0% alcohol limits for drivers 21 and under

LobsterMobster wrote:

I don't want to start preaching about the evils of alcohol here or anything but it's kind of BS to call this discriminating against kids for easy political points. Kids, up to and including college-age, do really stupid stuff and think they're immortal. Throw alcohol into that mix and people wind up dead. Sometimes it's the kid and sometimes it's someone who was just minding their own business. I've seen the ambulances and read the obituaries.

What part of his statistics did you ignore? All of it? 67% of alcohol related accidents caused by 25+ and its the kids 21 and under that are the real problem because "they're kids and kids are stupid!"?

Dr.Ghastly wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:

I don't want to start preaching about the evils of alcohol here or anything but it's kind of BS to call this discriminating against kids for easy political points. Kids, up to and including college-age, do really stupid stuff and think they're immortal. Throw alcohol into that mix and people wind up dead. Sometimes it's the kid and sometimes it's someone who was just minding their own business. I've seen the ambulances and read the obituaries.

What part of his statistics did you ignore? All of it? 67% of alcohol related accidents caused by 25+ and its the kids 21 and under that are the real problem because "they're kids and kids are stupid!"?

Yes, but 100% of alchohol related accidents aren't caused by me (so far), so I should be allowed to get as pissed as I like.

LobsterMobster wrote:
Seth wrote:

Drinking a beer or two with dinner or enjoying a glass of wine and some brandy for dessert certainly doesn't impair many people at all. And compared to more dangerous things like driving in the winter or driving during rush hour, it's just white noise.

I'm going to pick on you, Seth. I respect and value your opinions so it's nothing personal.

You say that enjoying a glass of wine and some brandy doesn't impair many people "at all." Are you sure? The slightest bit of impairment is more than none at all, even if it has no consequence and even if it's not as bad as all these other horrible things. Furthermore, drinking any quantity has no appreciable effect on your driving skill if your car has burst into flames or if it's at the bottom of the ocean (usually not both at the same time). The fact that there are more dangerous things to do does not mean it is not dangerous, just as the fact that being very drunk is worse than having a sip does not negate the sip.

Touché, my friend. I should not have used a hyperbolic term. Suffice to say that for many, drinking less than one drink per hour (a generalized amount of time that varies!) has an impairing effect indistinguishable from other potential threats, like being tired, talking to someone in the car, daydreaming, or driving a car with a bad blind spot.
I should've been more careful in my word choice.

Legislation that ignores other potential threats like those stated above are more focused on the goal of eliminating alcohol than on the goal of eliminating dangerous accidents. This is the same type of silly logic that reccomends eliminating even a single drop of alcohol while pregnant, despite the fact that countries that drink small amounts of alcohol regularly during pregnancy have not yet been overrun with FAS babies.

Jonman wrote:
Dr.Ghastly wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:

I don't want to start preaching about the evils of alcohol here or anything but it's kind of BS to call this discriminating against kids for easy political points. Kids, up to and including college-age, do really stupid stuff and think they're immortal. Throw alcohol into that mix and people wind up dead. Sometimes it's the kid and sometimes it's someone who was just minding their own business. I've seen the ambulances and read the obituaries.

What part of his statistics did you ignore? All of it? 67% of alcohol related accidents caused by 25+ and its the kids 21 and under that are the real problem because "they're kids and kids are stupid!"?

Yes, but 100% of alchohol related accidents aren't caused by me (so far), so I should be allowed to get as pissed as I like.

Sure, just don't drive.

farley3k wrote:

But if they have no impairments are they driving drunk?

Something as insignificant as a mote of dust has weight and substance. I am not arguing over the definition of impairment but equation of "insignificance" to "absence."

Dr.Ghastly wrote:

What part of his statistics did you ignore? All of it? 67% of alcohol related accidents caused by 25+ and its the kids 21 and under that are the real problem because "they're kids and kids are stupid!"?

Well to be totally sarcastic I ignored all of it because it doesn't mesh with my opinion. Also the part where 33% of alcohol-related accidents are caused by people under 25, and that 33% is not 0%. A 33% reduction is far better than doing nothing because you can't get to 100%... which would be the exact point of my previous post. Which part of that did you ignore?

Seth wrote:

I should've been more careful in my word choice.

