Alcohol

Why Don't We Incapacitate Drunk Drivers?

A drastic solution that just might work

|

As a rule, it's a bad idea to let pedophiles baby-sit, to hire embezzlers as tax collectors, or to give a pyromaniac a key to the fireworks factory. We generally try to avoid inviting dangerous people into situations that encourage them to repeat their destructive behavior. So why do we allow drunk drivers unfettered access to their cars?

That's a good question, for which New Mexico authorities had no good answer. For years, the state ranked among the very worst in the nation in alcohol-related fatalities. So three years ago, it decided a change was in order.

In the past, authorities had relied on license revocations to get drunks off the road. But here's a surprise: People who ignore laws against driving drunk also tend to ignore laws requiring them to have a valid license. For some, taking away their license had all the impact of confiscating their library card.

So the legislature, prodded by Gov. Bill Richardson, imposed a tighter constraint on those convicted of DWI: requiring a device that keeps a car from being operated by someone who's been drinking. Other states have mandated ignition interlock devices for those with multiple convictions, but New Mexico was the first to order them for all first offenders upon conviction.

The results were swift and sharp. Since the law took effect, the rate of drunk driving fatalities has dropped by nearly 20 percent. Nationally, by contrast, the rate actually rose slightly during that time. New Mexico DWI Czar Rachel O'Connor—that's her actual job title—notes that the state's campaign against drunk driving includes other steps as well, from a massive public-service ad campaign to intensive use of sobriety checkpoints. But the interlock rule has been a major factor in the improvement.

At the moment, some 7,000 New Mexicans have to pass a breath-alcohol test before they can start their cars. Adding up all the times that motorists have failed the breath test, O'Connor says, the mandate has prevented 63,000 trips by offenders who have been hitting the bottle.

Now the state has additional evidence that its approach is working as intended. A new analysis of New Mexico's experience, published in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention, finds that first offenders were 60 percent less likely to be rearrested if they had interlock devices than if they didn't. When the gadgets were removed, their recidivism rate rose to nearly the same level as those who had never had them.

That isn't terribly surprising. People who get behind the wheel of a two-ton machine when they're under the influence tend to be people with serious alcohol problems, and they tend to keep driving drunk as long as we let them. Suspending their licenses deters some, but Mothers Against Drunk Driving says research indicates that about three out of every four keep driving anyway. As MADD CEO Chuck Hurley puts it, "We need to find a way to separate their hands from the steering wheel."

Interlocks are the obvious solution. But so far, only four states have mandated them for all first offenders upon conviction.

Even then, they're not an insuperable obstacle. Determined sots can hotwire their cars, borrow vehicles or have someone else—such as a child—blow untainted carbon dioxide into the devices. Another problem, says O'Connor, is that some offenders claim to have gotten rid of their cars, signing them over to friends or relatives but retaining surreptitious use of them.

Still, the requirement does work to prevent a lot of impaired driving. And it puts no burden on taxpayers, since offenders bear the $1,000-a-year cost.

It also has benefits for the culprits. In most states, the standard method for stopping drunk drivers is to revoke their licenses so they aren't allowed to drive at all. Under this policy, they may drive all they want as long as they're stone cold sober. It incapacitates the incorrigible while sparing the repentant. A canceled license, which lets the offender police his own conduct, does just the opposite.

In 2006, more than 14,000 people across the country died in accidents involving drunk drivers. If that number strikes you as too high, interlocks for all DWI offenders is one proven way to lower it. If 14,000 sounds about right, though, then the status quo is just perfect.

COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

Advertisement

NEXT: Parks, Not People

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I’ve no problem with that.

  2. It’s a great idea. We should also prevent cars from going faster than the speed limit, and disable the automobile if they are slowly killing a child by smoking in the vehicle when there are passengers. We should also prevent gun owners from drinking — let’s find a way to save the children!!!

  3. All kidding aside, I am strongly in favor of ignition-lock devices on all new cars. All or none.

  4. I’ve noticed before that Steve Chapman’s libertarian leanings are nowhere to be seen when it comes to drunk driving.

    Not that drunk driving itself is a libertarian issue—there’s no right to drive drunk—but there are certainly some libertarian issues when it comes to enforcement, such as suspicionless traffic stops, punishment without the right to a trial, and some very hefty penalties, fees, and legal costs.

  5. It might seem reasonable – to anyone who never stops by for a couple of beers in a rural area. The truth is that in most fatalities involving alcohol, the driver is severly impaired, and well above the legal limits that result in DUI arrests. Most drivers below 0.15 are less of a hazzard on the road than the guy who had a bad day at work or just had a fight with a spouse. The guy who blew a 0.09 and got a DUI didn’t deserve the usual penalties, let alone the additional hassle and expense of an interlock device. Screw MADD (or would that make me a Mother Effer?)

  6. I was wondering where the SLD (Standard Libertarian Disclaimer) about sobriety checkpoints was, but I see that it’s really not there.

    That being said, I have a problem with the ignition interlocks and I also have a problem with people driving drunk. I also agree that just because you’ve had a couple of beers does not mean that you’re too drunk to drive. It is a tough question.

    Maybe make the penalties for driving extremely impaired particularly harsh, perhaps including the ignition interlock, on DWI’s where the driver was double the limit or whatever. But even there, the BAC is such an arbitrary indicator…

  7. I think that issues concerning the proper legal limit should be separate from a question of penalties; installing ignition-lock devices as a condition of DUI offenders driving seems completely sane and reasonable to me. And Sally, I wonder if you support allowing people who commit crimes with guns the same access to firearms as those who don’t. If we accept prison as appropriate punishment for some crimes, I don’t see why we wouldn’t also accept a smaller loss of liberty that is more exactly linked to the crime that was perpetrated. Without the whole responsibility thing, liberty is really not possible.

  8. Sobriety checkpoints: bad.
    0.08 BAC for DUI: bad.
    Mothers Against Drunk Drivers: bad.
    Ignition interlock devices: good.

    That’s my concise opinion on this subject.

  9. Although there certainly arises a potential difficulty with the enforcement procedure here, being as it is a way for government to restrict our ability to move around freely, and that this could perhaps extend to the entire population, we also have to think of it economically.

    In terms of economics, drunk driving constitutes a form of “neighborhood effects,” that is to say, someone’s impairment from drunkenness whilst driving is something that no other person on the road can voluntarily agree to.

    For this reason, even we libertarians ought to applaud stringent drunk-driving laws. There is good reason to be concerned about any state-mandated device on cars, which necessitates a statute and not mere “precedent.”

  10. If the standard is reducing drunk driving fatalities, yeah, why restrict these devices to people with drunk driving records?

    Apparently living in a free society entails accepting a certain amount of risk.

    In terms of incapacitating drunks, how do interlocks stack up against felony convictions?

  11. Ken&Tommy:

    When the device costs 1k$ apiece, it might be a good (in the cost/effectiveness sense) idea to install it only in some cars (say, those where for some reason we suspect it might be useful), not in every one, right?

  12. The interlocks which are used for people who’ve been previously convicted of a dui don’t restrict your ability to get around as long as you haven’t been drinking, which seems fine to me.

    I definitely don’t voluntarily agree to have a drunk hit me on the road, I don’t even stop to think of the economics of it.

  13. You can’t separate the issues of what the BAC should be and whether interlocks on all cars are a bad idea.

    If you think that a BAC of .08 is bad, then you can’t think that interlocks are good, because that BAC is what the interlock will enforce.

    And I think I’m on safe ground slippery sloping it, here. Once the interlocks are installed, there is nothing preventing the nannies from lowering the BAC that they allow even further, and further. Why not? They’ve lowered the BAC before.

    Interlocks are pathetically easy to beat, by the way. Your hard-core drunk is a pretty amoral creature, and has no problem getting their kids or buddies to blow the lock for them.

  14. The interlocks which are used for people who’ve been previously convicted of a dui don’t restrict your ability to get around as long as you haven’t been drinking, which seems fine to me.

    Aren’t there some legitimate concerns about the accuracy and reliability of Breathalyzers? I’m not sure how the factors of calibration and user error would be different in an ignition interlock as opposed to a handheld cop-operated device, but some info on this would’ve made a good addition to the article.

    Cheating the machine has to be a lot easier when you’re not supervised. If you can’t get someone sober to blow for you, could you store “clean” breath in a balloon and use that to start the car (the equivalent of a Whizzinator)? Does it consider factors like temperature, humidity, air pressure to determine if a live person is giving the sample?

  15. Yes, 14,000 people a year dead from accidents involving drunk drivers does strike me as too high – too high to be true. Give me a break. Any article that approvingly cites the alcohol Nazis at MADD is completely worthless and cannot be trusted.

    Plus, the cops are scumbags and often will arrest people for drunk driving who are not actually drunk. This is only exacerbated by the ridiculously low blood alcohol levels that will get you arrested.

    I think Reason should take down this article, it is simply too uncritical of such a nanny-state idea to be worth of this site.

  16. The L.A. Times and others have looked at the stats and found the true number of deaths to be around 5000.Many of the million plus arrests each each year are social drinkers who have done no harm.Ignition locks are fine for truly drunk drivers.In my state the BAC was .15 when I learned to drive.It was lowered to .12,.10 .08 and some want .05.I would feel safe in saying most social drinkers posting here have broken the law and never knew it.Be careful what you wish for with MADD.

  17. random or systematic traffic stops: bad, unconstitutional, an infringement on our rights

    BAC levels: 0.08 is too low

    interlocks for those convicted of a first DUI, especially if the BAC is raised to a reasonable level: good idea, especially if the breathalyzer component can be made more reliable (that is, both more accurate and more precise, in the technical senses of those terms).

    MADD: insane and unreasonable, but occasionally, accidentally correct, including in this case

    the interlocks are an improvement over the current system, given the caveats I’ve given above, but aren’t a cure-all. if someone is found to be cheating the interlock system, they should immediately be jailed.

    full disclosure: I don’t drink alcoholic beverages. I was hit head-on by a drunk driver with a BAC of 0.24, and we were both going between 50 and 60 mph. He was driving south in the northbound lane of a divided highway.

  18. I think that issues concerning the proper legal limit should be separate from a question of penalties

    Fuck that noise.

    Until the crime itself is properly defined, I’m certainly not going to applaud any innovation in the penalty area.

    Since as Chapman points out this device is fairly easy to evade, the real reason it’s being discussed is so that some politician can claim she’s “doing something”.

