“The Politics of Modern Prohibition”

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on May 8th, 2009

Recently, it seems that there has been an increasing willingness of the media willing to reject political correctness and MADD's hysteria, instead adopting a more objective and reasoned approach to the question of traffic safety…

Our View:  The Politics of Modern Prohibition

Colorado Springs, CO.  May 4 –Do not drink and drive. Do not drink and drive, do not drink and drive, do not drink and drive. There. It has been said. The Gazette's editorial board officially opposes drinking and driving. It's a truly bad idea.

With that out of the way, it's time to raise the question: Why does law enforcement aggressively seek to prohibit drinking and driving, severely punishing some drivers who've had a few drinks and caused no harm, while tolerating an array of other dangerous driving conditions? The answer might be the politics of modern prohibition, or the political feasibility of enacting controls over people who drink but not people who are too old or too ill to drive safely, or those too busy texting, eating, shaving or looking at maps to pay attention to traffic around them…

Our criminal justice system does not demand that most people with dementia stop driving, even though it's a condition that can cause them to crash. Police don't seek them out with checkpoints, in order to fine and jail them for driving while confused. They seldom target and punish drivers who've neglected to get sleep. They don't hunt down people who are driving despite knowledge of an imminent heart attack or stroke.

When medically challenged drivers are held accountable for driving when they shouldn't, it's only after they crash. Yet drinkers, even casual drinkers who aren't drunk and are not statistically at high risk for causing harm, are punished for what might have happened. It violates the spirit of the 14th Amendment, which requires equal protection under the law.

"This severe legal persecution of drunk drivers alone, instead of all dangerous drivers, makes a complete mockery of our legal system," wrote Mark Crovelli, of Denver, for LewRockwell.com. "It is a situation in which one group of demonized and socially-despised drivers is mercilessly persecuted, while other non-demonized drivers are virtually ignored – even though both groups of drivers put other people's lives at risk."

Crovelli points to a U.S. Census Bureau projection that says 9.6 million people will be older than age 85 by 2030, up 73 percent from today. He said road safety analysts predict that by 2030 drivers over 65 will cause 25 percent of all fatal crashes – up from 11 percent in 2005. Crovelli wants to know if police will set up checkpoints to catch people for driving while too old, handcuff them, jail them overnight, counsel them, and fine them thousands of dollars because of the harm they might have caused if left on the road.

Again, for the record, it's a bad idea to drink and drive. It's downright dangerous to drive after drinking to excess. But it's also dangerous to drive with an array of other conditions and behaviors, known to affect young and old alike, that endanger others on the road. In our zeal to criminalize all who drink and drive, including those with blood alcohol levels as low as 0.05, let's not conveniently forget that little requirement of equal protection under the law.

Is it possible that the recent appointment of MADD's CEO to head the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has triggered a long-overdue backlash?

(Thanks to Ken Sharp)

  • David W


    A voice of sensibility (and reality)

  • RichardAlan

    There are elements in this story that I’ve been putting my thumb on in my replies here, based on my “Magical Make Believe DUI’ as you know my “alleged DUI” was dismissed I was convicted of going 60 mph in a 45 mph zone. Because I had a “Class A’ License I’m “magically Held to a higher standard” then the rest of you criminals.

    I was convicted of a “Reckless Driving” all alcohol related charges were dismissed!

    The DMV is so confused by this that they are reporting that I was convicted of both a Dui 23152 A and a Reckless driving 23103 A
    and only two points have been applied to one of the convictions. –the reckless driving. My BAC was 0.00 as reported on my DMV report

    My lawyers are working to fix this with the DMV. We tried back on June 19 2008 with a “minute order” striking the “fake DUI” from the record and replacing it with the “Real Conviction” of Reckless Driving non alcohol related.

    Since I was not convicted of the “Fake DUI” WHO POSTED ON MY DMV REPORT THAT I WAS?????

    Well the DMV completely ‘DISREGARDED” the court order on 6-19-08 by “NOT’ striking the record (removing the fake dui) and simply “ADDING” the real Reckless Driving conviction on top of this “FAKE DUI Conviction” –a DUI that I was not convicted of as it was dismissed in a “COURT OF LAW”

    What the F*UCK is going on here?

    Again this is what I call, an “ACT OF FRAUD” against me, you, my Lawyer, the judicial system and the American People!!!


    Thank you very much.

  • David W: You must get that DUI arrest expenged, then file criminal charges against the DMV for violation of US Code re expungement, which carries a $10,000 fine against govt agencies and termination of all federal grants.

    Not Guilty? Case Dismissed? Deferred Probation? It’s not over yet… When you are arrested and charged with a crime, a public record is created at the police station and forwarded to the Tennessee Department of Safety. That record is entered into a Tennessee state database and then forwarded to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). From there this sensitive information gains a life of its own and can make your life difficult for years to come. Any future traffic tickets will result in additional charges above the charge named in the traffic stop, and judges can order a stiffer sentence, up to and including felony conviction under the Habitual Offender statute. Hint: When a cop asks a motorist, “Do you have any previous traffic tickets or convictions?” SHUT UP and exercise your 5th Amendment right to not testify against yourself. You can pay a lawyer $1,500 to $2,500 to file a motion for expungement, or you can do it yourself for free (in most cases, with max cost of $50). Google it.

  • joe

    It makes cops look good to hand out DUIs. It makes people feel “safer” somehow. It’s not by any means right, but it is a quantifiable marker of how hard police are working.

  • RichardAlan

    Okay, regarding the DMV…. how are they so easily confused by what is the true “Conviction?”

    How does the DMV interpret a conviction in a court of law of a “Reckless Driving 23103 (A)”
    into a conviction of a “DUI 23152 (A).

    In other words when the court clerk sent my conviction of Reckless Driving to the DMV it somehow translated into a “Magical fake DUI conviction”

    This is the act of “Fraud” I’m talking about.
    Nothing needs to be “expunged” only the correct conviction of “Reckless Driving” needs to be reported.

    Question: If your DUI case is dismissed, and you are convicted for speeding or reckless driving “ONLY” how/why does the DMV report a DUI conviction?????

    Question can you file “Fraud Charges” against the DMV??????

    Thank you for your help.

  • LarryHughes

    I was arrested for DUI in June of 2008. I demanded and received a blood test. Results? “Negative, negative, negative” per the Assistant State Attorney. To clarify, 0.00 for alcohol, no illegal drugs, no prescription drugs. No accident, no injuries, not even speeding and no alcohol or drugs in the vehicle. Only an anonymous DUI tip to the FHP. ASA insisted on pursuing the DUI anyway. Out of money to defend myself, I pled to a Reckless Driving charge and received maximum fine, maximum points, probation, schools, etc. Life results? A DUI arrest and a reckless driving conviction on my record, insurance increase of 500%. BTW, I was a candidate for public office when this occurred. I lost, in many, many ways. Can any attorney help me?