Driving drunk used to mean just that – just as being a racist meant you disliked a set of people on account of their race. Nowadays, the latter means anyone who questions or disagrees with anything racialists say must not be questioned or disagreed with.
And the former now means having had anything alcoholic to drink prior to driving.
This is the gist of the push to characterize as “drunk” driving a person having a blood alcohol level (BAC) of as little as 0.05 percent, which is about half as much as it used to take to reach the bar, so to speak, when drunk driving had some meaning. This was about 40 years ago, when the maximum-permissible BAC threshold correlated with having had too much to drink before driving – but even in those days, the standard was not erratic driving or loss of control, per se.
In other words, drivers were no longer pulled over (exclusively) because they were driving erratically – or had given some other objective reason to suspect them of being impaired by alcohol, such as having lost control of their vehicle and caused an accident. Instead – to widen the net – all drivers are pulled over and required to prove they were not “drunk,” either by cursory examination or something more involved, such as a BAC test.
This has greatly increased the catch – which then becomes the justification for more roadblocks. And ever lower BAC thresholds.
But it begs at least one inconvenient question: How many of these “drunk” – in the legalistic sense – drivers were actually impaired – by alcohol, that is? Some will insist upon a tautology – that having “x” BAC – whatever it is – amounts to being “drunk.” But there is an obvious problem with this, especially in light of recent-pending developments.
A number of states – including New York, Washington and Hawaii – are on the cusp of lowering the BAC level at which a person is considered (by the law) to be “drunk from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent.
Utah – a state dominated politically by abstemious Mormons – has already enacted the 0.05 percent threshold.
But is this not like the old 55 MPH speed limit?
In 1974 – and just like that – the federal government decree that driving any faster than 55 was now “speeding” and “unsafe” – even though the limit was initially touted as an energy-saving measure. However, drivers were not fined for using “too much” energy (i.e., gasoline). They were fined for “speeding” – which meant driving at speeds that had been legal prior to 1974 but which were – just like that – transformed into “unsafe speeding” by arbitrary decree.
One day, 70 is legal and so – presumably – “safe.” The next day it’s neither.
Well, how is it that a driver who isn’t “drunk” – according to the 0.08 BAC standard – and the law – instantly becomes just that, solely on account of the lowering the standard to 0.05? Keeping in mind that the driver who “blows” a 0.08 today would not have been considered “drunk” as a matter of law when the standard was 0.10 BAC.
This is not a defense of drunk driving. It is the opposite. Turning everyone who has had a drink into a “drunk” cheapens the currency of the charge, just the same as shrieking “racism!” does when someone raises a question about a policy (or a person, such as a politician who happens to be black) that has nothing to do with race.
Defenders of the faith – and that is what we’re dealing with here – will say that no one should drink – even a glass of wine or a beer with dinner – before they drive. Many insist that any alcohol whatsoever in a person’s system constitutes “impairment” and so it is justifiable to arrest people on that basis alone, even in the admitted absence of any other reason to suspect their capacity to control their vehicle has been . . . impaired. As by erratic driving, for instance. Or loss of control.
It is enough that they have been “drinking.”
This is zealotry, of the religious variety. It is about doctrinaire obedience – for the sake of obedience, as such.
It is the same, in its essential assertion, as the assertion that driving even 1 MPH faster than whatever the sign by the side of the road says is the maximum legally allowable speed constitutes “speeding” and is by definition both illegal and “unsafe.”
That is certainly what the courts and insurance mafia say. Yet there is no direct evidence to support the “unsafe” claim beyond generalities that have no bearing on specific actions. Indeed, the contrary is often true – as in the case of the impaired (by low skill) driver who does not “speed” but nonetheless loses control, wanders over the double yellow – or something like that – and causes what is styled an “accident” (but isn’t, because it was avoidable).
On the other hand, the driver who is skillful and in control of his vehicle who does not have “accidents” is pulled over and ticketed for “speeding” – and dunned by the insurance mafia for “unsafe” driving.
Or arrested for “drunk” driving – because he had a drink before he drove.
It’s a racket – and an injustice – that has as much to do with “safety” as “masks” had to do with “health.
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