  19. In most states, the .08 legal limit is a myth. The real rule for getting a DUI/DWI/OVI is if the officer feels you are impaired, you get arrested, license suspended, and have to go to court.

    The 14,000 deaths stat? Is that the one from MADD or from the Fed? If it’s from either, it’s bullshit. They use the term alcohol related deaths, and here’s what’s considered alcohol related:

    1.) A measurable amount of alcohol means anything above .00 percent, up to and including a sip of beer or cough medicine.

    2.) Drivers impaired by drugs, be it aspirin, cough syrup, crack or heroin, are often counted as drunk drivers.

    3.) If a pedestrian is involved and has a measurable amount of alcohol it is considered alcohol-related.

    4.) If a passenger has alcohol in his system, it is considered alcohol related.

    5.) If the accident is a sober driver’s fault (i.e. a sober driver runs a red light and crashes into a driver who had a beer after work) it is alcohol-related.

    6.) If the residual presence of alcohol is found (an empty beer can) it is considered alcohol related, even if tests prove no one has any alcohol in their systems.

    7.) The NHTSA arbitrarily adds 9% to all the alcohol-related statistics it receives from the states. Why? Because they feel like it.

    8.) To further inflate the numbers, The NHTSA just started using what they call the Multiple Imputation Method to inflate alcohol-related statistics even more. The method automatically assumes that anyone involved in an accident who was not tested for BAC (probably because they were obviously sober) could actually have been drunk, and the numbers are jacked up by a set percentage.

    The Breathalyzer has quite a few questions about accuracy, considering how it calculates the BAC (Sorry, don’t have the formula as it was explained to me close at hand). Also, some of the interlock devices require you to blow into it while the car is moving.

    Nephilium… convicted of an OVI.

  20. why use indirect measures?

    install an interlock that will measure reaction time and alertness. it doesn’t matter if it’s alcohol, pot, decongestants, lack of sleep, or sheer incompetence, if you’re impaired, you don’t drive.

    insert obligatory chinese driver joke here.

  21. Can’t you just start the car and then get drunk?

  22. What happens if you’ve had a few beers, are in the middle of nowhere (no cell phone service) and there’s a medical emergency and you’re the only driver ?

    There are serious liability issues with interlock devices.

  23. edna,my 70 year old father wound never get out of the driveway.That’s the problem.Some are just bad drivers sober and many are fine after a couple of beers.I say punish the action,not the possible threat.If you have a accident the punishment should be the same if you were drinking,sleepy,talking on the phone or not paying attention.The trouble with these laws are we are trying to punish before harm is done.Besides,the vast amount of accidents and deaths are cause by SOBER drivers.Although with millions on the road and billions of miles driven 48,000 deaths is not that high.All actions have ricks.

  24. It’d be an alright idea if it weren’t for the $1,000 a year crap and a possible slippery slope.

    Sigh.

  25. I thought Reason was a libertarian leaning publication? This article seemingly embraces the gestapo-like mentality of the police force and do-gooder organizations like MADD.

    If a mother wants to be against drunk driving, they should teach their kids to not drive drunk. Take responsibility for your own kids first and leave everyone else’s alone.

  26. Cheating the machine has to be a lot easier when you’re not supervised. If you can’t get someone sober to blow for you, could you store “clean” breath in a balloon and use that to start the car (the equivalent of a Whizzinator)? Does it consider factors like temperature, humidity, air pressure to determine if a live person is giving the sample?

    One idea is it could take a photo when the person blows into it. This could be saved as evidence and cheating the machine should be a mandatory 10 year felony.

    Also, some of the interlock devices require you to blow into it while the car is moving.

    That would be a good idea. Probably they could make a device that uses a mask like a fighter pilot wears to continuously measure the breath and shut the engine if any alcohol is found.

    In my state the BAC was .15 when I learned to drive.It was lowered to .12,.10 .08 and some want .05.

    It should really be .00. If you use mouthwash, you should wait an hour to drive, any detectable amount is too much.

    random or systematic traffic stops: bad, unconstitutional, an infringement on our rights

    But necessary to get drives at low BAC who don’t appear drunk even thougth they are.

    BAC levels: 0.08 is too low

    No, should not drive for several hours after any minute amount. Should be undetectable.

    What happens if you’ve had a few beers, are in the middle of nowhere (no cell phone service) and there’s a medical emergency and you’re the only driver ?

    Too bad, the risk of driving drunk may be worse than the risk of leaving the medical condition untreated. You should think about it before you drink.

    There are serious liability issues with interlock devices.

    Yes, if they fail to stop anyone from driving drunk. All cars should have them, and they should be continuously monitoring the driver.

  27. So Juanita’s changed her name to Susan, I take it? No matter; her troll arguments are identical to the legitimate arguments spewed out by the likes of MADD. These interlock devices are a horrible precedent.

  28. Another thing, without roadblocks, how else can the cops spot drivers who only had a few sips of beer, but are nonetheless drunk.

  29. Is Susan really trolling? It seems pretty obvious that her post is Swiftian.

  30. First of all, this is fucked up. The reason people want this is that, since the BACs are now so low, this will effectively stop anyone who has this installed from drinking anywhere if they have to drive.

    “Sure, I’d love to have some wine with dinner but my interlock device isn’t that accurate and if it doesn’t let me drive, I’m 20 miles from home and would have to pay for a cab, or get a ride, and then get my car tomorrow, but I have work, so fuck the alcohol–it’s too much trouble.”

    They are effectively trying to stop any drinking by a driver while outside the home, no matter how benign.

    Secondly, liability has been mentioned, but what about this: drinker gets in car and fools interlock, or interlock actually malfunctions. Drinker hits someone, and says “the car let me drive! You can’t punish me! I followed the rules!”

    Lawsuit time for the interlock manufacturer. Which they won’t want, so they will push for governmental immunity from such lawsuits. Which means they have no, absolutely no, reason to be concerned with the general accuracy of the interlocks. Which means plenty of “I had one beer and the car won’t let me drive!”

    This idea is so full of holes, potential issues, and basic liberty-violating concepts that I’m appalled that anyone besides the drinking fascists would consider it.

  31. “Another thing, without roadblocks, how else can the cops spot drivers who only had a few sips of beer, but are nonetheless drunk.”

    What if they didn’t? Someone who is tired or taken cough medicine is a hell of a lot more dangerous than someone who has had one drink. Would you make a ten year felony to be caught driving while drowsy? A friend of mine in high school was killed after a driver fell asleep and went across the median and hit her head on. No drinking was involved, but she is just as dead and her parents were just as devastated as they would have been had she been killed by a drunk. Where does this end?

    If you are caught and convicted of drunk driving, I don’t see how it is a problem to make having one of these things on your car a part of your probation. The fact is casual drinkers are not dangerous. It is the hardcore alcoholics who get on the road at .18 or higher who do almost all of the damage. You can arrest all the .09s you want but it won’t save any lives. If you went to this system and raised the legal limit to something reasonable like .12, and stopped having nazi roadblocks, you would save a lot of lives and do so in a reasonable manner.

  32. It’s certainly better than the unreasonable idea of completely taking away the ability to drive. Sort of like securing the cockpit doors. But I won’t be on board for the idea unless the mandatory counseling scam is dropped.

  33. Great idea! Let’s start by installing them on all squad cars.

  34. The fact is casual drinkers are not dangerous. It is the hardcore alcoholics who get on the road at .18 or higher who do almost all of the damage. You can arrest all the .09s you want but it won’t save any lives.

    Oh, like THAT’S going to stop MADD, or cops who want to pump up their arrest stats but don’t want to go after actual criminals who are all scary-like, or politicians who want to be known as “For The Children” and don’t give a damn how many adults they have to fuck over to get that reputation.

    For those of you who say “sure, let’s do it since it will only affect the hardcore drunks,” here’s a sincere question: what makes you think this will be the ONE government program immune to mission creep? Do you honestly think that if these devices are installed on the hardcore drunk cars, they’ll stop there? If so, what evidence, other than your own strong sense of hope, have you to support your thesis?

  35. edna | February 14, 2008, 8:38am | #
    why use indirect measures?

    install an interlock that will measure reaction time and alertness. it doesn’t matter if it’s alcohol, pot, decongestants, lack of sleep, or sheer incompetence, if you’re impaired, you don’t drive.

    Yeah, you should have to score 10,000 points in Tetris before your ignition will start your car.

  36. Jennifer,

    You are right, the MADD types would no doubt put this on every car. They are fanatics and cannot be trusted with authority. But I don’t think you should let the existence of fanatics keep you from trying to deal with a legitimate problem. There are people out there who just will not quit drinking no matter how many DUIs they get or how likely they are to kill someone. In those extreme cases, this is a good solution. I don’t think you should let the threat of fanatics like MADD keep you from doing anything. If you don’t do anything, they just have more ammunition to argue for unreasonable solutions. The best way to deal with MADD is to do something reasonable and point to its success in arguing against their lunacy. Further, if there is a reasonable solution to something, we ought to do it regardless of the risk of the fanatics taking it to far.

  37. my 70 year old father wound never get out of the driveway.That’s the problem.

    not for those of us who have to dodge his erratic driving on the freeway. hey, pinhead, this is the *left* lane!

  38. Steve Chapman is no libertarian. So why does Reason run so much of his stuff? For that matter, how many of the actual Reason staff have decoder rings?

    Radley Balko is an unimpeachable god, against whom narry an unkind word may be uttered.

    Brian Doherty wrote the book on libertarians.

    Other than that, who passes muster?

  39. Maybe a compromise is possible: we agree to mandate ignition locks on new cars in exchange for a higher BAC level (say, back to .10) or lifting the drinking age restrictions on highway funds.

  40. What about insane drivers?

    Warren,

    Soon, there will be a political purity ignition lock. Defy the nanny, and you’ll be going nowhere.

  41. Also, some of the interlock devices require you to blow into it while the car is moving.

    I’m not quite sure how creating yet another distraction for drivers, or having a system that will kill the engine in the middle of moving traffic, is going to enhance safety.

  42. Maybe a compromise is possible: we agree to mandate ignition locks on new cars in exchange for a higher BAC level (say, back to .10) or lifting the drinking age restrictions on highway funds.

    And when the ignition locks inevitably fail, and you have situations like “I lost a day’s pay because my misfiring ignition lock wouldn’t let me start my car even though I’m a teetotaler, AND I have to shell out even more money to get the damn thing fixed,” shall we look at all the innocent people whose lives are being disrupted and spout platitudes at them? “Think of the children. If it saves just one life, it’s worth it.”

