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NTSB Recommends Lower Drunk Driving Threshold Nationwide: 0.05 BAC

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the americans-pledge-to-get-fatter-in-response dept.

Transportation 996

Officials for the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board have recommended a nationwide lowering of the blood-alcohol level considered safe for operating a car. The threshold is currently 0.08% — the NTSB wants to cut that to 0.05%. "That's about one drink for a woman weighing less than 120 lbs., two for a 160 lb. man. More than 100 countries have adopted the .05 alcohol content standard or lower, according to a report by the board's staff. In Europe, the share of traffic deaths attributable to drunken driving was reduced by more than half within 10 years after the standard was dropped, the report said. NTSB officials said it wasn't their intention to prevent drivers from having a glass of wine with dinner, but they acknowledged that under a threshold as low as .05 the safest thing for people who have only one or two drinks is not to drive at all. ... Alcohol concentration levels as low as .01 have been associated with driving-related performance impairment, and levels as low as .05 have been associated with significantly increased risk of fatal crashes, the board said."

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Why not just 0? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724093)

I've always wondered, why not just 0%? Why allow someone to knowingly decrease their ability to drive?

Re:Why not just 0? (4, Insightful)

bhcompy (1877290) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724101)

Probably so that people that just washed their mouth with Listerine aren't driving illegally

Re:Why not just 0? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724157)

Listerine might trigger a breathalyzer but it won't show up in your bloodstream. If you are ever pulled over for being suspected of driving under the influence, you have the right to refuse a breathalyzer in favour of a blood test.

Re:Why not just 0? (-1, Flamebait)

stanlyb (1839382) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724403)

There are many good "Listerine" like mouth washer, which are now not sold in US because they have too high level of alcohol. And just for the record, the best known worms killer is alcohol, which explains why the regular american is so fat and full with worms...the intestinal worms....

Re:Why not just 0? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724419)

You have the right to refuse the test. The DA also has the right to present the fact that you refused the test at trial.

Re:Why not just 0? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724435)

Listerine might trigger a breathalyzer but it won't show up in your bloodstream. If you are ever pulled over for being suspected of driving under the influence, you have the right to refuse a breathalyzer in favour of a blood test.

maybe if they could do that on the road side... but instead they take you to jail, take all your stuff... then you go through the booking process, and then they take your blood.

Re:Why not just 0? (1)

drcagn (715012) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724479)

refusing a breathalyzer in some places, like Louisiana, carries heavy penalties in itself.

Re:Why not just 0? (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724175)

Many dishes are cooked with alcohol in them, and contrary to popular belief all of the alcohol doesn't cook out of it. Going out and eating some French food then driving home could lead to you having a .005 BAC and getting arrested, which isn't exactly warranted.

Re:Why not just 0? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724355)

.05, not .005: big difference. A dish made with wine won't get you anywhere near .05 (but I think my friend's rum balls might).

Re:Why not just 0? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724555)

(that was in response to the 0% suggestion...)

Re:Why not just 0? (1)

Imaman (2733027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724361)

Food can contain alcohol, yes, so these very low (0% in practice) levels need the correct law enforcement procedures.

Re:Why not just 0? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724187)

So, right now, there's a huge negative stigma associated with getting a DUI. It's rare enough, and heinous enough, that society views it as a serious mistake.

If you reduce the BAC threshold enough, then getting a DUI will become so common that the negative social stigma will be gone, which will defeat the purpose of having the law to begin with.

Re:Why not just 0? (1)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724265)

http://www.crimemapping.com/ [crimemapping.com]

According to this map it's pretty damn common where I am already

Re:Why not just 0? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724415)

No, because aside of the social stigma you will also be punished by fines and incarceration.

Re:Why not just 0? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724243)

Why let individuals drive at all? Wouldn't it be better if the only drivers made that their profession, with continuing education and regular fitness screening?

Re:Why not just 0? (5, Insightful)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724375)

The world certainly would be entirely safe from driving accidents if nobody was ever allowed to drive. 0% is physically impossible: alcohols are a broad class of naturally occurring organic chemicals, that will be present at some (tiny) level in any human body, even if you have never taken a drink in your life. If you want to permit anyone to drive, then you'll need to set a non-zero limit somewhere; preferably above natural fluctuations in baseline level and measurement error. So, where to set the level? Do you need to check whether the driver has consumed a drink in the last year? Week? Hour? Minute? Rather than setting a useless/impossible "0 is lowest, so it must be best" limit, one should look at *actually available data* to determine how alcohol levels correlate with actual increases in accidents.

