“Zero Tolerance” Not Dead Yet

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on November 8th, 2005

I recently suggested that the backlash from Washington DC's "zero tolerance" laws (criminalizing driving with any measurable amount of alcohol in your blood) might be a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe….but it just might be a very long tunnel. Some other recent reactions:

Man arrested with 0.02 blood-alcohol level

Farmington, NM November 4, AP –People can be prosecuted on drunken driving charges with a blood-alcohol content below the state's presumed level of intoxication of 0.08 percent. That's the word from Farmington police and District Attorney Lyndy Bennett….She says the blood-alcohol content is not an absolute. Farmington attorney Victor Titus was arrested this week on a charge of drunken driving after registering a blood-alcohol level of 0.02. The officer says he arrested Titus because the results of a breath test were not consistent with what he described as "observed impairment."

And this opinion piece the next day:

Boston Herald, November 5. It is time to separate fact from fiction about our drunken driving laws. It is time to stop deluding ourselves into believing that stricter penalties are the solution. It is also time to start promulgating laws that attack the core problem… The major problem with our existing laws is that it is legally permissible to have a drink or two or three and drive a car. Juries at drunk driving trials are actually instructed it is not against the law to drink alcohol and drive. It is only when the person is impaired or reaches the magical .08 blood alcohol level that he has committed a crime…. So what is the solution? Perhaps it is time to make it illegal to drink any alcohol and drive a car….

It would appear that MADD's objective of "zero tolerance" and an eventual return to Prohibition is far from dead.

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