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The real problem of drunken driving
Manchester Union Leader ^ | May 7, 2005 | John Doyle

Posted on 05/07/2005 4:32:18 AM PDT by billorites

WITH SPRING blooming, you decided to treat that “special someone” to a romantic dinner at your favorite restaurant. The evening had started off well enough. A fine meal. The perfect companion. A bottle of wine. The two of you hadn’t driven far from the restaurant when you saw it: a police roadblock.

No problem, you thought. All you did was split a bottle of wine over a long meal. Since you weigh 180 pounds, your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is .03 percent at the most. And the legal arrest threshold is .08 percent — more than twice yours.

Unfortunately for you, police have begun arresting people with a BAC at just a fraction of the legal limit. One Florida man recently ended up in jail for driving with a BAC of .02 percent — the equivalent of about one drink. The grandson of a former Supreme Court justice, who’d had a little wine with dinner, was arrested in Washington with a BAC of .03 percent. And just a few months ago, a Florida man who admitted he drank a few beers hours before spent a night in jail even though his BAC was a flat .00 percent. These are more than just isolated incidents. They are harbingers of a growing trend.

It gets even more ridiculous. Let’s say you didn’t finish your bottle of wine. In most states it is illegal to recork the bottle and take it home. In the states that do allow it, the unfinished bottle often has to be resealed in paraffin, placed in a stapled-shut doggie bag and locked in the trunk.

Politicians looking to make names for themselves are advocating even tougher controls. Lawmakers in three states have gone so far as to call for the installation of breath-testing devices in every single car. If they have their way you won’t make it out of the parking lot until you test yourself; whether or not you drink is irrelevant!

No reasonable person excuses drunken driving, but it is absurd to equate those who get behind the wheel after abusing alcohol with the 40 million Americans who drink responsibly before driving. Scientific evidence proves that this legal behavior is far safer than driving while talking on a cell phone, even with a hands-free device. Studies from the University of Utah, The New England Journal of Medicine and elsewhere show that drivers using a hands-free cell phone are more “impaired” than drivers at the legal limit of.08 percent BAC.

Drunk drivers involved in fatal accidents have an average BAC of .19 percent, more than twice the legal threshold. To get that drunk, your steak dinner would have to include a whole bottle of wine for yourself, plus at least five cocktails. This kind of alcohol abuse — not a couple enjoying a bottle of wine over dinner — is the real source of today’s drunken-driving problem. Not surprisingly, our measures to crack down on those abusers are failing.

In December, Congress ordered an audit of the nation’s drunken-driving programs after noting that we have seen “no discernible progress” over the last six years. That’s the same period during which the noose has tightened around responsible drinkers. In addition to multimillion-dollar “zero-tolerance” advertising campaigns, the legal limit for drinking and driving was lowered from 10 percent to.08 percent BAC.

An honest look at the evidence will lead government auditors to conclude that this approach has failed, and that the real problem has been reduced to what Mothers Against Drunk Driving calls “a hard core of alcoholics.” These people will not be persuaded by PR campaigns, and according to government research they go out of their way to avoid highly publicized roadblocks.

Time and again you hear about people arrested for their 10th, 15th or 20th driving while intoxicated. One man was recently arrested for his 34th. Common sense says that our scarce resources should be used to hunt down and arrest these habitual offenders, and that once caught they should be punished severely. MADD founder Candy Lightner put it best when she said, “if we really want to save lives, let’s go after the most dangerous drivers on the road.”

Our collective failure to adequately deal with alcohol abusers who drive drunk should not be used as an excuse to punish moderate consumption of adult beverages. Responsible adults who share a bottle of wine with their dinner deserve privacy, not persecution.

John Doyle is executive director of the American Beverage Institute, an association of restaurants.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
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1 posted on 05/07/2005 4:32:19 AM PDT by billorites
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To: billorites

I agree re "hard core". The former husband of my best friend has had DUI arrests many times over the years. Hasn't had a driver's license in 8 or 9 years. Has three DUI arrests currently working their way through the system and he is STILL driving around - often so drunk he can't stand up when he opens the truck door. What really makes me crazy, is that the police officers know him, and know his situation. At least some of them are turning their backs when they see him driving.