P.S.: do you ever stay up an extra 10 minutes at night, to finish reading that book chapter / checking your favorite news site? If you do, do you avoid driving the next day, because you've *knowingly decreased your driving ability* by sleep deprivation? And, if you didn't know before, you do now --- so don't even think about stepping in a car if you've stayed up the least bit past your bedtime.

Re:Why not just 0? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724385)

We need to do the same with sleeping pills, pain pills, lack of sleep, cell phones, paper reading material, makeup, cigarettes (you seen what happens when a driver drops a cigarette in their lap and it rolls down their groin?), caffeine (large amounts can cause lack of focus in some people), benzodiazepines, getting blow jobs from a passenger, people driving home after seeing a dentist in some cases...

Holy shit, I could do this all day...

kids in the car yelling, passengers talking, sign spinners, bill boards, radio advertisements, cops running radar, red light cameras, dashboard instrument panels with their flashing lights, wearing headphones while driving, radios and all the buttons you can fiddle with...

Outlaw them all. Why allow someone to knowingly decrease their ability to drive?

Re:Why not just 0? (2)

Entropius (188861) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724407)

Because there are lots of other things that impair your ability to drive: driving while tired, for instance. Should we not let people drive unless they've had enough sleep? At some point you have to let people make their own decisions.

Re:Why not just 0? (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724413)

Gee, Wally, I dunno. Because law-enforcement resources aren't endless, and need to be prioritized effectively?

Re:Why not just 0? (4, Insightful)

Grashnak (1003791) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724537)

What are you going to do? Turn the inside of a car into a sterile wasteland and ban every possible thing that might decrease someone's ability to drive by event the smallest amount? Hey, no radio, phone, GPS, and definitely no talking to the driver. No driving hungry, or after taking cold medication, or after a Red Bull. All of those things could impact your driving in some minor way.

It's a question of proportionality. There is a point of diminishing returns beyond which the effort required to prevent people from driving after drinking becomes absurd. We can't even successfully prevent all idiots from driving at .08, despite millions in enforcement and PR campaigns. Imagine the pointlessness of spending an order of magnitude more to also fail to stop people from having a beer with dinner.

There is a point at which alchol impairs your ability to drive a car to the extent that you are an unacceptable danger. That point may be .08 or it may be .05, but it's definitely not "anything above 0".

I approve (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724109)

This will save far more lives than any sort of gun regulation ever could.

Re:I approve (1)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724353)

While I don't contend that gun regulation will save lives, I don't think this will either.

Re:I approve (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724483)

The data cited in the article and summary say otherwise. To wit:

levels as low as .05 have been associated with significantly increased risk of fatal crashes

Re:I approve (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724367)

This will save far more lives than any sort of gun regulation ever could.

Is this a joke? It's going to simply result in more arrests and more money for the government -- nothing more.

Good! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724111)

I think lowering the threshold to .05 is good . . . even though it's not politically correct on Slashdot.

Re:Good! (1)

therealkevinkretz (1585825) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724321)

Then you should also agree with raising the driving age to 22, and taking away driving privileges of those over 60. Either of these would save many more lives.

Re:Good! (5, Interesting)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724551)

Taking away driving privileges over 60? No. Requiring regular re-testing/re-certification? Absolutely... provided that you require it for *everybody*. If we *all* needed to go re-test for driving every 5 years (for example), there'd be a huge reduction in the number of accidents over-all, and people would be more likely to keep abreast of changes to the laws and safety standards.

As for raising the driving age to 22? I've been saying for years that we should raise the driving age to 21, and lower the drinking age to 14. That way you have a chance to learn to drink in a supervised setting with adults who (theoretically) know how to drink safely, and you have a chance to get all the stupid "hey guys, check this out!" stories out of your system before you're ever allowed near the wheel of a car.

Re:Good! (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724543)

It will certainly make designated drivers even more popular.

First tired cliche! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724113)

That's about one drink for a woman weighing less than 120 lbs., two for a 160 lb. man.

