02 January 2011

Abolish Drunk Driving Laws

This doesn't mean you shouldn't be arrested for impaired driving.  You should.  In today's world a nice video record from the dashboard camera is more than sufficient to convict you of driving while impaired simply by observing your driving!  The reason for the impairment should be irrelevant.  If you're impaired due to booze, drugs, lack of sleep, old age or any other reason and are imminently a danger to others on the road then you should be arrested, cited, and tried.  But today you can be convicted of DUI in a parking lot because you (correctly) deduced you were impaired and decided to sleep it off.   And you can be convicted of DUI while riding a bicycle, which has almost no chance of harming anyone but yourself.  These "offenses" are absolutely identical in form and fashion to arresting random men for prospective **** on the premise that they have a penis and thus might cause harm to someone else.

The problem with arresting people for driving while drunk is that is presumes guilt of crime before its commission (“crime” here referring to some non-alcohol related crime).  The main rationale behind charging people with drink driving is that they have a tendency to violate others’ property rights.  Not every drunk driver does, of course, which means that this metric is a flawed basis to derive policy from.

Furthermore, if a drunk driver does end up violating another’s property rights (by wrecking them, e.g.), the law still provides recourse against his crime.  Not only that, there isn’t, to the best of my knowledge, any exception made for drunkenness.  If you get drunk and kill someone, the judge won’t dismiss your case because you were drunk at the time.  If you get drunk, get in a car, and crash into someone else, your drunkenness doesn’t absolve you of your liability.

In the end, getting drunk, in and of itself, is not a violation of anyone’s property rights.  And if one’s drunkenness does lead to the violation of another’s property rights, then there still exists grounds for prosecution.  Thus, there really is no philosophical or legal utilitarian grounds for legal measures against drunk drivers.

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