2 posted on 05/07/2005 4:36:28 AM PDT by Roses0508
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To: billorites

follow the money.


3 posted on 05/07/2005 4:39:44 AM PDT by Glenn (pardon the e.e.cummings look. a busted arm makes typing seem like work.)
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To: Roses0508

That is just plain wrong that the cops that know him let him get away with this.

On the other hand, a person going to jail just because he/she admitted they had drank a glass of wine at dinner or some such and whose BAC is well below the "legal" limit is just as wrong.

That has nothing to do with public safety. It is just "ramboism" with the cop making the arrest and a revenue generator for his/her dept.


4 posted on 05/07/2005 4:41:09 AM PDT by cajun-jack
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To: Glenn

"Whisky bottle,
brand new car,
Oak tree YOUR in my way!"


5 posted on 05/07/2005 4:41:12 AM PDT by 1FASTGLOCK45 (FreeRepublic: More fun than watching Dem'Rats drown like Turkeys in the rain! ! !)
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To: Roses0508

Ever been to a cop bar and see them all get in their cars and drive home? How about the cop on the motorcycle that killed himself and his wife in Austin Texas. That was after he rode his bike inside the bar, not one of the cops tried to stop him.


6 posted on 05/07/2005 4:41:28 AM PDT by eastforker (Under Cover FReeper going dark(too much 24))
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To: billorites
Life used to be so much simpler.
The zero tolerance crowd is pathetic. It is destroying the quality of our lives.
There should be no such thing as speeding or drunk driving or running a redlight or stop sign. There should be only one reason for a ticket, driving in an unsafe manner. That covers all of the above.
While I will sit at a red light at midnight with no traffic around me, I often wonder why I do it. The purpose of the red light was to help regulate traffic and make traffic flow safer. But at midnight? No cars around you? It's silly, and waste of fuel.
7 posted on 05/07/2005 4:41:30 AM PDT by ProudVet77 (Warning: Frequent sarcastic posts)
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To: billorites
I read a cost benefit analysis once about the .08% limit. The benefits were just about zip and the costs were significantly higher to achieve nothing. The .08% limit is nothing but feel good legislation to appease hand-wringers. As this article points out, the real problem is with problem drinkers who blow wa-a-a-ay beyond .08% when caught. No problem there, though, they can drive until hell freezes over. Even after a DUI conviction, they can drive on a license from another state. Heck, they can even come from any other country - illegally - and get a driver's license.

There are much bigger fish to catch and fry than worrying about some poor saps who had couple of drinks with dinner.
8 posted on 05/07/2005 4:43:07 AM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (Get back into your closets, you pinkos! We're setting the way-back machine for the fabulous fifties!)
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To: eastforker
Ever been to a cop bar and see them all get in their cars and drive home? How about the cop on the motorcycle that killed himself and his wife in Austin Texas. That was after he rode his bike inside the bar, not one of the cops tried to stop him.

I guess the badge has its advantages </sarc>

9 posted on 05/07/2005 4:44:56 AM PDT by bikepacker67
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To: Glenn
"follow the money."

BINGO! We have a winner!

10 posted on 05/07/2005 4:45:08 AM PDT by Joe Brower (The Constitution defines Conservatism. *NRA*)
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To: billorites

The beverage 'institute' (is that a place to learn how to imbibe?) is obviously biased, but his points are still valid.

The MADD crowd are formidable because they are generally white suburbanites (i.e., neighbors of many politicians), have plenty of time and independent money to spend on the cause, and (unfortunately) they have a flood of unending emotion spurring them on.

For the responsible drinker, it's a bad cocktail when you combine MADD with lawmakers and law enforcement types who like nothing so much as a 'defenseless' target (i.e., one who won't fight back). So, we end up at the inevitable conclusion of the legislation-and-enforcement fever of the 80s and 90s. Roadblocks for any purpose (DUI, 'safety,' seatbelts) are the most shocking example of abuse operating under the guise of enforcement.