[[Insert tired cliche here about finding an American female weighing less than 120lbs or male weighing less than 160lbs]]

Re:First tired cliche! (1)

drummerboybac (1003077) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724143)

If I weighed 160lbs Id be bedridden from malnutrition

Re:First tired cliche! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724273)

I am 6'4 and 128 lbs, hardly bedridden.

Re:First tired cliche! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724405)

That's either a vegan body style or somebody from Kenya. Either way, super thin!

Re:First tired cliche! (1)

serbanp (139486) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724439)

At a BMI of 15.6, you're definitely NOT the epitome of a healthy human. Maybe you meant 128kg instead?

the same board... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724131)

that said that driving above 55 was not safe (or economical), the same board that wanted to ban all electronic devices....
yeah! right!.

Risk based determination? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724133)

Driving and booze is like talking about guns. Put away your jerky knees and show me the data.

Mythbusters show just how impaired you are at .08% (5, Informative)

Gregory Eschbacher (2878609) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724141)

Look this is not ideal for folks who want to go out and have a large drink with dinner. But on Mythbusters, they've done a number of driving myths at .07999% BAC, and the results are pretty dramatic. You are definitely impaired at .08%.

Re:Mythbusters show just how impaired you are at . (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724249)

I saw that episode. They weren't taking the test seriously and were doing exactly what you'd expect horsing around on a closed course making a mockery of the entire scientific process.

I can assure you, on a real road, people tend to stay a bit more alert after consuming a few drinks.

Re:Mythbusters show just how impaired you are at . (5, Insightful)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724495)

I can assure you, on a real road, people tend to stay a bit more alert after consuming a few drinks.

Well, I'm certainly glad that we've got the accurate scientific evidence of the assurances of an Anonymous Coward to set us straight!

Re:Mythbusters show just how impaired you are at . (4, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724515)

making a mockery of the entire scientific process.

On Mythbusters, you say?

Re:Mythbusters show just how impaired you are at . (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724311)

.08% sounds really high to me. .02% is the limit where I live. We have another limit at .1% which can give you up to two years in prison.

Re:Mythbusters show just how impaired you are at . (1)

Entropius (188861) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724447)

Where is this?

Re:Mythbusters show just how impaired you are at . (5, Insightful)

simp7264 (465544) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724319)

You mean the same episode where it showed being tired or distracted by cell phones or anything else were actually significantly more impairing than the alcohol?
I don't think we should get rid of drunk driving laws by any stretch of the imagination. However, there are already plenty of distracted/reckless driver laws that exist. I just don't see the a need to create specific laws for every single possible way someone can increase their danger while driving.

Re:Mythbusters show just how impaired you are at . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724437)

Problem is it's an arbitrary limit that doesn't scale properly with gender, body size, etc. The limit should be re-evaluated, but not so as to line MADD's or any LEO/municipality's coffers.

Re:Mythbusters show just how impaired you are at . (0)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724459)

Are you citing Mythbusters? REALLY?

Re:Mythbusters show just how impaired you are at . (2, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724527)

No, every single one of there tests have been seriously flawed. IN fact, anything involving driving on the show borders on surprisingly stupid.

That's not even getting into the issue that the issue is reflexes and response time, so you should test reflexes and response time, not how much of X is in your system.
Of course, that would be reasonable, and remove most people over 60 from driving.

As a criminal defense attorney (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724145)

As a criminal defense attorney, I welcome these changes to the law.

Revenue Collection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724153)

More shakedown-style state revenue collection from law enforcement. 'Nuff Said.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Revenue Collection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724331)

Of course you'd say that, Mister Ethanol-fueled ;)

Incompatible (5, Insightful)

GenieGenieGenie (942725) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724155)

This is incompatible with an infrastructure that is so hostile towards public transportation (outside of some lucky big cities). I live in some backwater suburb in FL and I can't get to a pub to have a couple of drink with a buddy without incurring an extra 20$ in cab fare? In Europe this was easy, you just hop on the bus/U-Bahn/tram and viola. Also in the suburbs.

Re:Incompatible (4, Insightful)

ClintJCL (264898) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724205)

If you care about money, you'd drink at home, where the cost per liquor is approximately 1/24th.

Re:Incompatible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724379)

"you just hop on the bus/U-Bahn/tram and viola"

I don't remember string quartets on the buses I rode in Germany.