    There are people out there who just will not quit drinking no matter how many DUIs they get or how likely they are to kill someone. In those extreme cases, this is a good solution.

    I ask again what makes you think this will be limited to the extreme cases. I ask the same thing I ask the defenders of sex-offender registries: if these people really are so sociopathically dangerous, why not just lock them up?

  43. If you don’t do anything, they just have more ammunition to argue for unreasonable solutions. The best way to deal with MADD is to do something reasonable and point to its success in arguing against their lunacy.

    John,

    This would be easier to accept if I could think of a single, solitary area of governance where it’s ever been true.

    In my experience every – every – minor concession made to nannyism is treated as the tactical leading edge of further demands. Those further demands are then couched in the form, “Well, we already do ‘X’, so it’s not like there’s a principle involved.”

  44. Jennifer writes:

    “And when the ignition locks inevitably fail, and you have situations like “I lost a day’s pay because my misfiring ignition lock wouldn’t let me start my car even though I’m a teetotaler, AND I have to shell out even more money to get the damn thing fixed,” shall we look at all the innocent people whose lives are being disrupted and spout platitudes at them?

    Presumably, the ignition lock would be triggered only after a DUI conviction, which means, in a way, that the “disruption” is the fault of the drunk driver (i.e., one more consequence of the original DUI conviction; it’s probably better than jail). In the grand scheme of things, a little disruption in the life of a drunk driver doesn’t seem a terribly big price to pay to reduce drunk driving deaths, DUI litigation (how many days’ pay does defending a DUI cost), license suspensions, etc. Plus, since we’d get a lower BAC, and potentially lower drinking ages (which would itself solve other drinking-related problems), the “I lost a day’s pay because my trigger lock broke” problem doesn’t seem too bad.

  45. Sorry – above link about a highway patrol trooper who died in a traffic accident and was at first ruled to have been drunk. The story later changed. (Most folks don’t get the advanced autopsy that cleared him.)

  46. Presumably, the ignition lock would be triggered only after a DUI conviction, which means, in a way, that the “disruption” is the fault of the drunk driver (i.e., one more consequence of the original DUI conviction; it’s probably better than jail).

    “Presumably?” What makes you presume this? I ask again: what makes you think this alone among all government programs will be immune to mission creep?

    Plus, since we’d get a lower BAC, and potentially lower drinking ages (which would itself solve other drinking-related problems), the “I lost a day’s pay because my trigger lock broke” problem doesn’t seem too bad.

    If I am the one losing a day’s pay, and I am the one who has to shell out money for ignition-lock repairs and rental cars and other such expenses in the meantime, where the hell do you get off deciding what sacrifices I should deem “not so bad?”

  47. Fluffy and Jennifer,

    If you are convicted and on probation, that is not nannyism. People on probation take mandatory drug tests. Does everyone in the population have to take them? No. No one is ever going to support putting these on every car outside of the fanatics. Further, if the majority of the people support that, we are screwed anyway. All I am saying is that requiring these devices for someone who is on probation for say their second DUI, is not a bad thing. Right now we take their license and give them a choice in most cases of either not working or breaking the law. It sounds a hell of a lot more reasonable to me to let them drive so they can work and make a living but install this device so that it is at least harder for them drink and drive. If you did this for people who were convicted and then raised the BAC level to something reasonable .12, you could actually do some good and stop arresting people who have had one drink.

  48. I have had this arguement with the instructor in the driving safety class you can take for 10% insurance reduction.

    1) I don’t have the exact statistics… The majority of accidents, something like 60% and the vast majority of fatalities, something like 90% are cause by heavily intoxicated drivers, > .15 BAC. Lowering from .1 to .08 does nothing to get them.

    2) Lowering the BAC has increased the fatality rate in some places because instead of patroling looking for high BAC drivers, who are the eratic drivers on the road, cops are manning roadblock to get low BAC drivers otherwise indistinguishable from non drinking drivers.

    3) Penalties should be graduated, i.e. a .09 should not be the same penalty as a .27. You don’t get the same ticked for driving 64 mph in a 60 zone as 137 mph in a 30 zone.

    4) Excessively punitive penalties has resulted in an increase in hit and runs.

  49. Citizen nothing,I don’t care if he wasn’t drinking.Would his driving and crash be illegal only if he had a few beers?

  50. I say “presumably” because the Chapman article mentions that these things are used on those already convicted of DUI’s. And because, since we’re just thinking these things through, we can write whatever we want.

    Mission creep? Sure, it’s possible. But if the original legislation contains concessions (higher BAC, no highway funds restrictions), it might set a standard for future legislation to contain similar concessions/compromises.

    The “I” in this case is a DUI convict. Sure, it sucks that such people will have greater burdens put on them. But it seems reasonable that, among all the actors here who could in principle bear the burden, it should be the drunk drivers who actually do bear the burden. A DUI conviction sucks. It usually means a revoked license (“I lost a day’s pay because I couldn’t drive to work.”), lawyer fees in the thousands, and potentially jail time. I think most DUI convicts would trade all of that for the risk that their trigger lock might, one day, fail, requiring them to call a friend for a ride to work.

    Oh,the tyranny!

  51. “3) Penalties should be graduated, i.e. a .09 should not be the same penalty as a .27. You don’t get the same ticked for driving 64 mph in a 60 zone as 137 mph in a 30 zone.”

    That is very true. .09 to .12 ought to be a ticket. .12 to .18 ought to be a very heavy ticket and a ride home. Greater than .18 ought to be mandatory jail time.

  52. Tym,the majority of accidents are caused by SOBER drivers.With drink drivers you are right.

  53. So, Greg, does your 10:16 post mean you’re backing away from your earlier “let’s mandate these things on ALL new cars” proposal?

  54. If you are convicted and on probation, that is not nannyism.

    yes it is. Nannyism makes the BAC so low that convictions are easy. Nannyism also makes the bad science of braethylizers sacrosanct.

  55. M.P., I just point out this story on the assumption that it has happened in other “civilian” cases where the dead driver has been, incorrectly, ruled drunk after an autopsy, thus inflating the statistics (and probably causing all kinds of grief to the family).

  56. Coming in late as usual, I’m okay with some sort of temporary measure used with appropriate levels of reasonableness, fairness, and due process for people actually convicted of drunk driving. While we’re at it, that should be people actually caught driving drunk, not people driving “at the legal limit”. Of course, Jennifer is right to point out that this sort of thing would likely be abused by the bibertarians.

  57. Jennifer,

    I assume these things can be turned on and off (or, at least can be made to turn on and off). So the idea is all cars have them in place, then they’re turned on after a DUI conviction. Then, maybe a judge can order them turned off after a period of compliance or something.

  58. Tym,the majority of accidents are caused by SOBER drivers.With drink drivers you are right.

    Correct, that is what I meant.

  59. Considering that the low BACs are for revenue generation and beating the public with the MADD-pleasing “don’t drink and drive!” message, why the fuck would the government ever, ever raise the BAC again? Do you realize how much money they rake in from people who had three glasses of wine instead of two yet are zero threat to anyone?

    Who gets paid: the government (the court fines), lawyers get paid, they make you pay for some sort of re-education course, psychologists get paid since you are forced to attend mandatory counseling, the insurance companies increase your premiums, and some states tack on extra fines.

    Anyone who thinks that the government isn’t in love with super-low BACs is a fucking idiot.

  60. No one is ever going to support putting these on every car outside of the fanatics.

    This is just false. Once they are in use for some drivers for 10-15 years, the serfs out there will just shrug when the insurance industry and busybody state legislators start demanding they be installed on all cars.

    My evidence for this is the entire legislative history of the United States for the last century.

    Further, if the majority of the people support that, we are screwed anyway.

    That’s not true, either, actually. The majority of the people support lots of things that they don’t get, because the measure in question has been successfully framed as a violation of some existing right or principle. Large majorities want laws against flag burning but so far they’ve been shit out of luck. I would always seek to increase the number of issues where the will of the people is frustrated. And you have to stop ’em while the restrictions they’re after are still trivial – let it get rolling and it’s like stopping an avalanche.

  61. Citizen nothing,yea,I understand,sorry.I’m sure he was given a ‘heroes’ funeral though.

  62. M.P., I just point out this story on the assumption that it has happened in other “civilian” cases where the dead driver has been, incorrectly, ruled drunk after an autopsy, thus inflating the statistics (and probably causing all kinds of grief to the family).

    A decomposing body produces alcohol, I believe, thought it may take a day or more.

  63. I forgot to add that drunk driving laws are similar to smoking laws. The people targeted are unpopular, so no one complains. It raises revenue. And the politicians can claim to be doing something and please a powerful lobby at the same time.

    It’s all win all the time for the government.

  64. Episarchic,

    You are right, the DUI laws are money makers. The state and locals are bigger theives than the feds and they love that money. The only reason the BAC level was ever lowered was because people stopped drinking and driving as much as they used to and they were not making as many arrests. For that reason, nothing short of a revolution will ever raise them. That said, if I ever got caught in the web that is DUI law, I would rather have one of these contraptions on my car than lose my license. They system right now just turns people into criminals by taking their license. These systems would be a hell of a lot more fair punishment that taking someone’s license.

  65. Oh, and the nature of this issue allows me to address one of my favorite hobbyhorses: the gap between the law as it is written and the law as most people actually live, and the negative potential for technology to eliminate that [in my mind necessary] gap.

    Everyone knows the BAC’s are too low. This is why they are disregarded so widely. Sure, some people break the DUI laws because they’re alcoholics. But a whole lot more people break the DUI laws because they’re absurd, and because your chances of getting caught are comparatively low.

    This leads to a situation where a small number of people get caught up in the machinery of enforcement of an unfair and unreasonable law, but where that number stays low enough that people don’t get very agitated about it overall. They just go on breaking the law, just like they break the speed limit law, the drinking age law, how they used to break the sodomy laws, etc.

    The technology of enforcement did not previously exist to take us beyond this point. Now it does. It has been specifically created as an escalation of enforcement to try to close the gap. And I therefore don’t like the technology, because I live in that gap and don’t want it closed.

  66. “The people targeted are unpopular, so no one complains. It raises revenue.”

    Exactly. The worse thing that could ever happen to those greedy fuckers would be for everyone to stop smoking. As people have quit due to the price, they have been whining up a storm over lost revenue. The only way I would ever smoke would be if I could buy it illegally and not pay the taxes.

