He Ain't Hurtin' No One…

Email Print
FacebookTwitterShare

by Eric Peters EricPetersAutos.com

Recently by Eric Peters: Electric Lemon Aid

A reader writes: “If drunk drivers were allowed to drive at 5 m.p.h. on the shoulder of the road, things would be a whole lot better and safer all around.”

It’s a damn fine idea!

He “ain’t hurtin’ no one” … so why not leave him be?

Let the drunks safely gimp themselves home. It jibes with the NAP principle: No harm, no foul.

But, it does not jibe with the moralistic hectoring of the Clover Mind, which really wants to punish people most of all. Not “keep us safe.” Control us — and punish us when we resist or defy control. When any of us do something they do not like. Which affronts their Puritanical (but now secularized) urge to compel uniformity — and stamp out heterodoxy. Everything must be one way… their way.

Or else.

If that were not the case, then they — Clovers — would not object to the proposal above. A drunk driver cautiously making his way home, his car barely moving at walking speed, presents no significant danger to himself or others — to property or persons. I suppose it’s possible a child (to anticipate the Cloveritic cry sure to erupt) might by playing on the shoulder at 2 a.m. after last call — but it’s unlikely. Mailbox posts are more threatened, but I’d rather deal with a knocked-down mailbox every now and then than a uniformed thug scrum hassling me for no reason because someone else might be “drunk” driving.

The real danger as regards drunk driving is that the system provides every incentive for drunks to drive … at normal road speeds. Indeed, slightly faster than normal road speeds. Because to drive exactly the speed limit — or below the speed limit — in the wee hours of the morning is like throwing buckets of bloody chum in the ocean. It’s guaranteed to draw the attention of cops. So, the drunk driver drives faster in order to avoid being noticed. Rendering him a real danger to himself and others — just the opposite of the case were he to “walk” his car home at 5 MPH or so on the shoulder.

But, the Clover will cry, he shouldn’t have been driving at all! Perhaps — except here again the Clovers have set up an impossible Catch 22. In the first place, they have managed to dumb-down the legal definition of “drunk” driving to absurdity. A drink or two over the course of a meal is sufficient. It probably won’t result in any meaningful impairment of a person’s capability to safely drive home. But it is sufficient to cross the BAC threshold at which point one may be cuffed and stuffed. Which is not .08 BAC, incidentally. In most states, a BAC level of .06 or even .04 is sufficient legal pretext to arrest a person for “drunk” driving. A .08 BAC is merely presumptive drunk driving — while lower BACs require additional evidence of “drunkeness” to establish the fact (such as a cop’s say-so).

Well, ok — then maybe just sleep it off in the car. The parked car. Surely, that’s responsible and “safe.” Even if the occupant’s BAC is .16 and he is well and truly soused, if the car’s parked then he is utterly harmless. Ergo, the law should be pleased.

He ain’t hurtin no one…. so leave him be.

But of course it will not. If a person is found sitting in his parked car — even if he is asleep in the back and the engine’s stone cold — he may still be arrested and carted off to a cell for the crime of drunk driving. Hence, another incentive for the drunk to drive. Because he is more vulnerable sleeping it off in his car. He’ll be there — in the same place — all night long. His odds of avoiding the drunk driving bust are improved if he actually drives while drunk.

Read the rest of the article

Eric Peters [send him mail] is an automotive columnist and author of Automotive Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his website.

The Best of Eric Peters

Email Print
FacebookTwitterShare