Re:Incompatible (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724327)

What did playing the viola have to do with drinking?

Re:Incompatible (1)

Entropius (188861) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724519)

I've heard some viola players that I've wondered about...

Re:Incompatible (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724383)

So pay the cab fare, or petition to build better public transit, or move to an urban area that already has public transit. But please don't drive drunk just because it's legal.

Re:Incompatible (2)

TXG1112 (456055) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724461)

There is nothing lucky about having good public transportation infrastructure. It requires sensible public policy, a populace willing to pay taxes and an electorate that votes for it. Perhaps after a few thousand people lose their drivers license they may be inclined to support it.

Re:Incompatible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724475)

So your objection is that this will make your poison-imbibing hobby a little more expensive?

Re:Incompatible (4, Insightful)

arbulus (1095967) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724477)

This right here. Floridian here as well and public transportation is non-existent. Cabs only come when you call them. They don't just roam around. And they are extraordinarily expensive. You would pay upwards of $10-$15 per mile. The closest restaurants that are decent where I live are about 10 miles away. $50 for a ride home?

If we had decent public transportation. I would be all for making any alcohol consumption before driving illegal. But we don't live in a world where that is possible. But the truth is, DUI or no, public transportation saves lives. Getting in your car, even sober, is the most dangerous thing you do each day. And even if you are the safest driver on the planet, the other guy who t-bones you in an intersection isn't. Building a rich public transportation system will save countless live from just everyday traffic accidents, not just DUI related accidents. And it would facilitate stricter driving laws.

Re:Incompatible (4, Interesting)

Entropius (188861) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724501)

Let your buddy drive?

I live in one of those "lucky big cities": Washington, DC. It takes me 45 minutes to travel the 1.6 miles to work if I use public transportation, and the roundtrip fare is $6.40 ($1.60 each way, and Metro is 50% subsidized). The subway here breaks down constantly, and is rather unpleasant -- people shit on the escalators (http://unsuckdcmetro.blogspot.com/2013/05/metro-pooper.html happened yesterday), for instance.

Perhaps mass transit works better other places -- I'm sure that in (picking a city at random) Frankfurt it is more pleasant than here. But mass transit is not a land of faeries and rainbow-pooping unicorns.

Sign me up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724165)

I have always refused to drink any alcohol (beer, wine, or liquor) whenever I drive. I just do not see the point in adding any risk, particularly because I am not a regular drinker to begin with.

Re:Sign me up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724499)

I have always refused to keep a firearm in my home. I just do not see the point in adding any risk, particularly because I am not a regular gun owner to begin wtih.

Why? (5, Insightful)

BlastfireRS (2205212) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724169)

All this will result in is more arrests. The average Joe isn't going to know the difference between .08% and .05%; the only result will be a larger probability in jail time for someone who would otherwise be considered fine to drive today. If we're going to change the numbers in this manner, why not just make it 0% and at least be clear about the message: Drink at all, and you'd better be willing to not drive for a couple of hours.

Re:Why? (4, Informative)

mcmonkey (96054) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724253)

If we're going to change the numbers in this manner, why not just make it 0% and at least be clear about the message: Drink at all, and you'd better be willing to not drive for a couple of hours.

Because machines made by man aren't perfect. You can be completely free of alcohol and blow a 0.01.

So basically you're suggesting we give police carte blanche to arrest any driver at any time.

Re:Why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724397)

Oh, you think the police don't already have that ability? How quaint!

Re:Why? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724297)

Bingo: When you make it common to be arrested for drunk driving (some places in Canada have 0.03% now!!!) people will simply look at it like you got a ticket for jaywalking.

Expect people to stop saying "You're a fucking asshole" when you say you were drunk driving in a few years. Instead they'll say "Oh, that sucks. I got a speeding ticket for 5 over last week too. Fucking cops." or "Holy shit the penalties for that are so ridiculous. I really hope you get out of it."

That's probably *not* what is going to make people respect that drunk driving is a bad idea.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724301)

Look at the first reply. My Mormon grandma could fail a 0% standard.
On the other hand, drinking is a factor in lots of fatal crashes. This might save lives; maybe someone should try the experiment.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

Entropius (188861) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724541)

Banning X does not always reduce the number of people who do X, and certainly doesn't necessarily reduce the harmful consequences of X. See: alcohol, guns, marijuana.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

bananaquackmoo (1204116) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724351)

Exactly. More arrests means more money.

