Let's Do Away With Drunk-Driving Laws

Essay: They actually make roads more dangerous
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2010 1:40 PM CDT
Updated Oct 16, 2010 7:00 PM CDT
Let's Do Away With Drunk-Driving Laws
A DWI checkpoint.   (Flickr)

Laws against drunken driving are admirable in intent, but a case can be made (with stats to back it up) that they actually make our roads less safe, argues Radley Balko in Reason. Measuring blood-alcohol levels is misguided given the vast differences in how individuals handle their booze. Police, meanwhile, waste manpower at DWI checkpoints (civil liberties violations are a whole other can of worms) to snag people at the arbitrary 0.08 level instead of patrolling the roads for drivers who are, in fact, driving dangerously.

Solution: Do away with DWI laws, which sounds "radical" but actually isn't, writes Balko. "If our ultimate goals are to reduce driver impairment and maximize highway safety, we should be punishing reckless driving. It shouldn't matter if it's caused by alcohol, sleep deprivation, prescription medication, text messaging, or road rage. If lawmakers want to stick it to dangerous drivers who threaten everyone else on the road, they can dial up the civil and criminal liability for reckless driving, especially in cases that result in injury or property damage." (More drunk driving stories.)

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