Friday, October 26, 2007

A New Strategy to Discourage Driving Drunk

In the first phase of the plan, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, backed by a national association of state highway officials and car manufacturers, will announce here on Monday a campaign to change drunken driving laws in 49 states to require that even first offenders install a device that tests drivers and shuts down the car if it detects alcohol.

Many states already require the devices, known as ignition interlocks, for people who have been convicted several times. Last year New Mexico became the first to make them mandatory after a first offense. With that tactic and others, the state saw an 11.3 percent drop in alcohol-related fatalities last year.

Statistics show that about 13,000 people die each year in car crashes in which a driver was legally drunk.

He also supports unobtrusive alcohol sensing in all cars. “When 40 percent of all our crashes are alcohol-involved,” he said, “I don’t think it’s going to be that difficult of a sell.”

A New Mexico company, TruTouch Technologies, is modifying a technique developed for measuring blood chemistry in diabetics and using it to measure alcohol instead. The appliance shines a light through the skin on the forearm and analyzes what bounces back.

Future devices may read alcohol content when a driver’s palm touches the steering wheel or the gear shift lever, said Jim McNally, the chief executive of TruTouch.
Sounds good to me.

With 13,000 people dying annually from drunk drivers it makes me wonder why we spend so much time, money and effort on the war on drugs and the war on terrorism, when more lives could be saved if we were to just focus on decreasing drunk driving accidents.

via NY Times


bruce alm said...

Drunk driving. Dwi and dui. A license to drink.
Madd, sadd, radd, A.A., and alanon/al-anon related.

Copyright: 1987-2007 � Bruce Alm. Documentation is available upon request.

The answer to the problem of drunk driving, etc. could be this; a permit for the purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages.

This would not only be a major assault on the problem of drunk driving, but would also have an effect on virtually all other crimes such as these;
murder, rape, assault, burglary, robbery, suicide, vandalism, wife beating, child beating, child molestation, the spread of aids, college binge drinking, animal cruelty, etc., the list is endless.

If this proposition was made law, there could be a major reduction in all these areas of concern, even though the emphasis concerning alcohol abuse seems to be drunk driving in particular.

There could also be many other positive results;

Families healed, better work performance, booze money spent on products that would help the economy (we've all heard of the guy who spends half his check in the bar on payday,) would spare many health problems, etc.

This new law could go something like this:

Any person found guilty of any crime where drinking was a factor would lose the right to purchase and/or consume alcoholic beverages.

For a first misdemeanor, a three year revocation. a second misdemeanor, a ten year revocation. a third misdemeanor, a lifetime revocation. Any felony crime, an automatic lifetime revocation.
Anyone caught drinking alcohol without a permit would receive a possible $1000 fine and/or jail sentence. those who would supply alcohol to people without a drinking permit (and possibly make money at it) would also lose his/her right to purchase alcoholic beverages.

What wife or husband would buy an alcoholic spouse a bottle?

What friend would give a problem drinker a drink at the possible cost of a thousand bucks and the loss of their own privilege? This could be a total discouragement to these would-be pushers.

This permit doesn't seem as though it would be a problem to put into effect. It could simply be a large X, (or whatever,) on the back of any driver's license in any state, to show who has been revoked, and cannot purchase alcohol.

Most people of drinking age have a driver's license, but one area that might be a problem could be New York City, where many people don't drive. This problem could be resolved, however, by a license-type ID specifically for the purchase of alcoholic beverages. All states have these already for the purpose of identification.

This would be a small price to pay for the saved lives of thousands of Americans each and every year.

After this, it would simply be a matter of drinking establishments checking ID's at the time of purchase.
In the case of crowded bars, they could simply check ID's at the door, as they do now.

Would this be a violation of rights?

There can be no argument here since they already check IDs of people who look as though they may not be old enough to drink.

This could be a good saying, "If a person who doesn't know how to drive shouldn't have a license to drive, a person who doesn't know how to drink shouldn't have a license to drink."

Here are some other pluses to this idea:

A good percentage of people in correctional institutions are there because of alcohol related offences . Because of this, court, penal, and law enforcement costs could drop dramatically. The need for A.A., alanon, madd, sadd, etc., could be greatly diminished as well.

What the alcoholic fears most, is the temptation to have that first drink, usually a spur of the moment type thing. Without the ability to do this, he/she is fairly safe. To start drinking again would almost have to be planned in advance, and to maintain steady drinking would be extremely difficult in most cases.

Even though A.A. members as a group don't become involved in political movements, it would seem as individuals they would all be in favor of a situation like this. Any person who wants to quit drinking, even if never having been in trouble with the law, could simply turn in their license for the non-drinking type.

A woman from MADD, on the NBC TODAY show, said "One out of every ten Americans has a drinking problem, and that 10% consumes 60% of all alcoholic beverages sold in the U.S." If this is true, there could be financial problems for breweries, liquor stores, bars, rehab centers, etc., as well as lawyers, massive amounts of tax revenue 'down the drain,' and so on. But it doesn't seem as though anyone would have a valid argument against a proposal such as this for financial reasons. To do so would be morally wrong, and could be likened to a drug-pusher attitude.

Even with the problems this new law could present, it still could, in one sense, be considered the simple solution to the number one drug problem in the U.S. and elsewhere. Alcoholism.


What ever happened to the skid row drunk?

Please note:
There is no correlation in the above article to the advocacy of prohibition, which was as much of a worthless fiasco as the "war on drugs" is today, for all the same reasons. The email criticism has mostly been "prohibition didn't work," even though the word "prohibition" has not been mentioned until now.
The argument would therefore have to be more compared as to whether or not there should be a law for people to have a driver's license to drive, rather than as to whether or not motor vehicles should be legal, or illegal.
These are separate issues altogether, and no connection should be made between the two.
Please send this article to as many people as you can think of, who might be interested. Alcohol is the worst drug there is, even though they always say "drugs and alcohol" as if alcohol isn't a drug. Care to help out? I have been sending this article to everyone/everyplace I can think of for years now with no luck. But I believe all it will take will be for this idea to become publicly known, and there will be no stopping it.

Fat Knowledge said...


Interesting idea. But, looking at how easy it is for underage individuals to get access to alcohol through either friends or fake ids, I wonder how successful this would be at stopping people from getting alcohol.

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