have been removed from a car and given a half dozen sobriety test until I finally said "I've had nothing to drink, can you just breathalyze me so I can get out of here?". I honestly had nothing to drink. I couldn't believe how hard of a time I was being given. I wasn't even doing any prior to it. I was rolling through a sobriety checkpoint, asked the cop how he was doing, and was then told to pull off to the side.

Barto... are you registered on that forum?

Offline El Barto

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2013, 04:11:05 PM »
Barto... are you registered on that forum?
Nah, they're not interested in discussion over there. No matter how reasonable I could be, I'd be dismissed as a troll after 5 posts, so there's no point in trying. As long as that's the case I'd just as soon they not even know who I am.
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Offline Chino

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2013, 04:13:24 PM »
Barto... are you registered on that forum?
Nah, they're not interested in discussion over there. No matter how reasonable I could be, I'd be dismissed as a troll after 5 posts, so there's no point in trying. As long as that's the case I'd just as soon they not even know who I am.

I say go for it. You present yourself in an intelligent manner. I think you'd get respect. I'd like to try just for the sake of being able to search.


Responses like this scare me "I hook a ton of folks for being under the influence of a controlled substance, but almost no one does any time. I just figure it gets them off the street, continues their paper trails for when they do get popped for sales or transpo, and it gives me an arrest stat.

I strive to take at least one person to jail per day I work, and the UI's come in handy in a pinch."

Offline El Barto

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2013, 04:16:58 PM »
Believe me when I tell you that just doesn't matter. No matter how intelligent, polite and factually correct you are, if you don't say something favorable about LEO you're just a troll to them. A consequence of the mentality that everybody's out to get them.
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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2013, 04:49:15 PM »
It is a forum for them, though. Going there just to challenge their community is sort of being a troll.

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2013, 05:18:50 PM »
It is a forum for them, though. Going there just to challenge their community is sort of being a troll.
Yes and no. They have a public and private forum, with the latter being for cops only. If they're going to have a public forum and post in it, then they have to expect a divergent set of ideas. Otherwise, what's the point of an "ask a cop" forum?


I've got a pretty strong opinion on the matter, but very little time. For now I'll just say that I don't think people consider BAC when deciding whether or not to drive. The people who do drive after drinking either think they're fine, and lowering the threshold won't change that, or they just don't care. My estimate is that lowering the threshold will result in more arrests, but no real decrease in people drinking and driving.

I disagree.  I think knowing that just a couple of drinks might put them over the limit might prevent some from drinking at all, kind of like how people often resist drinking at all once word gets out earlier that day that there will be sobriety checkpoints all over the place that night.  I am not saying the decrease will be huge, but I think it will make a dent, and that is a good start.
I neglected to respond to this. My opinion is that people don't drink with BAC in mind. They drink with impairment in mind. Most people will try to drink up to the point where they feel they shouldn't drink anymore. Maybe it's because they're fixing to puke all over some hot girl. Maybe because they have to drive. Maybe because all they wanted was two glasses of wine with dinner. If you think about it, drinking with regards to BAC is sort of a crapshoot anyway. Nobody ever knows what their BAC is, so an educated guess based on their impairment is really all they have to go on.
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Offline j

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2013, 05:46:04 PM »
The absent-minded driving threshold should be lowered.  Well, it should be made to exist first.

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2013, 06:26:51 PM »
They ought to address texting while you are driving, while they are at it.
I hate to be offtopic, but that's an interesting situation when you're not allowed to text and drive, yet the police do it all the damn time. That's frustrating as hell.

/end offtopicness
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Offline rumborak

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #23 on: May 14, 2013, 06:35:40 PM »
I can't say I've ever seen a cop text and drive.
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Offline El Barto

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #24 on: May 14, 2013, 06:45:25 PM »
Despite their training in advanced driving techniques, cops are actually pretty lousy with the day to day stuff. They're almost always on their phones, and if not they're fiddling with their MDT. I don't recall seeing one of them texting, but I see them typing all the time. Considering that driving is far and away the most dangerous part of their job, you'd think they'd do something about that.
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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #25 on: May 14, 2013, 06:46:38 PM »
I can't say I've ever seen a cop text and drive.
Without exaggerating, I've seen close to a hundred or so over the years (I live in a fairly small town of ~25,000).