Ask any 'normal' person who's had their first DUI - the financial costs (fines, legal, insurance) and the ordeal of court dates, treatment weekends and trying to keep/obtain work driving privileges. For better or worse, real jail time is a rarity but the plot is revealed quickly: a DUI cottage industry has grown. Locking offenders up costs money - fining them earns it. Unfortunately, we can read frequent stories about the guy charged with a 19th or 20th DUI offense. They are often destitute and have long had their licenses suspended or revoked. Still, they filter through the system time and again since they aren't a revenue producer. Why aren't they off the streets? Could it be because the roadblock was set up on a nice 4-lane boulevard in the suburbs and not by the railroad tracks next to the coke plant?

And no, I haven't had a DUI.


11 posted on 05/07/2005 4:48:49 AM PDT by relictele (so there)
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To: bikepacker67

bikepacker67 wrote:

I guess the badge has its advantages </sarc>

--> Sadly enough your right, even i thought of going thru the legal hassles to get a "badge" just to have one. I could care less about being in law enforcement but a badge gives you a little step above the rest at times.


12 posted on 05/07/2005 4:48:54 AM PDT by 1FASTGLOCK45 (FreeRepublic: More fun than watching Dem'Rats drown like Turkeys in the rain! ! !)
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To: billorites

You know this guy really hits this. I am a very petite individual and it would take me drinking a whole lot more, than what I currently do, to reach that magic .08. If I am at or near a .08, I wouldn't be able to walk right let alone get behind the wheel of a car(just my situation).

Some people may be a bit different, but for me I know where my limits are and wouldn't be anywhere close. It is just wrong for cops to arrest people for having a drink or two. And if they haven't broken the the law...leave them alone.


13 posted on 05/07/2005 4:50:40 AM PDT by EBH
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To: eastforker

Built a house one time for a cop. Came in on a sunday morning to do some final punchout work and found a truck and a boat stuck and jacknifed in the ungraded lot out front. Upon entering this unfinished home, I found him and his five buddies sleeping on the slab floor. They said they were so drunk from fishing that this is far as they could make it!


14 posted on 05/07/2005 4:51:02 AM PDT by Normal4me
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To: billorites

I am troubled by the ''Road Block'' method of investigation. If they can stop your car and check your breath, when will they be allowed to check you for paying your taxes on time or licensing your pet with the ASPCA at these CHECKPOINTS


15 posted on 05/07/2005 4:51:27 AM PDT by shadeaud (Liberals suffer from acute interior cornial craniorectoitis)
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To: billorites
I joined DAMM years ago after I realized this mass hysteria over alcohol drinking and driving was nothing more than liberals trying to control people. MADD went mad and off course a long time ago, to the point they no longer have any resemblance to their original intent.

Common sense would tell you that we have to stop all restaurant alcohol sales because people get to restaurants in their cars. But for some reason, that doesn't seem to be the problem. Selling alcohol in a remote local away from a person's home is fine. Just don't try to leave and go home. That's when the trouble starts.

Oh yeah, its also all about extracting as much money out of the public as possible and putting it in the bank accounts of cities, bail bond shops and law firms. Don forget the lawyers.
16 posted on 05/07/2005 4:51:40 AM PDT by whereasandsoforth (Stamp out liberals with the big boot of truth)
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To: 1FASTGLOCK45

Ever seen a "deputy's mom" badge they have in Texas? That is also a free pass.


17 posted on 05/07/2005 4:52:56 AM PDT by eastforker (Under Cover FReeper going dark(too much 24))
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To: Glenn; billorites
"Follow the money" right to the lawyers. This is no different from the WO(some)D. It allows lawyers to collect big fees for "getting you out of something"...

Hey, yachts and Beemers are expensive...

18 posted on 05/07/2005 4:56:03 AM PDT by pageonetoo (You'll spot their posts soon enough!)
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To: pageonetoo

>>right to the lawyers

and insurance companies.


19 posted on 05/07/2005 4:59:43 AM PDT by Glenn (pardon the e.e.cummings look. a busted arm makes typing seem like work.)
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To: billorites

If drinking and driving are illegal, why are there parking lots at bars??

Why no DUI checkpoint at the exit of Pro sports games.

its all BS....anyone of us has been behind the wheel at over .08......we just never got caught...YET..


20 posted on 05/07/2005 5:07:56 AM PDT by halfright (9/11 3,000 Americans Murdered...Payback is a bitch)
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To: billorites

Let's just cut to the chase here:

With very few exceptions, the only reason to arrest someone who blows less than a 0.12 is to allow the city to collect a whole bunch of money.