  67. I second Michael Pack and the nay-sayers. Laws are supposed to punish crimes against the lives, liberty, and property of others, nothing else.

    The only way you can justify these sorts of precautionary restrictions (interlocks) is if you say that freedom of movement on public roads is a priviledge allocated at official whim. If you say the roads are “private” (government) property, then government agents can do whatever they like to regulate cars, their drivers, and the contents of both.

    By extension, they can control whatever happens in any other public space, in which case freedom ends laterally at the government easement on your lawn and vertically at the beginning of regulated airspace above it. I’ll admit the possibility that this is what everyone else here is assuming as true, but I can’t say that’s an empowering assumption if that’s the case.

  68. Wow, it all sounds so reasonable.

    But then, we know how the BAC limits started to get ratcheted down to the point where 0.08 is a poor indicator of impairment, but easy to enforce.

    Soon it will be inter-locks on ALL vehicles, not just of those with a conviction.

    And what happens when the interlocks prevent use of a vehicle in an emergency situation, and someone dies because of it? I can envision lots of scenarios … a fishing accident where a couple of folks out on a boat were drinking, but anticipating they’d have time to let it wear off, until the someone ends up in the water drowning, or having a heart attack, and no one can get the truck started tha haul the poor schmuck to the hospital 50 miles away.

    (same with that comment about not allowing cars to go over the speed limit … ever hear of exigent circumstances? Ever need to go briefly above the limit to pass safely?)

    We’ve already bastardized the 4th Amendment for DUI traffic stops. I think this solves a problem, but at a sacrifice on a very slippery slope …

  69. I have to say, I have no problem with this. I do have a problem with the absurdly low BAC threshhold, and I do have a problem with sobriety checkpoints, but if you are a proven and convicted threat, I see this as a reasonable requirement. Perhaps there should be a time limit on it, so it’s not the rest of their lives.

    – Rick
    _____________________________
    Libertarians: Trying to get people to
    mind their own business since 1971.
    Click this to check out the blog!!

  70. But if the original legislation contains concessions (higher BAC, no highway funds restrictions), it might set a standard for future legislation to contain similar concessions/compromises.

    Or, much more likely, it will follow historical trends and have lower BACs and highway funds restrictions added later.

    Seriously, which do you think is more likely? Once you start slicing the salami, there’s no way to unslice it.

  71. How many years will it take before these devices are required on all autos sold in the US? I say 15.

  72. The best way to deal with MADD is

    kill it with fire?

    I have no problem with interlock devices if they are a quasi-voluntary arrangement. If you get the DUI, you have an option of having the device installed on your car. Would it help? I dunno. The data given suggests it helps at the margins for the first offenders, but how many of them were the problem children anyway?

    So let’s anecdotally discuss one of the problem children. My sister has 4 or 5 DUIs spanning a couple of decades. The last one, she hit a parked school bus. I can bet that at some point this week, she’s gotten in a car with a BAC that would be a ticket. I’d be thrilled if she had one on her car and used it, but I’m incredibly leery of the state forcing one on her. She didn’t stop driving when they suspended her license. Shit, she’s got multiple DUI/DWIs. She isn’t going to stop this behavior. I honestly don’t think this device would slow her down much. So you have a technology that is unreliable, easy to fool, and won’t stop the very people it was designed to stop. So why bother? It stops the casual person who gets in the car after one drink.

  73. This is kind of funny. This guy is either an idiot or has huge testes.

    addendum to my previous comment/ disclosure (if anyone cares): the guy who hit me had had his license revoked at the time he drove his car into mine, IOW was a multiply-convicted drunk driver.

  74. T:

    Your sister can’t take a hint. She should be jailed to protect the community.

  75. I’ve been involved in 4 crashes.Two were deer and two in the day time by people not paying attention.The two people were not drinking and were not given a ticket.They paid for the damage.The deer paid the ultimate price.

  76. “So you have a technology that is unreliable, easy to fool, and won’t stop the very people it was designed to stop. So why bother? ”

    The obvious answer is that the contract to the company that makes these devices gives big contributions and payoffs to political bigwigs…the shareholders are related to the political bigwigs or the shareholders actually are political bigwigs…they don’t care if it stops drunk driving in fact that would be bad for the buisiness…after they get this passed they concentrate on growing the biz….maybe by spreading it to other states…then once the get it nationwide they can start figuring out which laws would be most effective at increasing tthe numebr of folsk required to buy the $1000 machine(btw i love that round number…what a coincidence that they figured out how to combine about 100 $.50 parts and it came out to cost $1000) …so they can should require it in all teenager cars because we know they are a “proven to be at greater risks”…and then lets require it in cars of all families with teeneagers…Then why should we require similar devices for old people who we know are “proven to have crappy eyesight”.

    Well if you don’t want all these silly $1000 machines we could make it more efficient and put a microchip in you …it is far less expensive and the cosmo libertarians say “yay…cheaper options for us, this is dynamic and free market…thank goodness for this much more efficent option.”

  77. the innominate one,

    So we’re preemptively jailing people now because they might do something? She has never injured anyone (other than herself) driving during this whole time, which is more than I can say for people I know with no DUI convictions that just drive like shit sober. What good is putting her in jail going to do? She’s an otherwise productive member of society.

    Seriously, I don’t know what the right solution is, and I’ve puzzled over this for a number of years. I like the breathalyzer approach for people like my sister, but something about it rubs me the wrong way, besides the obvious technical issues.

  78. Is it really possible that ANYONE who legitimately thinks they are libertarian would be in favor of this nonsense? this is so bizarro…you make your living being a supposed libertarian thinker writer?

    Sometimes I get the feeling that Chertoff just sits in a room with the reason guys and they try to brainstorm ways to come up with a new way to try and make us slaves and sell it to us with a Hitleresque-libertarian spin…then they can look at our responses and get a good idea of what all the arguments are against the evil plan…and how they will deal with the different arguments…and then Chertoff, Zbignew Brezinski, Henry Kissnger and Steve Chapman high-five each other as some folks who think they are good libertarians come here and say “it is actually a very good idea if it is done correctly to the gook population”…then steve says hey Thats John McCain posting on Reason…it is great to see the libertarian base growing so strongly.

  79. If I had the slightest hope that these devices would be used only on actual drunk drivers who are genuine threats to the rest of society, or would restore some level of sanity to our drunk driving laws, I would support them. But I don’t, so I don’t.

  80. T:

    The fact that she’s never hurt anyone other than herself sounds like good luck, not design, certainly not her design, and apparently not that of the legal system.

    In the absence of an interlock breathalyzer system, she should be in jail because she’s repeatedly demonstrated her inability to follow the law such that she actively endangers others in the community and will not stop, by your own admission, even though she’s rarely been caught. It’s hardly preemptive.

  81. T:
    how else are we gonna teach her a lesson? besides my prison stocks are kinda droopy lately…and one of my companies is trying to deal with foreign labor using the great new free-market idea of taking advantage of the prison labor program http://www.army.mil/usapa/epubs/pdf/r210_35.pdf

    and the quality of the prison labor is a littel subpar..we could use some more educated prison labor and your sister seems to fit that bill…i bet she can at least read instructions well.

    Oh i know some of the old fashioned folks around here call this slavery but that is so backwards…they don’t understand the fastgrowing dynamics of this great new market opening up. besides they are naive if they think that we can compete with a al quada terrorstorm with a bunch of whiny union workers making our bullets…it is unpatriotic to not support this great initiative.

  82. I assume these things can be turned on and off (or, at least can be made to turn on and off). So the idea is all cars have them in place, then they’re turned on after a DUI conviction

    But you have to pay extra to have these put on your car even if you don’t drink at all. Then we can shed great big crocodile tears about how sad it is that poor people can’t afford to buy the cars that would enable them to get decent jobs and lift themselves out of poverty.

  83. “Most drivers below 0.15 are less of a hazard on the road than the guy who had a bad day at work or just had a fight with a spouse.”

    What research supports this claim? It appears that a boatload of research *conflicts* with this claim, e.g.:

    http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/research/pub/Hs809028/Discussion.htm

    “If studies only involving driving (in simulators and on the road), simulated piloting, divided attention, and vigilance are examined, 73% of the test results in those areas exhibited impairment by 0.039 g/dl. Including tracking and drowsiness, 65% of the tests performed by 0.039 g/dl showed impairment. Decisions with regard to BAC limit should not be determined on the basis of behavioral areas that are relatively insensitive to alcohol. Crash risk is determined by impairments of those behavioral areas which are important determinants of driving and which are the most sensitive to alcohol.”

    “Virtually all subjects tested in the studies reviewed here exhibited impairment on some critical driving measure by the time they reached 0.080 g/dl.”

    http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/research/AlcoholHighway/3__alcohol_effects.htm#6Driving-Related%20Performance

    “With respect to alcohol’s effect on performance related to driving, recent research has focused on low BACs, it having been clearly established in prior research that performance is substantially impaired in virtually everyone at BACs of .10 and higher. Techniques for testing and measurement have improved markedly in recent years, resulting overall in increased sensitivity to degradations of behaviors due to alcohol as determined both in laboratory experiments and in tests of actual driving performance. As a result, there is evidence that behaviors related to driving are impaired at lower BACs than was previously believed, with increased impairment of many behaviors clearly occurring at BACs in excess of .05. The amount of impairment of these behaviors at lower BACs less than .05, and whether it is associated with increased crash risk, cannot be stated in general terms on the basis of the findings of experimental studies alone, but awaits new evidence from epidemiologic studies. The epidemiologic study by Zador and associates discussed in the prior chapter suggests that risk does not increase for drivers as a whole at very low BACs (less than .02).”

  84. T and gabe harris:

    Part of the reason we have prisons is for punishment of criminals. Part of the reason is to protect the rest of the community. Otherwise, why not just fine murderers, then let them go free?

  85. The incidence of alcohol related accidents in this country is grossly exaggerated by the practice of assigning excessive alcohol consumption as the probable cause of any accident in which any party to the accident had any measurable level of blood alcohol at all. This includes pedestrians who caused accidents by negligently walking into the traffic stream.

    Perhaps twenty years ago a study demonstrated that there was no statistically significant causal relationship between alcohol consumption and accident involvement until blood alcohol levels reached .15, nearly double the threshold now generally used for arrest and conviction for DUI.

