Home > Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Philosophy sans Sophistry, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism > Drunk Driving Laws are Not Driven by Concerns for Public Safety

Drunk Driving Laws are Not Driven by Concerns for Public Safety

A few days ago, I heard that NTSB has recommended a further lowering of the allowable blood-alcohol concentration from 0.08 to 0.05. This proposed lowering of the legal limit is supposed to help ‘save more lives’ or something along those lines. In case you are wondering, the original alcohol limits (0.15-0.10) came into being after testing thousands of people in the late 1930s. Even subsequent research in that field as late as the 1960s found that BAC levels below 0.08-0.09 are not associated with any worthwhile impairment of driving skills or ability.

The current crop of laws surrounding drunk-driving started coming into existence around the 1980s and were largely driven by activist single-issue groups such as MADD and SADD. Coincidentally, some “objective” scientists who were able to create and present revised data to support such laws subsequently benefited from increased funding resulting from more public interest in that area- but that is the topic of another post. This one is my take on what really drives all the laws, rules and regulations surrounding drunk driving.

In my opinion- most legislation, regulation and activism surrounding the prosecution of drunk driving has little or nothing to do with ensuring public safety or preventing automobile accidents.

Let us face it, there are many other equally or more important factors that increase the risk of both impaired driving and accidents. What about fatigue, lack of sufficient sleep, medications and using your smartphone? What about hyperactive children or morons in the backseat? Does anybody really believe that moderate drinking (BAC between 0.08-0.10) and driving causes more accidents than being overworked and sleep deprived? What about people who are checking their smartphone or driving around with morons in the backseat?

Is a lost life or limb more tragic if the driver was moderately drunk than sleep deprived or borderline stupid?

So why is the ‘system’ so interested in prosecuting moderate drinking and driving? How many people die in automobile accidents nowadays? How many get injured? In what percentage of accidents is the more guilty part moderately drunk? What about all of the other causes? Do the agencies even release honest statistics about these things? Don’t more people kill themselves than die in car accidents? Could we not reduce deaths from suicide by making it illegal? What about medical mistakes- still the 2nd or 3rd most cause of death?

It is therefore clear that the system has no intrinsic interest in reducing the number of preventable deaths.

So what drives the desire to go after drunk driving? Why go after a small but visible factor for automobile accidents while ignoring larger but not so obvious ones. In my opinion, it really comes down to a show on control and relevance. Let me explain that idea with an example.

We, as a society, argue over whether gay marriage should be legalized and whether it is ‘natural’. But how many of us display the same energy or zeal and try to fix the dismal state of heterosexual marriage? Would you not agree that fixing heterosexual marriages (which are the majority anyway) is more important than worrying about the legality and ‘naturalness’ of gay marriage? So.. why is if far easier to find people opposed to gay marriage than fixing heterosexual marriage?

The answer to that question is both unpleasant and revealing. People have little interest in fixing big problems because that is often hard and complicated. Solutions to such problems often expose stupidity dressed up as tradition and wisdom. Fixing them also disrupts established parasitic institutions and hierarchies. In short, fixing real problems is hard, messy and humiliating.

Fixing non-problems or token ‘problems’ is relatively easy and allows most people to feel self-righteous, competent, smart and generally good about themselves. Fixing them also does not upset established parasitic institutions and hierarchies- indeed, it often gives them relevance and legitimacy. It is also far easier to maintain the delusion that societies and civilizations are functional, “right” and “natural” when the opposite is true.

Non-problems and token ‘problems’ provide focal points for developing religions, ideologies and other ponzi schemes to fleece the gullible. They provide decent self-employment opportunities for those who can preach and proselytize against them. It is also possible to make lots of money and employ many people to police and prosecute ‘violations’ of pseudo-solutions. Furthermore, some people seem to get a rush out of pissing on other people in the name of defending society from these ‘problems’. Did I mention that crusades and wars against ‘non-‘ or marginal problems are an excellent way for an established hierarchy and system to maintain public legitimacy. In the end , it is about continuing a shitty scam which ‘benefits’ a few at the cost of everybody else.