In other words, most "drunk" drivers are just a bunch of revenue sources. The fact that arresting these people winds up ruining their lives doesn't matter - it's the money that counts, and it keeps MADD off of their backs.


21 posted on 05/07/2005 5:09:01 AM PDT by BobL
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To: whereasandsoforth

"liberals trying to control people"

Ah, yes. Do you mean Mike Bloomberg and the cigarette Nazis in New York? Now you can't even sit in a bar and smoke a cigarette with your evil drink.

I mean, isn't that why people go to bars, to drink and smoke? A far better solution would be a warning sign posted outside establishments that have smoking areas. And a waiver to be signed by people who choose to work in those establishments.

I happen to do neither, but I support the rights of others to smoke and drink (of course not be drunk and drive).

Not only has Bloomberg emasculated New York with his faggy anti-smoking laws but he has tried to force the bent pahllus design ("Freedom Tower") on the world since he took office.

A liberal always wants to create the world in his own image!


22 posted on 05/07/2005 5:10:09 AM PDT by Conservatrix (He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.)
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To: Conservatrix
A liberal always wants to create the world in his own image!

So Bloomberg is trying to make NYC resemble a large-headed dwarf?

23 posted on 05/07/2005 5:18:03 AM PDT by bikepacker67
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To: whereasandsoforth

Don't forget that socialist zoning laws make it all but impossible to open a bar in the 'burbs closer to where people live, so they don't have to "run the gauntlet" on the way home.


24 posted on 05/07/2005 5:23:54 AM PDT by metesky ("Brethren, leave us go amongst them." Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnston Clayton - Ward Bond- The Searchers)
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To: cajun-jack
It is just "ramboism" with the cop making the arrest and a revenue generator for his/her dept.

Are you saying that the police departments get the fines? Where is this the case? Can you direct me to some sources for this information?

Further, if the guy you are discussing is a habitual offender and the state has no habitual offender laws, if the guy is repeatedly arrested, convicted, and turned loose to drive drunk again, how is that the fault of the police? They don't write the laws, they don't pronounce the sentences.

25 posted on 05/07/2005 5:25:23 AM PDT by Mad Dawg (Allahu Fubar! (with apologies to Sheik Yerbouty))
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To: bikepacker67

"So Bloomberg is trying to make NYC resemble a large-headed dwarf?"

No, more like a bent, limp phallus...


26 posted on 05/07/2005 5:40:44 AM PDT by Conservatrix (He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.)
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To: relictele

"For better or worse, real jail time is a rarity but the plot is revealed quickly: a DUI cottage industry has grown. Locking offenders up costs money - fining them earns it."

You nailed it!


27 posted on 05/07/2005 5:46:06 AM PDT by laishly
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To: Mad Dawg

Exactly. If any here think cops will go out to "collect revenue" for their city, county, or state, you miss the mark by a mile. If the money was going in the officer's pocket, even indirectly, I could understand the argument. But governments at every level use money from fines for everything but law enforcement.

As far as the .08 laws are concerned, here in NC that is just the presumptive level. The law actually states you have committed the offense of driving while impaired if you drive a vehicle on a street, highway, or public vehicular area with your mental and/or physical faculties impaired by an impairing substance OR have an AC of .08 or more.

Many studies have shown that impairment begins in the .04 range. The point where most rational people wouldn't even think of driving is around .06, in my experience (I have access to a portable breath testing device). The reason so many cops are gung ho about removing impaired drivers from the roads is because they see the daily carnage they cause.

Spend a weekend in an emergency room sometime. You quickly tire of the smell of alcohol on drivers' breath...


28 posted on 05/07/2005 5:47:50 AM PDT by Right Angler
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To: ProudVet77
" While I will sit at a red light at midnight with no traffic around me, I often wonder why I do it."

Dude...you have no idea how often the theme song from the "Twilight Zone" has gone thru my head as I have done the exact same thing.

29 posted on 05/07/2005 5:51:27 AM PDT by Khurkris (This tag-line is available on CD ROM. NRA.)
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To: eastforker
"Ever seen a "deputy's mom" badge they have in Texas? That is also a free pass."

