Anti-alcohol extremists move to lower driving limit from .08 to .05 — MADD crusade runs into law of diminishing returns

Only a very small percentage of driving fatalities (maybe around 1.5% at most) occur among those with blood alcohol content between .05 and .08. It seems that scarce public resources could best be used elsewhere.

Read more at the New York Times.

11 thoughts on “Anti-alcohol extremists move to lower driving limit from .08 to .05 — MADD crusade runs into law of diminishing returns”

  1. MF, a source for your statistic please. If I recall correctly, 0.05% alcohol content has the lowest accident rate of all. This is due to people being overly cautious because thy know that they are slightly impaired. I cannot recall any stastically significant increases in crashes or injuries below 0.1% blood alcohol.

    I’ll have to find that study again.

  2. There are additional problems as well. If there is alcohol in the car (e.g., an unopened 6-pack of beer in the back seat) or if the driver has any measurable BAC whatsoever an accident may deemed an be “alcohol related” accident. (This is analogous to those living in government subsidized housing being counted as “”homeless in homelessness studies.) Government agencies and cause-heads have a way of manipulating data to favor their agenda as has been documented all too well here wrt to the CAGW crowd.

  3. There are a number of issues about impaired driving. Our science on alcohol level and skill impairment is fuzzy at best; individuals respond so differently to different levels of alcohol or other drugs, as Gene notes above.
    We have a lot of high-level repeat DUI offenders in my community, or it seems that way. We read about the sixth, tenth, etc, and even a new DUI charge between conviction and sentencing on a pending DUI. What I haven’t seen is very good evidence that repeat DUI offenders are also involved in accidents or the severity of the accidents.
    And it’s genuinely difficult to evaluate the role of alcohol in vehicle accidents.
    Like the helmet discussion in the other thread, prudence would dictate using little or no alcohol if you’re going to drive, shoot, perform surgery, consider offering a marriage proposal, etc. I’m in a serious quandary about how the law should approach these things.

  4. The intent is not safety and the phony statistics about impairment isn’t about proving .08 is impairing. The intent is to increase the fines and convictions. Anyone using the phone, listening to music on ear buds, driving with small children, putting on makeup, driving while eating and even smoking is driving impaired. If the intent of this is to prevent impaired driving then tackle these issues first then come back to blood alcohol of ,08.

  5. Even the 1.5% is exaggerated because if there is any alcohol that tends to get blamed over other causes. As in many of those accidents would have happened anyway because accidents happen.

    Typically when death is involved the driver has 2 – 3x the legal limit. This law will just harass responsible adults who want to have just one drink for dinner.

    Stop the nanny state and put the BAC limit back to 0.1

  6. “Not every regulation is an example of overreach, much less extremism.”

    Non sequitur.

  7. I would grant more credibility if the government were willing to do more to prevent *repeat* DWI offenses, especially for those drivers who HAVE been involved in accidents while impaired. The purpose of the government is to *protect* the public, and a DUI driver with an accident has essentially proven that s/he cannot be trusted to show enough good judgement about DUI to not represent a threat to public safety.

  8. Not every regulation is an example of overreach, much less extremism. Personally, I think that three glasses of wine is way too much for driving. The article states that persons with blood alcohol level of 0.05 are 38% more likely to be involved in an accident than drivers who had nothing to drink. Do you dispute this statistics?

    Driving is a privilege, not a right. An automobile is a means a transportation, but it is also a menace to others if you are impaired.

  9. They better come up with a more realistic proxy of impairment than blood alcohol lever. I get dizzy before I can finish a can of beer; my boss can drive safely he’s had six, and I am about twice his size.

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