What do you think? Comments?

attention

  1. FlybyNight
    May 20, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    agree…

  2. May 20, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/mother-tongue/9932151/Crash-test-mummies-women-mustnt-sacrifice-sleep-when-having-it-all.html

    a couple things come to mind…

    it’s easier to measure BAC than fatique…

    employers need their people to work long hours over long commutes for low pay…

    many people get tired around mid-day, they aren’t allowed to have siesta’s… they are often on the road in 5 o’clock traffic or powering through the day with more coffee-probably affecting their ability to get a full night’s sleep…

    also due to puritanical views, someone who works hard and falls asleep behind the wheel is morally superior to someone who parties hard and causes just as destructive an accident…

    Bingo!

  3. May 20, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    oh, most peeps I know who got DUI’s wound up paying 10k before they were done…

    it is a huge cash cow and even lower income people need wheels…

    and bingo!

  4. May 20, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    The psychological explanation you’re looking for with all these people on crusades to solve “non-problems” is called “Crusaderism.” Can be found here and is KEY to understanding what drives these nanny nazis:

    This is just part 2 of a 7 part series but gives you general idea

    It is the need for useless work and fake productivity inherent in Capitalism that is the real problem.

  5. Steve P
    May 21, 2013 at 1:55 am

    Well, sure. The Road Rules are not there primarily to protect road users’ safety; they are the to protect the state’s investment in the infrastructure.

    stonerwithaboner: “employers need their people to work long hours over long commutes for low pay…”. Exactly.

    Certainly where I live (and no doubt it’s common elsewhere), if you lose your license through drink driving you can, on payment of the appropriate lawyer and government fees, get an exemption to allow you to drive to work. So what is purportedly one of the most serious driving offences is suddenly not so serious if it means you can’t go to work, earn your money… and pay your taxes.

    • March 25, 2017 at 4:34 pm

      On yeah. In our province of Quebec, the City of Montreal has a contract with a car company called Burstall who tows and impounds cars. Normally, who have to wait 30 days before you can pay the impounding fees and reclaim your vehicle, but they often allow you to take it out right away if you pay for all 30 days. I hear that if your car or truck is valuable and is worth more to them to resell it, and that the person needs it for work and won’t have the money in 30 days and wants to take it out now, they’ll refuse him/her and them claim the vehicle for themselves if they can’t pay by the deadline.

  6. Webe
    May 21, 2013 at 3:52 am

    Definitely. Drunking driving is only an example.
    Several years ago they announced “zero tolerance” and re-introduction of “norms and values” in society as part of the political agenda here. I was impressed by the results:
    e.g. A mother (on a bicycle) takes a right turn on a red light at 15:30, obviously in a hurry to pick up children at day care … Traffic ticket! Everybody knows this will dent crime, as criminals are usually women, travel by bicycle, and are in a rush.
    e.g. Ticket first grade children with a team of policemen ready and waiting 50 yards from the school, for going home (accompanied by their parents) after a Christmas dinner the last day of school for not having the required bicycle lights, even though these children are never out after dark on a normal day. Makes it clear once and for all that the most serious problems facing society are not corruption, organized crime, or white collar crime, but bicycle lights for first graders.
    e.g. Woman with a pram boards empty tram. Is required to fold the pram and take the child out, even though she is getting off two stops down, and the pram will only get in the way of other people after another hundred or so passengers board. Comment by conductor: “Rules are Rules. We all have to respect norms and values”.
    Yep, it’s all about the illusion of order and control: a gob of spit on your windshield is worth more fuss than a murder a block away. It’s the domino effect: Just think what it would lead to if we permit teen-agers to gob!

  7. Hamsta
    May 22, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    One major source of this “nannyism” is the rise of feminism. As women gain more and more influence public life and business, they bring with them the natural female tendency to seek maximum safety.