But this is America! (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724197)

In Europe, the share of traffic deaths attributable to drunken driving was reduced by more than half within 10 years after the standard was dropped, the report said.

I'm reminded of the recent stories on The Daily Show about the more restrictive gun laws in Australia. Yeah, deaths are down, but freedom!

I like to think of it as natural selection sped up. All those firearms and drunk drivers are just thinning the herd. Those folks were just slowing us down. It's the future of the human race. Give it a few more years, we'll be friggin' x-men!

Permissive firearms and drunk driving laws: don't you want to be a super hero?

/ disclaimer: I own firearms and alcohol, though I don't use them at the same time.

Re:But this is America! (5, Insightful)

NEW22 (137070) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724295)

If firearm and drunk driving fatalities only occurred to the people mishandling the firearm or drinking the alcohol, sure. Unfortunately they don't :-(

Re:But this is America! (1)

DamonHD (794830) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724409)

+1

Re:But this is America! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724441)

I like to think of it as natural selection sped up. All those firearms and drunk drivers are just thinning the herd. [...]
Permissive firearms and drunk driving laws: don't you want to be a super hero?

As long as you drink and then run over or shoot your own child, I'm fine with this

Re:But this is America! (1)

InvalidError (771317) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724467)

Natural selection?

How does a drunk driver killing bystanders or other drivers/passengers but surviving the crash himself help through natural selection? Same goes for random guys going on killing sprees.

Natural selection implies that the victim did something to earn a premature demise. Victims of killing sprees, terrorist attacks, drunk driving, etc. are usually only guilty of being at the wrong place at the wrong time through no fault of their own.

Re:But this is America! (1)

fazey (2806709) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724489)

That is because they take bribes.

How else are they supposed to... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724203)

How else are they supposed to keep all the police, lawyers, correctional officers and the unions running the criminal justice system employed?!

Commercial drivers are already limited to 0.02 (5, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724251)

Why not make 0.02% BAC universal? I understand that there are practical limits, but should you really be going out for dinner, downing a bottle, and driving home?
(a 750ml bottle of wine over 2 hours for a 180lb person @ 0.08 = legal)

Have a glass of wine or a beer with dinner. Heck, go ahead and have two. But if you're going to drink any more than that DON'T FUCKING DRIVE A CAR.

Cell phones (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724255)

And in the meantime, I have to deal everyday with the asshat having a conversation in the left hand lane, weaving, doing 55mph one minute then 80mph a couple minutes later, then back down 60, then having other cut me off - making me brake hard - because they need to get around him so they can keep their 80mph pace in a 65.

We need self driving cars and humans not allowed to touch the steering wheel.

It doesn't matter and doesn't help. (5, Insightful)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724261)

The majority of accidents are caused by people well over the insipid .08 B.A.C in the first place. B.A.C. isn't a good indication of driving impairment or base levels of intoxication. You can't really measure something arbitrary like drunkeness with a simple blood test. When you can use BAC as an indication of intoxication, it's already too late. Lowering the threshold isn't going to do anything more than increase the amount of people with DUI's, it won't do a damn bit to prevent accidents or make the roads safer. Some people are a danger on the road sober lets focus on them first.

Re:It doesn't matter and doesn't help. (2, Interesting)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724533)

Why does this sound like the "we don't need background checks at gun shows, we need better help for the mentally unstable" argument?

You're right that there's people now who have 10 drinks and decide to go driving anyway, and this will do nothing to stop them.
You're also right that there's people now who are perfectly sober and still can't seem to find their turn signal.
And yes, there's people who have 1, maybe 2 drinks, who would not get a DWI now, but would under a lower level, while there has been no ascertainment of their actual ability of operating a vehicle; some will be fine, others will fall over if asked to stand on one leg. The former will whine and moan about it on facebook/twitter, the latter deserve the DWI in the first place.

But then there's the people who have 1, maybe 2 drinks, and would chance it under an 0.08% law, but not under an 0.05% law.
One may argue that they're just after the DWI, that it'll be a cash cow, that it goes against freedom and justice and the american way or whatever and that this last group is just a byproduct. But it's not one that should be ignored for the sake of those who think that they're the special ones who are fine.