Despite their training in advanced driving techniques, cops are actually pretty lousy with the day to day stuff. They're almost always on their phones, and if not they're fiddling with their MDT. I don't recall seeing one of them texting, but I see them typing all the time. Considering that driving is far and away the most dangerous part of their job, you'd think they'd do something about that.
Exactly my point. It's ridiculous. It also goes along with the belief that some police officers think they are above the law, but that's another discussion.

With actually being on topic, I think that lowering the BAC legal limit isn't going to do anything but result in more arrests/fines/jailtime for people that are caught with a DUI. Its not going to stop the drinkers that would go out, get hammered, and then drive home anyway. It might scare people into not drinking a beer or two for fear of being over the legal limit. Someone like myself, despite being 5'11" 160lbs, needs 4-5 beers before I start to feel anything, but that doesn't take into account what my BAC is at that point (I don't know). So it just reinforces the thought that BAC doesn't matter and that it is all about tolerance and what each person can tolerate. The threshold that determines whether or not someone is "drunk" (or impaired) is going to be different with each person.
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Offline kirksnosehair

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #26 on: May 15, 2013, 08:57:19 AM »
BAC is a terrible way to measure impairment.  But what else is there that has any chance of being objective?  Field sobriety testing is primarily an exercise in subjective observations.


This is why I think lowering the legal BAC limit is a terrible idea.


What's going to probably end up happening is a lot of people who were not truly impaired are going to end up getting pinched for DUI.






Offline El Barto

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2013, 09:13:29 AM »
BAC is a terrible way to measure impairment.  But what else is there that has any chance of being objective?  Field sobriety testing is primarily an exercise in subjective observations.


This is why I think lowering the legal BAC limit is a terrible idea.


What's going to probably end up happening is a lot of people who were not truly impaired are going to end up getting pinched for DUI.
My best suggestion would be a combination of the objective and subjective. As it is now, FST's are only a means to a conviction. All it does is provide dashcam video to use in court. Cops will bust anybody* with a .08 since that's there's a financial incentive to do so. My guess is that if the monetary aspect were removed, you'd see a much more discriminate enforcement. Cops don't like dealing with drunk people. They'll do it if there's a public safety reason or if they're instructed to. If it's reduced down to the public safety component, I think cops will do a better job of sorting out the actually impaired vs. the legally impaired.

*unless you're another cop or a local hero
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Offline rumborak

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #28 on: May 15, 2013, 12:09:03 PM »
My best suggestion would be a combination of the objective and subjective.

If subjective measures were allowed, no offense, you'd be the first to scream bloody murder because of capriciousness. It just has to be an objective measure, and BAC is a pretty decent proxy for mental capability. In fact I'm rather disturbed how people here are tripping over themselves to assert they're still fully capable of driving after X beers. Human over-confidence is the key issue in drunk driving.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #29 on: May 15, 2013, 12:15:37 PM »
  In fact I'm rather disturbed how people here are tripping over themselves to assert they're still fully capable of driving after X beers. Human over-confidence is the key issue in drunk driving.

Amen to that!  Man, if I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say that they can handle so-many beers/drinks/whatever and still be fine to drive, I'd be richer than Donald Trump.

Offline El Barto

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #30 on: May 15, 2013, 12:21:33 PM »
My best suggestion would be a combination of the objective and subjective.

If subjective measures were allowed, no offense, you'd be the first to scream bloody murder because of capriciousness. It just has to be an objective measure, and BAC is a pretty decent proxy for mental capability. In fact I'm rather disturbed how people here are tripping over themselves to assert they're still fully capable of driving after X beers. Human over-confidence is the key issue in drunk driving.
Despite my dislike for cops, I do know that by and large they have an interest in public safety. I also know they'd rather not have to deal with drunks. Do I trust them to always be honest and reasonable? Fuck no. Do I trust them to sort out the dangerous drunks from the harmless ones? Certainly. And keep in mind, the BAC would still be there. I'm merely suggesting that it be one factor, as opposed to the only factor due to the monetary incentive to bust DUIs.

And over-confidence is one factor. Another is "don't give a shit." Plenty of people who drive drunk are under no illusion that they're impaired.

As for the overall point of people being "fine to drive," that's a relative thing. Is a person after 3 beers as good a driver as they are sober? Usually not. Are they a danger? Depends. As I said before, they're not necessarily any more dangerous that most of the other drivers on the road, who by and large suck. We as a society have never had any concern about insuring that every driver is at the top of their game at all times. If you're going to insist that anybody who under current circumstances isn't as good as he could be can't drive, then you're going to institute quite a few massive changes in how transportation works in this country.
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Offline yorost

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #31 on: May 15, 2013, 03:18:41 PM »
My best suggestion would be a combination of the objective and subjective.