Look...I love Texas, but they also have that damn "Alcohol Board: crap, or whatever it is they exactly call those bunch of nepotistic ittle punks with their flashlights and BS who go around the bars.
You know th eroup I'm talking about. No arrest powers inside the bar, but they can detain and call the police if they get you outside the bar.
Those little inbred bast!ds alone are enough to make a good citizen go bad.
Not that I'd know about something like that...but I do have a story about 3 UC DEA agents in a bar in Corpus who took umbrage at 3 of the little punks...it had a sort of happy ending...

30 posted on 05/07/2005 5:59:29 AM PDT by Khurkris (This tag-line is available on CD ROM. NRA.)
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To: Khurkris
" While I will sit at a red light at midnight with no traffic around me, I often wonder why I do it."

I used to ride a motorcycle. Some traffic lights are triggered by vehicle weight, and a motorcycle isn't heavy enough to trip the light (at least not the one I was riding at the time). You could sit there all night and the light would never change. So, I got in the habit of stopping at red lights, looking around to see if anybody was coming, and then running the light if all was clear. I don't ride a motorcycle anymore, but sometimes I will still do it out of habit. Never been caught.

31 posted on 05/07/2005 6:07:32 AM PDT by wyattearp (The best weapon to have in a gunfight is a shotgun - preferably from ambush.)
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To: eastforker

"How about the cop on the motorcycle that killed himself and his wife in Austin Texas."

How about the one in NYC who drank beer ALL DAY and then ran down an entire family. He killed about 4 people. And he showed very little remorse, kept insisting that he wasn't THAT drunk and the sun was in his eyes and prevented him from seeing the two women, baby carriage and small boy, all of whom he ran right over.

Generally, I love cops, but this guy was a real pig.


32 posted on 05/07/2005 6:16:09 AM PDT by jocon307 (Irish grandmother rolls in grave, yet again.)
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To: cajun-jack

I believe it is illegal, actually.


33 posted on 05/07/2005 6:22:19 AM PDT by mabelkitty
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To: billorites
These draconian laws and the local horror stories have persuaded me--I no longer will drink one drop of alcohol before I get in a car.

It just isn't worth taking the chance.

This is just one more liberty they have taken away on the road to our socialist paradise. :-(
34 posted on 05/07/2005 6:23:52 AM PDT by cgbg (My nightmare today could be your liberal reality tomorrow.)
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To: relictele

MADD is out of control.
Just like any other do-gooder, busy-body organization, they gained power with money and are now pushing for prohibition. They've realized that they stand to lose their clout if people are actually responsible drinkers.


35 posted on 05/07/2005 6:24:14 AM PDT by mabelkitty
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To: Glenn
follow the money

There it is! Truer words were never spoken. When liberals squeeze the maximum tax dollar out of their constituency, they have to sink to new depths to find money. These depths include seatbelt & liability insurance "phishing" roadblock stops, radar speed traps, as well as the kind of cop abuse described in this post.

I play music on weekends, and will have a beer or two during the gig. But I drink nothing but water or 7-Up during the last couple of sets, and either go to an all-night cafe for some breakfast or grab some chicken strips to munch on while driving home.

A lawyer friend of mine says to be advised that these cops are trained to recognize scents on your breath like Altoids or other breath cover-up mints that can be used to disguise the fact that you've been drinking.

Bottom line is, DWI if you're over the BAC limit, or DUI if you're not.

36 posted on 05/07/2005 6:25:33 AM PDT by Marauder (Politicians use words the way a squid uses ink.)
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To: shadeaud

If this ever happens to me, FReepers will find out who I am.
I would refuse on Constitutional grounds and make them arrest me. I'd take this all the way to the Supreme Court. I live a clean life, have a clean record, but the cops don't need to know that because it is none of their business.


37 posted on 05/07/2005 6:26:11 AM PDT by mabelkitty
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To: Khurkris

Jay-zuz.
They sound like Hitler Youth. Ever watch "Swing Time" with the whistler blower?

Can they be killed for holding someone against their will? I would have thought so.....


38 posted on 05/07/2005 6:30:26 AM PDT by mabelkitty
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To: 1FASTGLOCK45
"Whisky bottle, brand new car, Oak tree YOUR in my way!"

I grew up in the South, and I can tell you this line really reminded me of home when I first heard it.

