BAC 0.08 foolishness

I am an ER doc. I don’t like drunk drivers, nor drunks in general. My distaste is not generic, it’s borne of dealing with intoxicated persons and their damages for a living. I see a lot of drunk drivers “get away with it”, and leave my ED after several hours, or from the hospital after a couple of days, having been in major automobile acidents. They don’t leave in cuffs, or with a citation, they just walk out, and my frustration is palpable.

That being said, I dislike the creeping nanny-stateism and erosion of liberties that comes with ‘more laws are better’ even more, in this case Drunk Driving Laws. I’m mostly conservative, but with a Libertarian streak that says Enough is Enough with drunk driving laws. (For the Record, I’m in favor of “mandatory reporting” ED laws for drivers and their blood alcohol levels, but it’s not to be. I’m not “Soft on Crime”, I’m Peeved about Dumb Crap). Which brings me to my next point, which I’ve linked to before, interestingly by the same author:

TCS: Tech Central Station – Drinking and Legislating If we look at “fatalities” instead of “accidents,” drivers with a BAC above .10 account for 77% of the alcohol-related body count. And the average BAC in fatal accidents involving alcohol is .17. Put another way, motorists with very high blood-alcohol levels account for an increasing percentage of highway fatalities, but a decreasing percentage of arrests.

Clearly, we’re allocating limited law enforcement resources toward the wrong pool of offenders.

So, there is a disconnect between effort and outcome, between probable culprit for DUI injury and actual arrest.

Great. More disconnect between reality and the law.


  1. Jim Kanuth says:

    This doesn’t surprise me. When the blood alcohol level for action was dropped from .1 to .08, a few folks asked for the evidence that there were accidents or deaths to be prevented by that action. None was provided. What little has been gathered since shows there is no evidence that the difference between .08 and .1 is significant in accident statistics…..folks below .1 just rarely have an alcohol related accident.

    It has however proved a boon for one group that lobbied for the change…insurance companies. They can now take people who don’t cause many accidents and charge them the same rates they charge real alcoholics, thereby making tons of additional income.

    The more cynical among us might wonder if this wasn’t payback to the insurance companies for the pressure being put on their homeowner’s rates.

  2. I just hope he thanked the cardiologist as much as he thanked god.

    seems one helped a little more than the other.

  3. I think that belongs in the entry above, so I’ll copy it there.

  4. Curious JD says:

    It has also provided a boon for nonprofits such as MADD who were reaching the limits of their legislative usefulness, the coffers of municipal governments, and the coffers of those nonprofits that run the classes the offenders are inevitably sentenced to attend.

    Not to mention those of us who do misdemeanor criminal defense.

    All in all, a bad idea. Of course, states had no choice if they wanted their federal highway dollars.


  1. GruntDoc says:

    MADD makes 25 years, and begs retirement

    via Fox News, and the on-target Radley Balko: This fall Mothers Against Drunk Driving marks its 25th anniversary. The organization certainly has much to celebrate: Deaths from drunk driving are down more than 35 percent since the early 1980s. We…