    Much more recently, NHTSA fielded a fleet of some 300 cars and light trucks equipped with fiber-optic cameras in order to observe the behavior of drivers just prior to accidents. To their professed surprise, NHTSA officials learned that over 85% of all recorded accidents were due strictly to distractive behavior, which could have anything from tuning radios, applying makeup, or reading a newspaper while driving. The at-first well publicized results of this study promptly disappeared down the memory hole, apparently conflicting with the views of certain vested interests.

    The simple fact is that you’re far more likely to be killed by a cell-phone yakking MADD mother than by a drunk driver.

  86. From those facts just provided to us priveleged readers…I can see how well established it is that drinking and driving is a deathly danger to all of us…we must immediately get these devices in place …even if it just saves one life it is obviously worth it…you greedy folks won’t even support paying $1000 dollars to save a human life…how hateful you people are…it should be a hate crime to be against these devices…even the great libertarian magazine Reason is in favor of this reasonable restriction on civil liberties. Think how wonderful or society would be if we could get rid of all these hateful people agaisnt these wonderful lifesaving devices.

  87. I just thought of the solution to the problem…T’s sister that is…we hear she could get around the device a lot of different ways…like by just using a little humid air blowing device I saw at sharper image to blow non-alcohol air into the contraption…but to fix that problem we could put those new $300 dollar camerass in every car and this would be good fro preventing lots of other deaths as well…it would be a real life saver…100 cats a year die in parked cars taht get too hot…these cameras could stop that and help keep T’s sister from tryign to cleverly continue her criminality..we may be able to create a world where we are all safe from criminals , we’ll all have no choice but to obey the laws! it will be nirvanna.

  88. The only libertarian position is to privatize the roads. Short of that, punishing people for the contents of their blood stream on public property is not libertarian at all. The whole DUI regime has become a racket in this country. It’s really just another part of the war on drugs.

  89. the innominate one: i agree, put her in prison..we need to expand the prison labor program and punish her good. Her existence is clearly a threat to all of our children even if she hasn’t harmed anyone yet…science and statistics have proven that she is putting us at great risk. I understand some will say we have more non-violent prisoners in this country than the USSR did at it’s peak…but that is just because they didn’t understand the power of free markets to unlock all the value in that prison labor…they foolishly killed their prisoners because they viewed them as consuming too many resources. Prison labor can help make us richer than ever! it is grea that we went from only 1 million prisoners to 2 million in the last decade or so, but imagine how much safer we’d be if we locked up the 10 million most dangerous folks in the country! maybe I can be president…I’ve never said any commetns about african americans in any newsletter and I have a great new prison labor plan that wil help our economy and make us safer!

  90. Anthony, come on be serious. The great Eisenhower interstate program was one of the greatest government achievemnts ever…if it weren’t for the government it would still take us a month to travel from New york to California as you would have over 4000 stop signs along the way. If that capital hadn’t been put to good use by the government, then the people would have wasted it on their kids schools, opening business and stuff. It is impossible for individuals to do anything really useful with their money. You must be some kind of kooky libertarian, it’s people like you that make it hard for us to get elected. besides it is unpatriotic to question the eisenhower interstate plan…I’m calling the terrorist tip line.

    I’m trying to work out the details on a legitimate libertarian plan to keep T’s sister from wrecking into all of our cars…I am very good at statistics, I went to MIT and I can tell you that the probability of T’s sister killing someone in a car accident is much greater than mine…Therefore we need to get her in jail, the statistics prove it will make us safer! are you one of those unscientific types…oh my gosh you probably believe in some kinda bible math.

  91. Techniques for testing and measurement have improved markedly in recent years, resulting overall in increased sensitivity to degradations of behaviors due to alcohol as determined both in laboratory experiments and in tests of actual driving performance.

    Sentences like this one reveal the balderdash being peddled here.

    If you need “increased sensitivity” in your test to know if someone is impaired – they ain’t impaired.

    Impairment is either easily apparent or it isn’t impairment. Impairments that could not be measured by tests available in, say, 1995, aren’t impairments.

  92. How can you prove the DUI laws are a racket? That sounds like aconspiracy theory to me…very paranoid. I like to stick to facts…We’ve all seen data and math on this board that T’s sister is very likely to kill a minivan full of kids goign to soccer practice…much much much more likely than George Bush….my scinetific model says t’s sister has a 10% chance of killing someone in the next ten years in a car acccident while Bush only has a .000001% chance. There is aconsensus amongst all experts in DUI law/actuarial scientist at the most reputable insurance companies/ even Warren Buffet has come out and said that it could lower insurance costs americans by MILLIONS of dollars and he is for this reasonable precaution and he has no self interest to help us insurance payers like that.

    We need get these folks off the street pronto.

  93. innominate,

    Driving has some inherent risk to it, on the order of 1.48 fatalities per 100 million miles. We, as a society, have decided that some forms of impairment of driving ability are verboten and subject to punishment, while other forms are simply part of the cost of doing business. In the absence of harm, you’re comfortable slapping someone in jail because of increased risk of harm during an inherently risky activity? Where’s the cutoff? Do we just slap everybody in Montana in jail because the rate there is 2.41? Obviously, driving in Montana is riskier than driving elsewhere, but is it riskier than driving with a BAC of 0.08? I’m just curious where you would draw the line.

  94. T, I already stated that I think BAC is set too low. I don’t know the “right” number, any more than I know the “right” number to set the speed limit to reduce accidents, injuries, and fatalities.

    Does a pure libertarian approach mean no speed limits can be imposed on publicly owned roads?

  95. my public safety libertarian think tank funded by a grant form the peaceful Carnegie foudnation is in favor of making this all reasonable and fair…put a bunch of our demographic and criminal history data into a database for all 300 million americans…take the most dangerous 10 percent who are proven to be the MOST likely to cause a auto accidnet and put them in prison. My prison labor camp firm has also made a small tax deductable charitable donation to this libertarian think tank so I know that the IRS has classified the think tank of being bipartisian so this shouldn’t be too controversial.

    We estimate that driving deaths would fall by more than 20%… That is more than 8000 thousand lives saved EVERY year…and many of those lives saved are the people who will be in the prison camps…so they shuld be thankful! Don’t worry this plan pays for itsef with the oil the prisoners will be pumping.

  96. Gabe: This is likely my last response to your trollerific misrepresentations of my point, so do what you have to. I’ve never said that poor drivers should go to jail. I’ve said that drivers whose driving privileges (or rights, if you prefer) have been revoked by due process of law who refuse to submit to the law should be jailed. You may agree or disagree as you like, but what I’m saying and what you’re saying I’m saying are two different things.

  97. the innominate one:

    At least when we put some good actuarials and scientific rigor behind this we can make a good attempt at getting the right BAC number…at least us reasonable folks can agree that this DUI system has good intentions of saving our lives. It is much better than some sort of wild west/dog-eat-dog/chaotic anarchy where drunks are driving around trying to collect the most points by hitting as many people as possible. I think in the end if the arresting people based on a BAC level isn’t popular because of cycnicsm and critical questioning of the right number then maybe we can finally get the luddites to accept microchips so that we can properly keep track of the riff raff.

  98. so, I guess gabe is an anarchist, then

  99. you say: “I’ve said that drivers whose driving privileges (or rights, if you prefer) have been revoked by due process of law who refuse to submit to the law should be jailed.”

    I agree we have to maintain rule of law at all costs. I am just a little more worried about public safety than you I guess. I’d feel better if we could arrest the 30 million people that we have scientifically determined to be the greatest danger…the narcoleptics are very dangerous when driving…the 100 most severe narcoleptics are about as dangerous as T’s sister according to my model..so I’d say those 100 folks should be arrested as well. I know some of the old fashioned civil libertarians like you wouldn’t agree but I think we can get this passed because of the broader appeal to soccer moms and utilitarians(who are a little more respected by serious intellectuals than you guys anyway).

  100. I could be wrong, but I believe most states prohibit those with severe seizure disorders from obtaining licenses.

    I don’t think we should uphold the rule of law at any cost, but I do think we should uphold the rule of law when sensible, and work to change the law and practice civil disobedience when the laws aren’t sensible.

    Those who practice civil disobedience know that it has the inherent risk of being arrested and jailed unless and until the laws are changed.

  101. I am not a anarchist. I am really offended that you would put be into the same bin as those guys that wear blank bandanas over their faces and throw rocks at starbucks windows. I am for a strong rule of law. Everyone knows that anarchists are a danger to our civil order with their crazy ideas about peace. I am even in favor of planting agent provocateurs at anarchist rallies to throw rocks at a few cops so then we can maching gun all of them. The agent provocateur strategy has proven to be very effective at getting rid of opposition so we shouldn’t be ashamed to use it more and double the torture too…you know create as much rule of law as possible.

  102. dang your probably right, we won’t be able to arrest the narcoleptics. well at least we agree about this:

    “Those who practice civil disobedience know that it has the inherent risk of being arrested and jailed unless and until the laws are changed.”

    unfortunately because of the rule of law we can’t openly kill the civil disobedience terror sympathyzers, but that is why we need more agent provacateurs, if we can make it appear that they are doing someting really uncivil…then we can round them all up and put them in our prison labor camps for a long time or just mow’em down and make a good example of them..this will scare the rest of them away from anymore disobedience. IF we have to bend afew rules for the over all good then I think it is ok too…if they try to investigate the event we can just appoint some of our buddies to a whitewashing commission.

  103. T,

    If you want to make a rational comparison, compare the accident rate of repeated DUI offenders (# accidents, # injury-causing accidents, # fatality-causing accidents per million miles) to the driving population as a whole. If there is no statistical difference, then I’m way wrong and the DUI laws should be overturned. In the meantime, I won’t be driving through Montana.

  104. “I don’t think we should uphold the rule of law at any cost, but I do think we should uphold the rule of law when sensible, and work to change the law and practice civil disobedience when the laws aren’t sensible.”

    we really agree on a lot. I’m glad I ofund a boad with such progressive thinking…if there is a bad law out ther which is inevitable then we should make the peasants obey it until and respect it until they get int changed or else they will think we are pushovers and stop respecting us. They might even stop paying taxes on time and then the world would end without government having an ability keeping society productive and in good order.

    On the second thought the government could just borrow or print more money and pay for it’s neccisities but if the people weren’t paying taxes they’d have way too much free time and we all know that idle hands are the tools of the devil. better to keep them churning on that hamster wheel or they might start thinking too much.