Nah, then I wouldn't have had so much fun nitpicking your semantics!

Jonman wrote:
Dysplastic wrote:

I'd support this kind of threshold if it weren't for the fact that most of my friends love to throw house parties in places impossible to reach by public transportation and prohibitive to reach by cab. People seeking to reduce drunk driving may want to look at options that make it easier for people not to drink and drive (such as better public transportation), rather than throw the book at them if they've had one beer and decide to drive.

But that's the logic we need to get away from. Your friends throwing booze-sodden parties in remote locations is not any kind of justification for impaired driving. In the event of public transport not being available, the onus is on the drinker to either find a sober ride, or stay in place until sober themselves.

I'm not trying to use it as a justification, and the parties aren't "booze sodden". It's simply a consideration that in order to achieve the results you want (less drunk driving) it's often a good idea to include some carrot (better public transpo options) along with the stick (legal penalties). I agree absolutely that it's ultimately the individuals responsibility to drive soberly, but given that it's clear that individuals often shirk this responsibility, we can achieve better results by encouraging them not to.

jonman wrote:

One or two drinks doesn't impair me much, with my 200 lbs of booze-absorbing flab and liver of steel from a decade and a half of borderline alcoholism, but give a couple of glasses of wine to the 100 lb occasional drinker, and you've got a different result.

This is why we have measures based on blood alcohol level, not amount of drinks. (I actually use an Iphone app to estimate my BAC and keep track of my drinking, very useful). And my understanding is that the 0.05% level was scientifically established as an acceptable threshold for a casual drinker, and that there isn't a need to lower it. I feel like a 20 year old driving stupidly will be driving stupidly whether at 0% or 0.05% alcohol.

I'd like to see statistics of incidences of accidents where the driver was above 0% BAC but below the legal limit, and compare those to accident states for both drunk driving and 0% driving, and see the difference.

EDIT: Actually, come to think about it, there could be an argument to be made that people under the age of 21 are more likely to be more heavily influenced by alcohol at 0.05% BAC than their elders. 0.05% must have been chosen based on impairment studies of different levels of alcohol on adults - maybe there's research to suggest that young adults are more heavily affected? In that case, it might not be discrimination, just science. Give me numbers!

Re-EDIT : From a 1987 Issue of the British Medical Journal:

For example, recent data from Canada show that young men under 20 years of age and drivers over 55 have an increased risk of having an accident at low alcohol concentrations.

Unfortunately, the article doesn't source this "recent data", but it does support PA's point - if this law was based on the scientific evidence suggested by this study, they should also have a 0% threshold for people 55 and up. Just so happens that they're much more likely to vote.

LobsterMobster wrote:
Dr.Ghastly wrote:

What part of his statistics did you ignore? All of it? 67% of alcohol related accidents caused by 25+ and its the kids 21 and under that are the real problem because "they're kids and kids are stupid!"?

Well to be totally sarcastic I ignored all of it because it doesn't mesh with my opinion. Also the part where 33% of alcohol-related accidents are caused by people under 25, and that 33% is not 0%. A 33% reduction is far better than doing nothing because you can't get to 100%... which would be the exact point of my previous post. Which part of that did you ignore? ;)

None of it, which is why I responded as I did. What your proposing is targeting a select group, that isn't even the majority, simply based on the idea that you *think* 100% coverage of the law is unattainable. Unless you meant you think this law will actually do something to prevent those 33% from having any alcohol at all before driving, which would be purely wrong.

Dysplastic wrote:

I'm not trying to use it as a justification, and the parties aren't "booze sodden". It's simply a consideration that in order to achieve the results you want (less drunk driving) it's often a good idea to include some carrot (better public transpo options) along with the stick (legal penalties). I agree absolutely that it's ultimately the individuals responsibility to drive soberly, but given that it's clear that individuals often shirk this responsibility, we can achieve better results by encouraging them not to.

My local ambulance-chaser firm seems to have taken to giving away free cab ride coupons one night a year. I've partaken, because I bike or walk to my drinkeries these days, but it still seems like a pretty damn good idea.

After all, the point is to reduce drunk driving, right? Simply piling on more penalties doesn't seem sufficient--it's already a significant crime, and still people do it. Tightening restrictions and making it a Double-Plus significant crime won't accomplish anything, people will still think they can get away with it "this one time". Dys is right, at this point more carrot will do more good than more stick.