If subjective measures were allowed, no offense, you'd be the first to scream bloody murder because of capriciousness. It just has to be an objective measure, and BAC is a pretty decent proxy for mental capability. In fact I'm rather disturbed how people here are tripping over themselves to assert they're still fully capable of driving after X beers. Human over-confidence is the key issue in drunk driving.
I hope that's not aimed at me, included. My point was that my wife can't handle any alcohol, I just wouldn't trust her after a few sips, period. If I'm driving I either don't drink or limit consumption to not even one per hour.

Offline slycordinator

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #32 on: May 17, 2013, 11:10:32 PM »
I agree with you. I'm a firm believer that a stoned driver is the safest driver on the road. Back in the day my friends and I drove around fucked on everything you could imagine. We never had a single accident, not one, out of literally hundreds of hour driving around. Between the three of them (I'm clean and not included), they have totaled 5 cars and have caused 9 other accidents while sober... More often than not being impaired makes you focus... something that is near impossible for many sober people to do.
Stoned people are often found on the freeway doing 30 while thinking they were doing 70. And that can, actually be quite dangerous given the average speed of the people coming behind them.

Poking around the forum at Officer.com I came across a thread where cops were discussing the highest BAC they'd registered. Plenty of people had busted people from .4-.5, and there were a handful of .7's in there (with .4 being the agreed upon lethal limit). What struck me about it was that with one exception, the cops who'd registered the .7's said they only administered a test as an afterthought. They really had no reason to suspect they'd been drinking at all. Incidentally, the one exception was a woman passed out in her car, and the only non-Roosky in the lot. The point is that BAC doesn't seem to account for tolerance, so Russians and professional drinkers throw that whole thing off.
And on that same note, I saw a Dr Phil show where they had everyone in a room given as many free drinks as they wanted then were put in a driving simulation game. They were showing how bad these people got at driving based on their BAC. Also, they had recorded the behavior of the people prior.

And one guy was downing drinks left and right while having absolutely no signs of inebriation, although when drunk he appeared to display more anger towards Dr Phil. But when they went to the section showing the driving abilities and saying what each person's BAC was, they didn't show anything of the guy. I'm certain it's because he drove fine despite his BAC being higher than everyone else.

Offline El Barto

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #33 on: May 18, 2013, 09:30:22 AM »
I agree with you. I'm a firm believer that a stoned driver is the safest driver on the road. Back in the day my friends and I drove around fucked on everything you could imagine. We never had a single accident, not one, out of literally hundreds of hour driving around. Between the three of them (I'm clean and not included), they have totaled 5 cars and have caused 9 other accidents while sober... More often than not being impaired makes you focus... something that is near impossible for many sober people to do.
Stoned people are often found on the freeway doing 30 while thinking they were doing 70. And that can, actually be quite dangerous given the average speed of the people coming behind them.
Anybody incapable of discerning 30 from 70 has no business driving. However, that's highly atypical. All of the research suggests that stoned drivers are slightly impaired, but tend to compensate for it very well, making them better than average drivers, by and large.

The Aussies did a study a while back which seemed to hit the nail on the head. They advertized for volunteers on a rock radio station, and divided them into 5 groups: stoned, really stoned, absolutely stupified stoned, .08 BAC, and a control group that smoked synthetic pot which contained no get-highs. What they found was that only the stupified group performed as badly as the .08 BAC. The difference was that the drunkards all thought they did great on the test, and the stoners, even the ones who did do fine, were all concerned about how poorly they had done. The overall conclusion was that altered perception slightly lessened the stoners' ability to stay between the lines, but they were so concerned about their abilities that they modified their behavior drastically in other ways.

As it relates to your 30 on the highway scenario, anybody that stoned wouldn't drive on the highway in the first place; they'd stick to side streets. In fact, if I'd had to smoke as much as the stupified group in the above study (3 joints, solo, in a 30 minute period), I'd be scared to leave the house, much less drive on the highway. 
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Offline Perpetual Change

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Re: "Drunk Driving" Threshold: Should It Be Lowered?
« Reply #34 on: May 18, 2013, 09:46:07 AM »
I can't say I've ever seen a cop text and drive.
Oh man, I need to introduce you to my cop friend.