  105. Gabe, you should be glad that the first amendment protects trolling and misspelling.

  106. the innominate one :

    I agree again. It is best to stay away from Montana anyway…those folks are so backward and retarded. I herad one nut there going on and on by his conspiracy theories. Besides you can’t find any good pomegranate martinis in that state. I like how you thought of a good independent variable for our “death predicter model”…DUI offender is key one.

    The best thing about it is the folks with good lawyers get it removed from their records so we won’t be imprisoning any good americans like George Bush or Gores kids.

    but I think we should add a couple more indicators.(i’m always trying to work to improve the system for you public safety.Being a public servant just runs in my family. )

    Like if you go to anarchist websites I bet your more likely to be a terror threat. So we should just throw that in the regression and see if it is a good indicator.

    Once we have our system up my, prison labor camp will be going like gang busters, but I donate a lot of my profits to charity because I love philanthropy.

  107. That would be a good idea. Probably they could make a device that uses a mask like a fighter pilot wears to continuously measure the breath and shut the engine if any alcohol is found.

    No, when you sit in the seat, a hypodermic needle is injected into your ass, blood continuously extaracted and tested while you drive, therefore testing your true Blood Alcohol Level, not “Breath” Alcohol Level. If the BAC is discovered before you start the engine, a tranquilizer is injected back into your ass, and law enforcement authorities are dispatched to the GPS located car.

  108. “Gabe, you should be glad that the first amendment protects trolling and misspelling.”

    Believe me, I’m not just glad…I am thankful…I worship the state because they tolerate me misspelling words. I realize that this is a great privelege that the great immortal politco human god has given me. Thank you Dick Cheney without your amazing and brave self-sacrifice as a public servant helping protect me from islamo-extremist terror hate groups, Osama bin laden would have left his job with the CIA and he’d be here forcing me to practice my spelling. Thank you jesus, moses and molach too.

  109. Paul wins the thread…

  110. excellent idea Paul! I see we have another progressive libertarian amongst us “the innominate one”. The three of us along with Chapman coul really write some creative libertarian legislation.

    I already heard one DUI prone friend say he does most of his drinking WHILE driving so if he just breathed into the car before starting the car he’d be fine…but if we were monitoring him the whole time then we’d catch him drinking beers while zooming down the interstate. This guy has a lot of money so he was also saying he could just leave the car idling in the bar parking lot if he planned on getting really tanked. Clearly Pauls creative thinking is just the sort of bipartisian work we need to address these problems.

  111. I think that Gabe Harris’ keyboard needs an interlock that will only allow him to post after he can successfully type a whole paragraph with correct grammar, spelling and punctuation.

  112. If you want to make a rational comparison, compare the accident rate of repeated DUI offenders (# accidents, # injury-causing accidents, # fatality-causing accidents per million miles) to the driving population as a whole. If there is no statistical difference, then I’m way wrong and the DUI laws should be overturned.

    But, as mentioned above, the statistics are questionable at best because if anyone involved in the accient has a detectable BAC, it’s an “alcohol related accident”. Nobody involved in the debate is really interested in looking at reliable data to determine a better solution, they’re just trying to score points by being more anti-drunk driving.

    In the meantime, I won’t be driving through Montana.

    Try Vermont. They got it down to 0.83.

  113. Paul, Hunter Thompson wrote a story featuring a man with an ankle bracelet that did exactly what you describe. In the story, HST offers to defend the man, pro bono, until he realizes that the man has plagiarized one of HST’s stories and published it, at which point HST gives him drugs and a knife, and sicc’s the Courthouse security detail on him.

    I wish I could remember the Title. It was in The Great Shark Hunt, IIRC.

  114. daveylee,
    They don’t call him “the innominate one :” for nothing, he is very adamant at protecting us. I bet he will bring up some idiosyncratic civil rights criticism of Paul’s brilliant plan.

  115. Gabe, on a lighter note:
    Has your child completed his or suspicious activity booklet?
    Don’t let this summer go to waste.
    The enemy is preparing their children are you?
    Time to show them who’s boss.
    Moloch demands fresh blood to maintain the appetite of his mechanical heart.
    Will you sacrifice your first born like Abraham would his Isaac?
    Will you sacrifice your first born like Abraham would his Isaac?

    Tell me, why Dick Cheney underneath my bed?
    Hell no that ain’t cool!
    Tendin’ to the lips of a wooden head.
    No sir, that ain’t cool.
    Come on now take one for the team.
    Stick it to the man, stick it to the man.
    Raise the dagger high above Isaac
    and drive down as hard as you can.

    -CLUTCH, Mr. Shiny Caddylackness

  116. I am the Thread Destroyer! No Thread can withstand my posts!

    -END

  117. I am the Thread Destroyer! No Thread can withstand my posts!

    Au contraire! The thread can withstand your posts without the need for thread interlock devices because this is America and either we are all free or none of us are free! This thread will not bow to your petty machinations and proclamations of endiness! This thread will roll on through the ages, becoming such a juggernaut of unstoppable inspiring libertarain conversation that it will dominate the universe and see the federal government reined in to a smaller, more constitutionally appropriate size! And it will do these things not in spite of your bogus pronouncements, but because of them!

    Vote Thread in ’08!

  118. T – I acknowledge those caveats. Conduct an independent study and let me know the results.

  119. I though Dr. Johnny Fever at WKRP put an end to all this alcohol = slower reaction time nonsense.

  120. I took me a while to figure out what Caddylackness was and then I had to try and find the song on youtube to no avail. So i had to temporarily stop thinking of reasonable orange line libertarian legislation to stop the drunk driving deaths pandemic we are about to see in Montana. I mean lets get back to figuring out how to determine the right BAC. Ben Bernanke is pretty good at figuring out the right interest rate and he is very free-market oriented maybe he could help come up with the right BAC rate. If we get enough practice at this type of thing we could systematically repeat the process and optimize our entire society. I’m glad you guys also see the awesome potenital of this new libertarian movement. I really feel the zeitgeist is jsut right for tremendous prgress on this front now as long as we can weed out all the racists.

  121. Perhaps…

    I am Ozymandius, King of Kings, behold my Thread, ye mighty, and despair!

    …would be more ironically germane to this discussion, vis a vis endiness.

  122. I for one welcome Gabe Harris as my new cosmotarian overlord…

  123. Christ, if you people are libertarians, what’s left for the fascists?

  124. innominate,

    Although you might not notice by today’s postings, I have this job thingy that gets in the way. I can do meta-analysis and pick nits with the best of them, but the actual data gathering is a bit out of my scope right now. I guess sis will have to take her chances with whatever harebrained scheme the citizens of North Carolina dream up for her.

  125. Yeah this sounds great, next we could have a urinanalysis device you have to pass before you go to work everyday to ensure you still have a job. You Reasonoids and Cosmotarians want that as well, right?

  126. vis a vis endiness.

    Endiness is such a dated 20th century concept. We need to move past these old artificial constructs in our search for meaning in the new century. We need to adapt our paradigms to the reality that endiness is not nearly so deterministic as we expected and is, indeed, more of a quantum phenomenon subject to a certain degree of stochastic variability. It may be that this thread, upon being observed, ended before it began and what we see before us now is simply the visual aftershocks of the thread waveform collapsing in on itself. Let the endiness go, and see how much freer you feel. And isn’t freedom maximization what we, as libertarians, are all after?

  127. well I am very flattered Citizen Nothing, but none of my great ideas would be possible without the leadership provided by Steve Chapman and Reason Magazine. All the greatest free-marketers around stand on the shoulders of icons like Chapman.

    Victor Milan, You are on thin ice buddy you have may have just violated Godwins law. you see enlightened cosmos are only allowed to compare anything to nazism, hitler of facists if we are trying to smear one of the anti-semites who is against bombing muslims.

    To imply that my much needed policies to prevent drunk driving deaths, are facists may be defined as hate speech soon if I have my way and I hope you watch yourself in the future.

  128. Unfortunately I will have to reveal more great ideas for restoring our safety another day…I have to catch a flight now and this will be my last post of the day.

    I am really inspired to see that we have so many great minds on here who are wiling to use the iron fist of government to make suur that T’s sister is punished. All of our intentions are good and whatever quibles we might have about the details we can all agree that T’s sister is truly a monster to disrespect the law so much and hopefully we can come up with more and better ways to punish her in a fair libertarian sort of way.

    And finally I hope that the great Libertarian John McCain will consider a fine Reason writer like Michael Lynch for his foreign policy advisor. We know that there is so much at stake with all the huge differences between McCain And Obama that we need the best libertarian ideas to help McCain take the day this November.

  129. I think Victor’s comments invoke the execution of one of the HnR drinking game rules. Everyone must take a drink, but if you get a DUI, send the ticket to Victor.

  130. 14,000 in a nation of 350,000,000 is only 1 in 25,000.

    That’s not too bad.

  131. That’s not too bad.

    I think the proper term is “statistically insignificant”.

  132. For a different take:

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/rockwell/drunkdriving.html

    “There are many factors that cause a person to drive poorly. You may have sore muscles after a weight-lifting session and have slow reactions. You could be sleepy. You could be in a bad mood, or angry after a fight with your spouse. Should the government be allowed to administer anger tests, tiredness tests, or soreness tests? That is the very next step, and don’t be surprised when Congress starts to examine this question.

    Already, there’s a move on to prohibit cell phone use while driving. Such an absurdity follows from the idea that government should make judgments about what we are allegedly likely to do.

    What’s more, some people drive more safely after a few drinks, precisely because they know their reaction time has been slowed and they must pay more attention to safety. We all know drunks who have an amazing ability to drive perfectly after being liquored up. They should be liberated from the force of the law, and only punished if they actually do something wrong.”

  133. Oh, come on. I hate the nanny state as much as the next guy, but drunk driving is a serious problem. The reality is very few people are going to get stopped if they’re blowing around .08. And if they are stopped and blow at that level, maybe they have a low tolerance or are just stupid drivers and they deserve to get stopped.

    I’m sorry, my dad was a CHP. He came home night after night personally wrecked, continually seeing the dregs of humanity literally destroy other people’s lives by DUI, but themselves somehow walk away fine. One drunk killed two kids that went to our church, got out of her truck as she was arrested, and said, “shit, look what I did to my truck.”

    Drunk drivers are the scum of the earth and I don’t have much pity for them. Don’t be so crazed with anti-state dogma that you can’t see that some people are POS and deserve to be punished.