Yes, alcohol can impair your driving. As can taking a phone call, or texting, or finding a good song on the radio, or reaching for a CD, or punching something into your GPS, or talking to the passenger, or yelling at the kids in the backseat. I would suggest that, if you truly want to be safe on the road, you push for legislation that will require us to all drive in one-person, navigation- adn radio-free vehicles that contain cell-phone damping systems.

suddenly I'm reminded of the other thread -- perfectly safe roads can only be accomplished by banning automobiles.

Dr.Ghastly wrote:

Unless you meant you think this law will actually do something to prevent those 33% from having any alcohol at all before driving, which would be purely wrong.

Yes, I was operating under the assumption that the law would have some sort of effect. If that is purely wrong I am eager to hear why. Hopefully not by ways of another "all or nothing" argument.

Honestly, even if it reduces drunk driving by 1%, that still saves lives. I think making a great deal of parties boring is a small price to pay for that. Then again, I wasn't attending those parties in the first place.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:

After all, the point is to reduce drunk driving, right? Simply piling on more penalties doesn't seem sufficient--it's already a significant crime, and still people do it. Tightening restrictions and making it a Double-Plus significant crime won't accomplish anything, people will still think they can get away with it "this one time". Dys is right, at this point more carrot will do more good than more stick.

This is a problem with all punitive laws. When someone thinks about committing a crime they're more concerned with the certainty that they will be caught than what happens afterward. No one who drives drunk thinks it's worth a night at the police station. They think no one will notice.

LobsterMobster wrote:
SpacePPoliceman wrote:

After all, the point is to reduce drunk driving, right? Simply piling on more penalties doesn't seem sufficient--it's already a significant crime, and still people do it. Tightening restrictions and making it a Double-Plus significant crime won't accomplish anything, people will still think they can get away with it "this one time". Dys is right, at this point more carrot will do more good than more stick.

This is a problem with all punitive laws. When someone thinks about committing a crime they're more concerned with the certainty that they will be caught than what happens afterward. No one who drives drunk thinks it's worth a night at the police station. They think no one will notice.

Doesn't that argue strongly that maybe something other than punitating stronger is a better idea? Better public transportation coupled with more police stops, maybe?

SpacePPoliceman wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:
SpacePPoliceman wrote:

After all, the point is to reduce drunk driving, right? Simply piling on more penalties doesn't seem sufficient--it's already a significant crime, and still people do it. Tightening restrictions and making it a Double-Plus significant crime won't accomplish anything, people will still think they can get away with it "this one time". Dys is right, at this point more carrot will do more good than more stick.

This is a problem with all punitive laws. When someone thinks about committing a crime they're more concerned with the certainty that they will be caught than what happens afterward. No one who drives drunk thinks it's worth a night at the police station. They think no one will notice.

Doesn't that argue strongly that maybe something other than punitating stronger is a better idea? Better public transportation coupled with more police stops, maybe?

Yup. If a new punitive law isn't going to help, is there a reason to enact one other than to look like we're doing something rather than actually addressing the issue? Does anyone actually believe that one more law is going to make people suddenly realize they aren't going to have that drink and drive home early?

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Does anyone actually believe that one more law is going to make people suddenly realize they aren't going to have that drink and drive home early?

Some people, yes.

All people? Not a chance.

Jonman wrote:
MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Does anyone actually believe that one more law is going to make people suddenly realize they aren't going to have that drink and drive home early?

Some people, yes.

All people? Not a chance.

I'm assuming you'd support the banning of all radios, CD players, and mp3 player-connecting devices in automobiles, as their absence would certain allow some people to be less distracted? It would save lives, no?

There's also the related, and contentious, argument that lowering the speed limit on Interstate highways (or, heck, all roads) to 45mph would vastly reduce the amount of fatal car accidents.

SPP wrote:

Better public transportation coupled with more police stops, maybe?

This would be a good start.

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

I'm assuming you'd support the banning of all radios, CD players, and mp3 player-connecting devices in automobiles, as their absence would certain allow some people to be less distracted? It would save lives, no?

Why do we keep ending up back here? That if we can't instantly fix everything there's no point in trying to fix anything? MilkmanDanimal, can you imagine some sort of crazy surreal parallel dimension where someone is killed by drunk driving and not listening to music while driving? Is that life worthless simply because someone else got run over due to a dropped MP3 player?

