Alcoholic beverages are legal in our country. We tried prohibition for a time (back in those wonderful days when everyone acknowledge that giving the Federal Government such power actually required an amendment to the Constitution) but eventually gave it up (though only for alcohol; afterward we started drug prohibition without bothering to amend the Constitution to give it that sweeping new authority). I’ve been around both liberals and conservatives, both teetotalers and responsible drinkers, and I don’t know anyone who thinks bringing back alcohol prohibition was a good idea. I’ve never thought it was a good idea.
But I wish we would go ahead and criminalize all consumption of alcohol rather than follow the recommendation of the National Transportation Safety Board to lower the limit to .05%. A clear law that simply punishes drinkers is vastly preferable to a license to police to set up more check points and hunt more revenue. Seriously, if something has to change, stop tinkering with the blood-alcohol limit and bring back prohibition already!
Drunk driving laws are a never-ending source of free money that politicians can divert to industries and expect campaign cash in return. Consider the breathalyzer device that a DUI “offender” has to have put in his car:
“Once the device is installed by a certified Ignition Interlock provider the DUI offender is required to have the ignition interlock system monitored once a month. During the monitoring visit the provider will down load the data from the device, calibrate the device for accuracy and reset the device to allow the offender to drive for another month. Failure to come in for monitoring appointments will cause the interlock device to ‘Lock Out,’ thus restricting the vehicle operator from starting the vehicle.”
In other words, once you have your victim on the hook you get to shake him down every month. Government contracting beats working for a living. Leave that to the guy wanting to drive to work but only allowed to do so with your permission.
If you think everyone who pleads guilty to a DUI charge has any confidence they really are guilty, you are not thinking things through. A guy who thinks he has a case for innocence is threatened by the prosecutor with massive penalties if he doesn’t win an expensive and time consuming (lost hours) court battle. He has every reason to take a plea and put up with the humiliation and lengthy cash shakedowns as he gets his breathalyzer “reset” every month.
Let’s remember how crazy our situation really is. If you decide you’re not fit to drive, and sit in your parked car and take a nap to sleep it off, a cop can arrest you for drunk “driving” and it will stand up in court as a DUI conviction. That needs a lower limit of .05%?
I’m all for patrols that stop people who are driving dangerously. If you harm people, you should pay and what you suffer should be publicized so that other people are encouraged to drive responsibly. But check points and breath tests go much farther.
(For some help in rethinking and pushing back on these issues, I have found the American Beverage Institute to be a helpful resource. )