    And the difference between a breathalyzer for them and for everyone else is due process. They don’t have to pay to install the breathalyzer until they are convicted of DUI.

    I’ll go to the barricades for medical marijuana patients, steroid using baseball players, heroin addicts, whatever. So long as they aren’t engaging in activity that is inherently dangerous to others. This isn’t about restricting freedom, it’s about curbing license.

  134. What the extremists fail to mention is that states such as New Mexico that have a recognized problem with drunk drivers causing damages against real victims, overreact in an irrational manner. The state-mandated interlock device setting are not matched to the illegal BAC limits for that state but to some even more arbitrarily low level. Excuses abound for this approach, especially from emotionally-driven, logic-deprived groups like MADD. The hardware approach can be objectively proven to demonstrate measurable results in “preventing” DWI. It should not become yet another mechanism to deny civil rights to citizens who are not a demonstrated threat.

  135. Extremely well said Justin. A study from a few years back (by Levitt and Porter, JPA, 2001) reported:

    Using a statistical analysis of 40,000 two-car fatal crashes, the authors find drinking drivers to be at least seven times more likely to cause a fatal crash compared to sober drivers. For drivers who are legally drunk, this figure stands at 13. The authors find that alcohol consumption trumps all other causes of accidents, including age, sex and past driving records.

    I would ask those on this board who oppose ignition devices if, instead, they would support harsher penalties for DWI offenses. I propose mandatory jail time of 30 days for the first offense, 12 months for the second offense, and 10 years for the third.

  136. How many drunk driving incidents are solely related to alcohol use? Someone could be over the legal limit, and still get into an accident, like any sober person could.

    So, when you meet someone who seems to know fifteen people who were killed by a drunk driver, how can you determine if it was absolutely the fault of their inebriation? Friday and Saturday nights are busy times, period.

    Such schemes seem to be yet another social panic cause that never seems to be effectively managed, no matter how many restrictions are passed to manage it.

    In the mean time, society becomes more, and more comfortable with being told what’s good for them and everyone else. Moral bullying reigns supreme once again.

    If you’re out on a Friday and Saturday night, and are severely inebriated, do the right thing. If you’re out driving on a Friday, or Saturday night, be aware that there might be drunk drivers, and drive cautiously.

    I still don’t understand why we need to try and save the world from every potential public danger. There are risks involved in public life.

  137. You know, I sympathize with the people who have been affected by drunk drivers, but I don’t think this in any way constitutes a reasonable solution. Aside from failing to confront the underlying problems with substance abuse that repeat offenders often have, it thrusts more power into the hands of the state and serves to criminalize those whose alcohol usage is responsible and benign.

    To some degree, I could understand libertarian-leaning individuals supporting the device’s inclusion in cars if it were more accurate, reliable, and were not simple to circumvent. But as it stands? Aside from appeals to emotionalism, how can people stand behind this?

    When did standard breathalyzers start giving an accurate measure of a person’s BAC, instead of a 2100-to-1 extrapolation with a generally-accepted margin of error of .04 on a .10 scale?

    When did the breathalyzer start measuring alcohol alone as opposed to any compound with a methyl group in its chemical structure? Hope you didn’t pump gasoline or paint your house recently–it could throw off the test. Oh, and I also hope you haven’t got acid reflux. You might be in trouble, then.

    Also, are we ignoring the California DMV’s study entirely, or are we discarding it for some reason? Last time I looked, they determined the interlocks didn’t do much good.

    Although many supporters of interlock may have noble intentions, I cannot see it bringing more good than bad. Already we see people trying to suggest adding cameras to cars in order to monitor drivers while they use the devices. So, you have a device that already logs each test and records any violation or supposed tampering and you would have a camera observe as well?

    If anyone supporting this point of view considers themselves libertarian or even inclined towards that point of view, I urge them to think about the implications of this.

  138. Chaz,your right on target.The machines are very unreliable.You left out diabetics.The main reason people use is the carnage on the road.I say the numbers show another story.Your much more likely to be be killed in a fall or die by a doctor’s mistake the be killed by a drunk driver..The fact that over there 100 million social drinkers and they are rarely involved in a death says it all.We might as well outlaw pools and bathtubs.

  139. I’m not quite clear what is stopping someone just buying a second car without one of these devices on it?

  140. Technomist,
    Please do not talk about that. My dad was a CHiP and he saw thousands of dead babies run over in their strollers every week. He used to come home a wreck and beat up by mom because of it, now he is a body gaurd for public servants to make sure nobody asks too long of a question and he is recovering nicely due to his freedom to taser disrespectful punks.

    When you ask your cynical questions your helping the drunks figure out ways around this well intentioned technology. This is NOT going to stop the carnage taking place in Montana and other higher BAC limit states.

    I once saw a drunk guy run over four kids at a soccer game. He got out of the car and said “damnit I got blood on my tires and I missed the black kid”…these people are subhuman we have to eliminate them. 15 years in prison minimum.

  141. re: the article

    Apparently hackers have hijacked the reason.com URL and put this article up as a prank

  142. Michael Pack,
    The technology is unreliable to lets just quit trying and let racist drunks drive around running over babies. At least Chapman, Paul,Buck Quiverpole , the inominate one and I are coming up with good solutions to stop the murder of babies…the cynicism of the rest of just goes to explain why the libertarians can never get anyone elected. People want to vote for someone who is FOR something not AGAINST everything.

    Buck, I think if you have one DUI you should have 1 year in prison and get the ignition lock feature and then if you get a 2nd one it means you’ve circumvented the device and the penalty for that should be 20 years in prison…even for those children who help the guy get around the law by blowing into the device. This will get rid of all these folks screwing with our system and trying to make us look dumb. It is that type of troublemaker that is the more serious problem to our society.

    Perhaps you should look into donating to my think tank…I do accept paypal.

  143. Let’s keep it simple for the nutball libertarians who keep coming here to criticize our plans. You are either pro-drunk driver or pro kids. If you are pro-kids then you have to be in favor of these safety devices on cars. Seriously guys are you pro drunk driving?

    I’d also like to say that Michael Young is who I want for foreign policy advisor not Michael Lynch, I made a error yesterday…sorry Lynch your too indiosynchratic for me.

  144. Justin Sobodash,
    Awesome response to all these anarchists. I get the feeling that some of the people on this board are high fiving each other when they hear about another kid getting killed on our roads. T’s dui prone sister is the worst, she hasn’t killed anyone yet but keeps driving around with no license just because she thinks she knows better than our scientifically rigorous statistically proven conjecture. It makes me so mad I want to just weterboard her…to disrespect our drivers license laws is just as bad being a muslim in my book…so So here is my free-market solution…sell 10 years of their labor to the highest bidder…and then give a portion of the money raised to the families who have lost love ones to drunk driving and a little bit to the beer companies being driven out of business by micro breweries.

  145. “As a rule, it’s a bad idea to let pedophiles baby-sit….So why do we allow drunk drivers unfettered access to their cars?”

    This is Chapmans greatest insight! Once someone gets a DUI it is clear that they are a pretty bad person…police and prosecuting attornies are always sacrificing themselves to try and protect our children. If they team up to convict someone of a DUI you can be sure that the person who gets the DUI is subhuman, I mean just look at this smart a** jerk….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVPGh7SVeVI

    he is clearly about to kill people on the road way…even the anarchists have to admit he is not talking like a sober guy. I thank the great humans int he whithouse that this cop was there to keep the guy off the roads in a professional manner. Did you hear him call teh scumbag “sir”…that is nicer than I would have done…we’d all be better off if the cop had put his hand in the door and just started slamming it on his fingers…then he’d never be able to drive again. We have all heard the ways that the $1000 device might not be 100% effective in keeping these guys off the road…so lets talk about some more libertarian solutions to guaranty that he doesn’t drive ANY car.

  146. If you wanna get away with a crime – make sure you are drunk. Being high will make it worse – but being drunk helps in any and every situation.

    Caught your wife cheating and wanna know what it feels like to kill somebody…? Get drunk and chances are that you will get 1/3 the sentence of a black pot smoker who was caught with some homegrown.

  147. One thing that Chapman doesn’t really highlight is the interlock device is REQUIRED even for first time offenders just like repeat offenders (as well as an “alcohol” evaluation process-sounds very scientific). Therefore while you could be a fine, responsible, taxpaying citizen with no prior record at all who blows a far from drunk .08, the assumption is that you are a dangerous criminal right off the bat who has absolutely no right to make an error in judgement and you must be shamed like a little child. Sorry, this approach for first time offenders is very draconian and the punishment does not fit the crime. Simply put, it is not “reasonable” at all.

  148. Interlocks for drunks above a limit of say .12 make sense. If you’re that plastered and still think you can drive then it’s time to go postal with the law. Anything below that is borderline inpaired considering the margin of error of the Breathalizer machine. it also helps to study the law and the evolution of the new definitions that MADD has come up with. They are pushing for .05 as the new, new, new definition which will make drunks out of anyone who dares drink at all.
    To force ALL drivers who fit these new definitions, without any thought as to whether the caused any property damage, injury or death is falling for the Prohibitionist stance hidden in the MADD agenda: First define all drinking drivers as drunks, then slap ridiculously harsh punishments on them. If that doesn’t stop them from drinking, then they’ll probably push for execution in the next campaign.
    And then there is the B.S. of equating drunk driver ’caused’ deaths with ”alcohol related” deaths. There’s a big difference that is not understood by Mr. Chapman or most people. The 14,000 dead figure is really 7-8,000 if you research the actual stats and allow for the government’s and MADD’s imputation method of filling in the blanks when the police don’t mention ”drunk driver” in their report. Check out the statistics page at http://www.ridl.us for the real numbers–based on the same raw data!

  149. Gabe–as a fellow MITer I have to say shaddup, you’re not doing anything but reinforce our stereotypes as wonkish arrogant asses who have no understanding about real life.

    New Mexico has voted, collectively, on the matter and made the decision that if drunk idiots want to be so irresponsible as wanting to drive, subjecting the rest of the population to the risk of their stupidity, New Mexico is going to do something about it.

    Freedom implies responsibility. Something that far too many libertarians seem to forget.