MilkmanDanimal wrote:
Jonman wrote:
MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Does anyone actually believe that one more law is going to make people suddenly realize they aren't going to have that drink and drive home early?

Some people, yes.

All people? Not a chance.

I'm assuming you'd support the banning of all radios, CD players, and mp3 player-connecting devices in automobiles, as their absence would certain allow some people to be less distracted? It would save lives, no?

Those devices serve a function while driving.

Getting drunk beforehand does not.

So no, you assume wrong.

LobsterMobster wrote:
MilkmanDanimal wrote:

I'm assuming you'd support the banning of all radios, CD players, and mp3 player-connecting devices in automobiles, as their absence would certain allow some people to be less distracted? It would save lives, no?

Why do we keep ending up back here?

Because this isn't something that actually fixes anything, that's why.

LobsterMobster wrote:
SPP wrote:

Better public transportation coupled with more police stops, maybe?

This would be a good start.

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

I'm assuming you'd support the banning of all radios, CD players, and mp3 player-connecting devices in automobiles, as their absence would certain allow some people to be less distracted? It would save lives, no?

Why do we keep ending up back here? That if we can't instantly fix everything there's no point in trying to fix anything? MilkmanDanimal, can you imagine some sort of crazy surreal parallel dimension where someone is killed by drunk driving and not listening to music while driving? Is that life worthless simply because someone else got run over due to a dropped MP3 player?

Again, quite true. My point is not that drinking and driving is not a safety issue; it clearly is. My point is that there are a large number of safety issues, and drinking and driving is just one of them. However, we have a neo-Puritan obsession with alcohol, and significantly over-emphasize it as a concern. Part of it is that I'm a beer guy. I like beer. I like to have a beer or two with dinner, at which point--shockingly--I get in my minivan and drive my children home. I will point out that if I have two beers with dinner over the course of an hour or so at my weight, my BAC is less than 0.03%. So, yes, I have beer, than drive my children around. Regularly. Now, if I'm driving, I never have more than two, because I recognize that there comes a point at which I become impaired and it is unsafe to drive. That point, however, is quite far from "a casual drink or two at dinner".

Jonman wrote:
MilkmanDanimal wrote:

I'm assuming you'd support the banning of all radios, CD players, and mp3 player-connecting devices in automobiles, as their absence would certain allow some people to be less distracted? It would save lives, no?

Those devices serve a function while driving.

Getting drunk beforehand does not.

So no, you assume wrong.

Are we talking "getting drunk" here or "having a drink or two"? I would argue the latter is what we're discussing and nobody is debating the former. It would seem to me that the function of music while driving is enjoyment, and the function of alcoholic beverages is also enjoyment. Both serve similar functions and both, if mis-used, can cause safety risks.

Dr.Ghastly wrote:

None of it, which is why I responded as I did. What your proposing is targeting a select group, that isn't even the majority

It's not the majority, but if 33% of all alcohol-related accidents are attributed to a 10 year age range, that seems to imply that the incident rate is significantly higher in this age group than in the 26+ age bracket. Also, focusing on new drivers may help teach them better driving habits which they will continue to use later in life.

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Are we talking "getting drunk" here or "having a drink or two"? I would argue the latter is what we're discussing and nobody is debating the former. It would seem to me that the function of music while driving is enjoyment, and the function of alcoholic beverages is also enjoyment. Both serve similar functions and both, if mis-used, can cause safety risks.

Sure, both have risks, but they're not the same risks.

When realising that operating the radio is affecting my ability to drive, I can stop operating the radio.

I cannot, however, realise I'm a bit too intoxicated, and instantly stop being intoxicated. Moreover, the very fact that I'm intoxicated affects my judgement, which means I'm less likely to realise that I'm intoxicated or that my driving ability is thereby compromised.

Seth wrote:

There's also the related, and contentious, argument that lowering the speed limit on Interstate highways (or, heck, all roads) to 45mph would vastly reduce the amount of fatal car accidents.

Sure, it'll save a few lives...but millions will be late!

Dr.Ghastly wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:
MilkmanDanimal wrote:

I'm assuming you'd support the banning of all radios, CD players, and mp3 player-connecting devices in automobiles, as their absence would certain allow some people to be less distracted? It would save lives, no?