Of course, if you can think of a reasonable impairment test that can be administered quickly and accurately that doesn't rely on BAC, I'd happily support any effort to have that test replace the BAC tests.

Re:It doesn't matter and doesn't help. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724549)

No. Let's not.

The law needs a threshold. Who cares what it is. If more people get done for DUI then good. Eventually people will stop drinking and then getting in a car.

Why is this such a big deal? Is it acceptable for Heavy Machinery Operators to have a 'little drink' before they operate that for lift or steel press of some other piece of Dangerous Equipment?

What is a ton + of car if not heavy machinery?

Yes some people are a danger on the road sober, so what? The police can deal with them *at the same time*.

Re:It doesn't matter and doesn't help. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724553)

Maybe instead of a life changing event make it a more graduated system. As it is now we ruin many peoples lives over this. Far more than it was meant to save. .2 24 hour suspension .3 3 day .4-.8 2 week .8 > your in trouble...

why not just put us all in jail (3, Insightful)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724277)

Not every city is as great as New York or where the fuck ever these people making the rules are living. There is not always such a thing as public transportation that is worth a shit. Or taxi drivers that are few and far between if they exist at all. Just throw us all in jail right now and get it over with.

Re:why not just put us all in jail (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724345)

Just think how many jobs that would create! We'd need so many prison managers, wardens, janitors, doctors, etc.

Re:why not just put us all in jail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724497)

Yeah, so you're expecting to have better ambulances and hospitals, a surgeon on call, because that drunk driver plowed into you rather than finding some other way home?

The crime should be for _impaired_ driving (2, Insightful)

bhlowe (1803290) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724305)

Horrible. Drunk driving laws should be based on how a person is driving, not an arbitrary level on a meter that isn't tied to an individuals ability to drive. With video cameras in just about every police car, there is no reason that a little video evidence could be used to demonstrate impaired driving... Switching to a system like this would: bust people incapacitated by other drugs, and bust people who are distracted by devices--- a worse distraction that driving drunk in many cases. (Why is it that if you get in an accident while texting its a slap on the wrist, but if you're driving perfectly well but get stopped at a DUI checkpoint with a .08, its thousands of dollars and a trip to jail?) The DUI laws, while well intentioned, are a huge source of revenue for the criminal "justice" system-- where often, not always, the crime is victimless.

Good start but... (5, Insightful)

Ion Berkley (35404) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724313)

...get serious about chasing drink driving regardless of the number.....US traffic stops with any probable cause for DUI need to get scientific, every gets to blow in the bag, non of this walk in a straight line, recite the alphabet backwards nonsense. And above all drink-driving needs to be properly stigmatized socially, I was stunned how many people drank and drive when I moved to the US from Europe, folks regularly drink many times the limit and drove when public transport/taxi is a viable alternative
 

well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724315)

at some point you are going to have to shut every bar down.

I mean if the limit gets low enough, then no one will ever be able to leave a bar driving. So just outlaw bars.

And then you can install breathalizers and blood toxicollagy tests in the ignition of every car so that you can't drive after a sip of alcohol, listerine, coughsyrup, or hell even a slice of turkey.

I want the government so far up my ass they can tell that I need to brush my teeth.

Politics kill (0)

stanlyb (1839382) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724329)

So, why dont we put a limit of number of politics, before it gets out of control? For example, 1 politic per 100 millions....and if it does not work, we could increase the limit.

You know what they should ban? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724347)

Cars

I mean even without alcohol or cell phones those things are fairly deadly.

it will affect industry, for sure ... (1)

nblender (741424) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724357)

Around here the law is still .08 but if you're caught at .05 or above, they will suspend your license for 24 hours but not charge you with DUI. Ignoring the legalities of that, my point in posting is that this has affected my willingness to go out and meet up with friends at a pub... I know I never drank anywhere near what was required to blow .08 and probably never drank anywhere near what is required to blow .05... But now we just never seem to meet up anymore... It's not like a big drunk-fest or anything... We used to just sit around and chat over a pint or two... I would typically switch to a club soda for the last hour or so before going home...