  150. Seems like the people here don’t mind multiple responses so here is my second entry culled from http://www.getMADD.com:

    16,694 alcohol-related deaths! That’s the government’s number for 2004. They imply that it is exact–sure looks like it is–but quietly admit it is just an estimate and they never freely define their vague term “alcohol-related.”
    They also publish another estimated number: 12,874 as the number of deaths involving a drunk driver and then admit that there is nothing in either of these numbers to indicate that alcohol was the cause of these deaths.
    They admit none of their numbers are based solely on a computation of actual deaths and that their estimates are based on data that is, on average, 60% incomplete.
    They admit to age and gender profiling in deciding if alcohol was maybe involved in a traffic death.
    They admit prejudice toward people who own pick-up trucks and those who drive late at night in making their ASSumptions.
    They admit that no other civilized country uses their methods of imputation, profiling and guessing to come up with drunk driving statistics.
    Finally, they admit that their staggering numbers may be misused and misinterpreted by special interest groups.

    MORE on how speeders and redlight runners are chump change the real villain in our world is the DRUNK DRIVER.

    Think about words or phrases that make your blood boil. “Communist” has lost its magic, but how about “drunk driver”! Twenty-five years and hundreds of millions of dollars spent by our government, MADD and other anti-alcohol groups has rendered us unable to view every drunk driver as anyone other than a vile, child killer: Public Enemy #1. Read any MADD press release. There is always a reference to a specific family member killed and the continued grieving of the mother or father. But with deliberate motivation the killer “drunk” driver morphs into any and all “drinking” drivers, who we are told are just as dangerous; statistics be damned. You can’t help but feel sympathy and yearn for justice and/or revenge, but against whom?

    This social conditioning is similar to Pavlov’s experiments with his dog. Ring the bell, offer Fido some food and watch him salivate. After a while, just the ringing of the bell causes the dog to salivate. Sound the alarm, mention a dead child and watch the public demand tougher laws against all drinking drivers.

    If he is a killer he should be severely punished, and today’s laws ensure that he will be, unless he’s a politician or policeman. Why is the same hatred not expressed toward a speeder or red light runner who kills someone? Because we have not yet been conditioned to hate these killers. Our laws even mandate lesser punishment if alcohol is not involved.

    What happens when the thought control groups reach their goal that it’s not drunk drivers but all drinking drivers that are the scum of the earth? It used to be “Don’t let friends drive drunk.” Now it’s “You drink, You drive, You lose.” What does that mean? Is it illegal to drive after drinking? If you have a beer and get behind the wheel are you, in MADD’s words, the same as a “drive-by shooter?” Say it on TV for 25 years and, the public subliminally gets the message. “It must be true, why would they lie?”

    MADD is determined to convince us that Prohibition was a good thing, it was just done the wrong way. They are doing it through hysterical unverifiable claims that tens of thousands of innocent people are killed by drunk drivers each year. They are doing it by exploiting and highly publicizing only those tragedies that involve alcohol. They are doing it through media coverage that loves the sensational story and never checks the source or the verifiably phony statistics.

    And once we are all conditioned to their alarm bell, there will no longer even be a need for them to feed us their lies.

  151. grumpy realist…it is too late, this thread is old enough now that I’m pretty much only going to be talking to myself if I post more here.

    I am happy that the citizens of New Mexico passed the law, we all know that true libertarians like ourselves believe that if the majority of citizens vote for something then it is definitely the right thing to do and must be enforced to the kilt. Furthermore, we know that people who oppose the will of the people are anti-social, arrogant and actually dangerous to a peaceful society. Anti-social behavior is a key indicator for predicting violent terrorism and we should try to lock these people down before they act.

    curmudgeon,
    In response to your paranoid conspiracy theories about being trained like a pavlov dog. Please, we do not need this kind of crazy talk, next thing you’ll be asking us to believe that the CIA funded some crazy “mind control” experiments where they basically tortured random american people.

  152. curmudgeon,
    I am happy that you restarted the serious discussion on what is the appropriate BAC limit! I still think that to really help our public safety we will be better off going ahead and making that a .0551

    As fellow MITers we know it is more important to get that number correct than it is to think about the qualitative issues like: is it easy to circumvent the whole system in a wide vareity of ways?

    is the proccess of giving out DUI pretty fairly done? or is it strongly related to your ability to secure a good lawyer or your ability to ask your senator dad to get involved in some way?

    is this whole scheme going to be more effective at enriching a politically connected supplier of interlock machines or is it going to be more effective at stopping drunk driving and saving lots of lives?

    We both know the cyncical slippery slopers worst fears never come to pass so we should all put our fingers in our ears whenever we come upon a slippery slope argument.

    I once heard a crazy guy say that cigarette company lawsuits would lead to certain food companies being sued or taxed extra…as it turns out there is great libertarian free-market argument in favor of taxing unhealthy food espcially if we get our health care system nationalized.

    We should also never ever try to look at the possible problems of a “solution” that is said to have good intentions. we all know that good intentions cannot ever possibly lead to a series of stupid decisions or bad government programs.

    We should also try to accuse people who are against popular laws of being pro-drunk driver…because that is the best way to make those folks shaddup!

  153. that last one was suppoed to be addressed to grumpy

  154. I have a concept. How bout teaching people HOW to drive drunk. Of course this won’t be for the alcoholic, but for the social drinker. The person who loses everything while the police pull in revenue and overtime.

  155. prison camps are safer…the people are a danger from themselves, once they realize how much safer they are in prison they will be thanking us. Auctioning off the labor of the camps would bring in much needed labor and utilizes the free market system that we all know is superior. This is the most libertarain solution.

  156. So, is this sort of trolling a normal thing in Reason threads?

  157. As some have pointed out, there are several liability issues here. For instance what happens if you have had a few beers, and are in the middle of nowhere without a cell phone, or there is an emergency and you just have to drive?

    Also I have problems with the 0.08 limit. Once such devices are installed, what prevents them from lowering it even further?

    Finally, what happens to all those libertarian ideas when we discuss drunk driving? For the record it is perfectly possible for many people to have a alcohol level of 0.08 AND drive safely. Isn’t putting a mandatory device on your own car by the government going a bit too far? Has anyone thought about the kind of precedent this would set?
    u

  158. Thats a rather authoritarian solution for what is ostensibly a Libertarian magazine isn’t it?

    Trust (even when broken) is at the core of our principles.

    This doesn’t mean not enumerating what is to be expected of someone mind (i.e a contract) but it does mean no “pre enforcing” trust

    The drawbacks of such a plan are well enumerated here so I won’t repeat them but I will say that if a do-gooder or worse a victims advocacy groups supports an idea that a flashing red light right there.

    As C.S. Lewis put it

    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.
    The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

    No do-gooder is ever satisfied. Since they never are that leaves us the sour option of being a little less safe in exchange for not empowering the compassion fascists.

    I’m OK with that

  159. Gee, Reason sounds less and less libertarian with each article that they publish.
    Here’s an idea. Since not only convicted drunk drivers get behind the wheel intoxicated, why not force everyone to take a breathalyzer before starting the car? This would prevent would-be drunk drivers from breaking the law. If you have nothing to hide, you shouldn’t have a problem with this. 4th Amendment? To heck with it! In the immortal words of GW Bush, the Constitution is only a “goddam piece of paper.”

  160. I’d simply ask my sober friend to help start my car.

  161. 14,000 people died in 2006 from accidents involving drunk drivers?!?!

    But that’s even more people than died from terrorist attacks in 2001!

    Do we really have our priorities straight? I realize that terrorists are scarier and more loathsome than drunk drivers, but the latter are actually killing more people than the former.

  162. and if we are willing to conduct torture and eavesdrop on all phone and email conversations to stop terror…then it is only logival that we use all of the power available to us to stop drunk driving as well…the government could know about likely drunk driving candidates by checking their phone calls for binge drinking plans especially if namves of rowdy bars are mentioned or teenagers are involved. We could also torture bartenders if we find out they served dangerous people and they have information that might be able to stop a rampaging drunk driver.

  163. The DUI issue was seized on by organizations such as MADD as a moneymaking operation.
    Non-injurious DUIs were becoming so common place, people started seeing all the easy money that Attorneys were making and the money being spent at bars and started worming in on the cash flow.
    I wonder what the ratio is for simple DUIs to DUIs that actually cause physical of property damage.
    Before the DUI exception to the constitution rules were put in place, it was under critical scrutiny whether your vehicle fell under the Fourth Amendment.
    Using scare tactics groups like MADD began the gradual destruction of Constitutional Rights.
    I’d be willing to wager more lives have been adversely affected by the ever tightening of the DUI laws that were ever affected by actual serious incidents.

    !4,000 people dead a year? The taxes you pay on alcohol kill that many in one year in Americas favorite playground, Iraq.–by kids who can’t even drink in their own country.

  164. Welcome to Thought Police Headquarters. . . where everyone gets busted for what they *might* do, as opposed to what they’ve actually done.
    Break into an 82-year old grandmother’s house and tase her or shoot her to death, get a paid vacation. . . Have a few beers and drive home and not hurt anyone at all. . . lose your license, lose hundreds of hours of work (both in being incarcerated *and* by paying obscene fines), and now, have Big Brother’s techno-crap installed in your car. . .

    DUI isn’t a crime. . . I repeat: It Is Not A Crime.
    In order for a crime to be committed, there MUST be a victim. Imagine that. . .
    In the case of DUI, the victim is the guy tryin to get home, and the criminal is the freak who randomly enforces the unconstitutional law that costs the victim time, money, and perhaps their job. . .
    But. . . there is hope. . . we can fix this. . . by Randomly enforcing the Second Amendment on every person with a badge and a gun. . .

  165. I know a 40-something female in a court-ordered DUI court program for a 2nd DUI within 5 years. She blacked out from painkillers while driving with her 2-year-old in the back seat,drove across a median an hit a car head-on. Fortunately she was drifting and the other car saw her and stopped. No one was seriously hurt. One of the requirements of the program when and if she gets her license back is the ignition device. She doesn’t drink, but she still takes massive doses of painkillers and behind the counter cold medicines. This requirement won’t help fellow drivers here, but for alcoholics it mights.

  166. Why don’t we put locks with special keys to stop obese people from driving up all our health costs? As drinking is legal stop picking on them.

  167. Here is British Columbia’s effort at keeping drunks off the road.
    http://www6.autonet.ca/Laws/Story.cfm?Story=/Laws/2005/03/30/976875.html
    What the AP left out of the story that ran in Sunday’s hometown rag, Solicitor General Coleman (the province’s top cop, in effect) is proposing that FOR FIRST OFFENCES, cars be seized and auctioned off.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.