Why do we keep ending up back here?

Because this isn't something that actually fixes anything, that's why.

So what you're saying is, not only would this policy fail to save even one single life, but it couldn't possibly save a life? And that it is therefore not worth its high cost in... wait, what exactly would it cost us? Freedom, I guess? Let's go with freedom. It's easier to defend freedom than intoxication.

I think there are a couple themes that I am picking up on the arguments. Really isn't the most effective tool education?

There is also this problem of extremes regarding distraction and reaction.

I mean just like a vehicle its not a good idea to be wielding a weapon and tool like an axe without absolute concentration. Using such a tool while distracted or impaired you run a high risk of hurting yourselves and others. However in a free country like the US its really hard to stop somebody from doing such an activity in private. So like its been brought up before, if you spend an adequate amount on fair and balanced enforcement you will effectively save lives more than petty legislation listed above.

I feel like I'm generalizing such a complex issue, but it can be done.

LobsterMobster wrote:

So what you're saying is, not only would this policy fail to save even one single life, but it couldn't possibly save a life? And that it is therefore not worth its high cost in... wait, what exactly would it cost us? Freedom, I guess? Let's go with freedom. It's easier to defend freedom than intoxication.

What does this law fix? If you're going to go on the basis of "saving even one life' there are a LOT of things that can be made completely illegal. But that isn't what this law does, it just adds a new punishment for a certain age group for a certain behavior, so what does it fix? You could argue the same logic applies to murder since murder is illegal but it still happens. That's not what I'm arguing though. I'm arguing that this law doesn't fix anything AND is targeting a specific group. The fact the target group is the minority portion of the problem just furthers my disagreement with it.

Dr.Ghastly wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:

So what you're saying is, not only would this policy fail to save even one single life, but it couldn't possibly save a life? And that it is therefore not worth its high cost in... wait, what exactly would it cost us? Freedom, I guess? Let's go with freedom. It's easier to defend freedom than intoxication.

What does this law fix? If you're going to go on the basis of "saving even one life' there are a LOT of things that can be made completely illegal. But that isn't what this law does, it just adds a new punishment for a certain age group for a certain behavior, so what does it fix? You could argue the same logic applies to murder since murder is illegal but it still happens. That's not what I'm arguing though. I'm arguing that this law doesn't fix anything AND is targeting a specific group. The fact the target group is the minority portion of the problem just furthers my disagreement with it.

But dont you understand? You can take a group that is not out of control and take them down another peg leaving the rest to run rampant and free. Besides if you tell them they cant drink then they'll accuse you of taking their guns too!

Sku Boi wrote:

But dont you understand? You can take a group that is not out of control and take them down another peg leaving the rest to run rampant and free. Besides if you tell them they cant drink then they'll accuse you of taking their guns too!

Well, this is Canada, so I'm not sure the gun taking away hyperbole applies

Dr.Ghastly wrote:

What does this law fix? If you're going to go on the basis of "saving even one life' there are a LOT of things that can be made completely illegal. But that isn't what this law does, it just adds a new punishment for a certain age group for a certain behavior, so what does it fix? You could argue the same logic applies to murder since murder is illegal but it still happens. That's not what I'm arguing though. I'm arguing that this law doesn't fix anything AND is targeting a specific group. The fact the target group is the minority portion of the problem just furthers my disagreement with it.

Actually, you may be onto something there. Are there other offenses for which certain groups are subject to stiffer penalties for the same offense?

Seth wrote:
Parallax Abstraction wrote:

I have huge problems with MADD and the influence they have in all politics. .

Fixed to reflect my thoughts on them. MADD is a neo prohibitionist group that will not stop until Prohibition is re instated. They are to drinkers what Operation Rescue is to abortion and what NOM is to gay marriage. I consider them just as dangerous as those other two groups.

edit: I'm not alone here, either; even MADD's original founder says so:

MADD founder Candy Lightner agrees. The non-profit group she started in 1980 after her daughter was killed by a drunk driver “has become far more neo-prohibitionist than I had ever wanted or envisioned … I didn’t start MADD to deal with alcohol. I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving.”

MADD is insane and everyone knows it. In fact, they just got downgraded as a charity.