    The rise of feminism exactly parallels the enormous efforts (to the point of inanity) to reduce risk in all areas of activity. Many of these measures are illogical and rather flimsy in effectiveness. But this is rarely a deterent to the feminine sense of logic.

    Even the legal system has fallen prey to the feminine mindset.

    • March 25, 2017 at 4:46 pm

      So because of that, banks are taking less risks and making it harder to apply for loan products, credit cards or even overdraft protection even though there’s practically no risk to them at all; all their money’s insured by the government.

      Imagine being with them for over 20 years without any serious problems and when you want to open a new account, they treat you like a newbie and put all these restrictions on you. It’s a slap in the face.

  8. May 24, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Here’s a link backing up what you say: http://www.motorists.org/dui/

    —-

    Thanks!

    • June 2, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      While driving, Aurini drinks, smokes and shoots heroin.

      • June 2, 2013 at 5:19 pm

        don’t forget, will receiving cunnilingus from other hbd aware, race realist alter-righties…

  9. May 25, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    AD,

    diff topic but you might find this interesting…

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2013/05/25/xbox-one-ps4-or-wii-u-were-in-a-console-rut/?partner=yahootix

    While technology has gotten better on consumer products, we haven’t seen a game changer for awhile…

    • javert
      May 29, 2013 at 12:46 pm

      I do agree that neither console offer something big. Motion recognition needs to be faster and more precise in order for games to truly embrace it (and Microsoft needs to learn that taking away the use of buttons in form of a single hand remote defeats the purpose of adding motion sensibility to control the game), but I put the biggest blame on game developers rather than hardware companies. The technology is there but developers have been lazy as hell to take advantage of it. See their complete apathy for creating Wii games when it was launched and there were no other equivalent, or the fact that no big company (be it EA, Epic, Capcom…) has made something truly groundbreaking on these new game interfaces. All is about the best graphics, the physics of blood spraying and boobs bouncing or the “new groundbreaking story” regardless of whether the gameplay itself is fun or not. Even worse, they have been lowering the standards in skill needed to play in the name of appealing to a bigger audience. No point in having good consoles if the game ideas are going to suck.

  10. javert
    May 29, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    On a related topic, this reminds me of the mercury issue which is related to several points made here in this blog:

    Recent regulations from both US and Europe have been lowering limits on mercury in water to nanogram and even picograms per liter! Not only is really expensive to test this levels, the sampling procedures have become so bizarre that even defy the definition of sample contamination: you are supposed to protect the sample from rainwater because mercury in air supposedly precipitates (in the sense of falling) with rain. Weren’t rain going to fall in the water body anyway? The mere breathe from a person with amalgams may contaminate the samples. Slightly tangential, but this brings the issue of environmental agencies demanding amalgam residues being treated as hazardous waste (which is probably justified) while official Amercial Dental Associaton’s stand is that “relation between amalgam use and mercury poisoning has not been demonstrated”.

    I can imagine two possibilities. 1) More llkely, governments are pretending to be stringent today to erase from collective memory the fact that mercury was irresponsible spilled on water for decades (this supported that recent calims about the miligrams per liter levels of mercury in the past being result of sample contamination just as nanogram per liter levels are susceptible to) or 2) We are so screwed by cumulative mercury contamination that currently eating fish is being discouraged by health agencies in the base of mercury that has either “appeared from nowhere” or “had always been there but no one noticed until the health heros came to the rescue”.

    Do you have any information about this? Would be interesting to hear your opinion on this.

    • March 25, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      Mercury-based dental amalgams are a serious health risk, as dentists must use gloves and mask while handling it and due to those aforementioned government regulations, have to dispose of used fillings as hazardous waste instead of simply flushing it down the toilet.

      Meanwhile, you’re carrying this stuff in your mouth and it leaches mercury into your system. Go figure.

      Mercury is a common pollutant that gets concentrated as it moves up the food chain and it’s therefore recommended for the average person not to eat fish more that twice a week, and some fish species are so polluted it’s advisable not to eat them period.

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