39 posted on 05/07/2005 6:30:36 AM PDT by Hardastarboard
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To: ProudVet77
Warning: Frequent sarcastic posts

Totally off topic, but I note your tag line with some satisfaction. If you weren't making frequent, sarcastic posts, you wouldn't be earning your keep at FR, now would you? :-)

40 posted on 05/07/2005 6:32:18 AM PDT by Hardastarboard
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To: Right Angler

"Many studies have shown that impairment begins in the .04 range. The point where most rational people wouldn't even think of driving is around .06, in my experience (I have access to a portable breath testing device). The reason so many cops are gung ho about removing impaired drivers from the roads is because they see the daily carnage they cause."

Total MADD BS Propaganda!!!
I have a cousin that is 6'4" and weighs 250 and I would feel very safe with him driving me home after drinking a case of beer.
Some people just metabolize alcohol better than others.
Some may be impaired at .06 while others are not impaired at .10 !
Face it it's just a revenue generator in cases where drivers are arrested with BAC less than .08.


41 posted on 05/07/2005 6:34:52 AM PDT by antisocial (Texas SCV - Deo Vindice)
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To: Know your rights

All American Boozin' Ping.


42 posted on 05/07/2005 6:35:26 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: mabelkitty

MADD is out of control.
Amen!


43 posted on 05/07/2005 6:37:59 AM PDT by hadaclueonce (shoot low, they are riding Shetlands.....)
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To: Mad Dawg
Are you saying that the police departments get the fines? Where is this the case? Can you direct me to some sources for this information?

This is the case in most small towns in Delaware. One town was so notorious for their speedtraps and roadblocks on the highway that Legislation was passed to limit their revenue raising ability by forbidding them to do traffic enforcement on the highway. The Police Force in that town was cut in half because without the traffic enforcement revenue there wasn't enough money to pay for the cops.

44 posted on 05/07/2005 6:51:01 AM PDT by Gabz (My give-a-damn is busted.)
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To: hadaclueonce

As the mother and grandmother of 3 that were all killed by a drunk driver---there is no sympathy from this end for a guy that goes out and has a drink and drives. No one is sure how alcohol will affect them as so much has to do with the weight---the amount of food----and your blood sugar level---so better stay home if you need a drink. How very simple it is to have a designated driver-----I have been one all my life.


45 posted on 05/07/2005 6:59:31 AM PDT by Stormyta
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To: billorites

BUMP


46 posted on 05/07/2005 7:03:19 AM PDT by SweetCaroline (Politicians and Diapers need changing often and for the same reason!)
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To: whereasandsoforth
MADD went mad and off course a long time ago, to the point they no longer have any resemblance to their original intent.

I believe that the original founder of MADD said the exact same thing.

Mark

47 posted on 05/07/2005 7:09:01 AM PDT by MarkL (I've got a fever, and the only prescription is MORE COWBELL!!!)
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To: Stormyta

You have my sympathy.Did that drunk driver have A drink?What did that driver actually test at?


48 posted on 05/07/2005 7:11:48 AM PDT by John W
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To: Mad Dawg
Are you saying that the police departments get the fines? Where is this the case? Can you direct me to some sources for this information?

While this has nothing to do with this thread, you might find it interesting...

The State of Missouri sued the Kansas City, MO Police Department... Over funds and property confiscated from drug busts.

The State of Missouri has a law that any property confiscated by state or local law enforcement during a drug bust goes into a state fund. However, the federal government has a program that if they do the bust, assisted by local law enforcement, then the feds and the local LE share "the booty." Well, when the KCPD realized just how much they were missing out on, they would do all the investigations, but at the last minute, they'd call in the feds for the actual bust. That way they got to keep 1/2 of the property siezed. When the state realized what they were doing, they sued the KCPD in state court. I believe that the KCPD had to give what they had "earned" with the feds to the state, because they were in violation of the law!

Mark

49 posted on 05/07/2005 7:15:39 AM PDT by MarkL (I've got a fever, and the only prescription is MORE COWBELL!!!)
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To: antisocial

Thats the truth - my wife drives better in traffic or bad weather after 2 or 3 drinks.


50 posted on 05/07/2005 7:32:22 AM PDT by spanalot
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