Re:it will affect industry, for sure ... (1)

fazey (2806709) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724547)

You would be surprised how easy it is to get to .08

NTSB Power Grab Never Ends (1)

Pauldow (1860502) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724369)

The NTSB won't be satisfied until everyone is off the streets. They keep increasing their power grab by going after the largest cause of death, but once they get that, there will always be another reason for the most number of deaths for them to go after. It never ends with the government increasing their control over us.

No (0)

mbone (558574) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724371)

Resist this. The dirty secret is that 0.08 is already in the range of normal population variation, especially when age is factored in (i.e., a good fraction of the over-60 population sober are worse drivers than a good fraction of the 20-30 yr old population at 0.08). Lower it and, for example, I don't see how you could rationally also allow anyone over the age of 60 to drive.

Of course, I don't think that there is much rationality in these matters.

Studies have shown... (4, Insightful)

shellster_dude (1261444) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724401)

We'd prevent many accidents and most of the fatal ones if we forced everyone to drive no faster than 15 miles an hour.

The obvious problem is that it is impractical, likely to severely impact average individuals, and frankly a pretty lousy tradeoff of "freedom" versus safety. I use freedom in quotes, because yes, "driving is a privilege not a right". On a side note, those who make the idiotic argument that the internet should be a "right" because it is almost impossible to live without it are on far more untenable ground than claiming that driving ought to be a "right".

Likewise, with drinking, there are similar practical, freedom versus safety, and impact arguments. I personally fall on the, "the government doesn't give a crap about safety and wants to scam citizens for millions of dollars each year" side of the issue.

Make it 0% (1, Insightful)

BobandMax (95054) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724421)

There is no excuse for drinking and driving. And, the people with the fewest spare cycles are those most likely to drive impaired. No one has a "right" to endanger others while driving because they are not focused on the task at hand. That includes cell phone conversations, drinking, stuffing their face or whatever they are doing, other than driving.

ah yes the (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724429)

they use it over their so it must work fallacy.

If reflexes impairment at .05 is your aim, the you will need to pull a lot of people off the road who don't drink becasue their natural reflexs are slower then that.

If safer roads are you goal. And I would be fine with a reflexes test being a mandatory part of licensing.

penalties are too harsh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724449)

this would be fine, if penalties werent increasing every year. it is pretty bad in this midwestern state, where you can lose your license for 10 years for a 3rd offense. and that includes your whole life, not "within the past 10 years" as it is elsewhere, ie if you get in trouble a couple of times as a college kid, you had better not get in trouble even once for the rest of your life, or the state will remove your ability to have any meaningful life (you become a felon, and public transit doesnt exist here)

Punish all negligent driving (2)

mayko (1630637) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724487)

What portion of accidents, and fatal accidents are _caused_ by alcohol impaired drivers? (I believe they categorize the incident as "alcohol related" if any party has any alcohol in their system).

No question that certain alcohol levels are severely impairing and dangerous, but shouldn't we be punishing all incidents of negligent driving with some level of standardization. If you run a red light, speed excessively (relative to traffic flow), or drive recklessly shouldn't you be subject to the same jail time and lifelong criminal record as someone who gets popped at a checkpoint or busted sleeping in their car while parked? This notion that _only_ drunk drivers cause driving deaths is completely misleading. Maybe if we start putting 17 year old kids in jail for 90 days and taking away their license when they get pulled over for texting, then we'll put all this stuff in perspective.

I wake up at that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43724509)

So I am legally drunk? Or is that illegally drunk? Oh, yeah, I wake up in my car every day. Motor running. In case I got to get away. They really are after me. Got no license, neither. My only insurance is by Smith & Wesson. This is why pot needs to be legal. Smack too. Needle exchange at every drugstore. And is it illegal for hookers to do business in Vegas? It is hot there. Cheryl Ladd used to be hotter.

Waste of Time (1)

EverlastingPhelps (568113) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724513)

The police are already complaining in America that they can't catch "drunk" drivers at .08. Why? Because at .08 your driving isn't impaired enough to show in your driving. "We need random stops/checkpoints/whatever because we can't catch the people between .08 and .1." Dropping it to .05 is a complete waste of time and just a sop to the cops who want to arrest people (or let them go) on a whim.

according to my math... (1)

bobaferret (513897) | about a year and a half ago | (#43724523)

According to my math enforcing a .05 BAC might upset the Inebriati [youtube.com] . I'd recommend against it....

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