Archive for October 7th, 2010

The March Toward .05%

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

As I've explained in past posts, the original legal limit for drunk driving was set in 1938:  0.15%.  This was based upon studies and recommendations from the American Medical Association.  Many years later, this was lowered to .10% and finally, after intensive lobbying by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, to 0.08%.  See DUI, MADD and the "New Prohibition".

MADD's agenda is to get it lowered further — to .05%.  The eventual goal is .00% — conviction for drunk driving if there is even a trace of alcohol in the system, regardless of the absence of any indication of impairment.  (Note: MADD has already been successful in achieving .01% "zero tolerance" laws nationwide for drivers under 21.) This bears out the reasons why MADD's original president, Candy Lightner, resigned from the organization she founded, saying it had become essentially prohibitionist rather than dedicated to saving lives.

In today's news, the latest in MADD's strategy:

Austin Chief Pushes for New Drunk Driving Charge

Austin, TX.  Oct. 7 – A campaign to create a new category of driving while intoxicated is being promoted at the Capitol as one way to curb growing problems in Texas’ system of punishing drunken drivers.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, among the supporters of the change, said the idea behind a new offense of “driving while ability impaired” — DWAI — would cover drivers whose blood-alcohol content is between 0.05 and 0.07.

That would be less than the 0.08 level required before police can charge a motorist with drunken driving…

Acevedo…noted that one person may drive dangerously at the 0.08 level — the nationally accepted standard for being drunk — while others “may be at 0.05 or 0.06. It depends on the person.”

“People sometimes focus on how many drinks they can have before they’ll go to jail,” Acevedo said. “It varies. … A person may be intoxicated at 0.05, and you don’t want them out driving.”

In his written testimony (to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee), Acevedo said he thinks the changes would make it easier to process and convict drunken drivers “as well as preventing others from making that initial mistake to drink and drive.”

Bill Lewis, the legislative director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which has led the charge in recent years to toughen Texas DWI laws, said the group has not reviewed or endorsed the proposed new charge of DWAI. He added, “I don’t see how it would hurt.”


Hmmm….Some people will be intoxicated at .08%, but "others may be at 0.05%".   May be?  So everyone with .05% is convicted and punished for drunk driving — because some of them might be intoxicated? 

MADD marches on….
 

(Thanks to Murphy Mack.)
 

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