Drinking and Driving vs. Drunk Driving

It is important to make distinctions. To know exactly what we are talking about before we “do something” about it.

For instance, drinking and driving and drunk driving. There is a distinction to be made here.

An important one.

Why on earth should it be illegal – a crime – merely to have been drinking and driving?

Emphasis on merely. BACtrack S80 Breathaly... Best Price: $119.52 Buy New $129.91 (as of 11:10 EST - Details)

Put another way, why should it be a punishable offense to have been drinking when one’s driving can’t be faulted? Unless of course the object of the exercise is to impose a kind of low-rent Prohibition –  to punish people for drinking – this makes no sense at all.

But it does seem to be the object of the exercise.

BACtrack Breathalyzer ... Check Amazon for Pricing. Which is why the law increasingly package-deals the consumption of alcohol – any alcohol at all – with “drunk” driving. Those under 21 (who may not legally buy, possess or consume alcohol) can be convicted of “drunk” driving if they are found with even a single empty beer can in the car at a “sobriety checkpoint.” It does not matter whether the driver even drank the single can of beer. The presence of the empty can is sufficient.

For those over 21, the definition of “drunk” is nearly as hysterical.

In every state, you are automatically presumed to be a “drunk” driver if your blood alcohol content is .08 regardless of your driving. Mark that. Your actual driving is not the issue, as far as the law is concerned. It is not necessary for the arresting officer to even assert that he saw you driving erratically, much less prove that you were.

BACtrack Mobile Smartp... Best Price: null Buy New $91.65 (as of 06:05 EST - Details) Even if you got him to concede in open court that he’d been following you for miles as you drove down a curvy mountain road and could not point to anything about your driving that indicated that you were other than in full control of you vehicle before finally pulling you over for a seatbelt violation or because the little light over your license plate was out – and subsequently, you “blew” a .08 in the Breathalyzer – it would not matter.

You are a “drunk” driver.

You could win the Indy 500 – sure proof that no matter what proof your blood might be, you are a damned fine driver but if your BAC is over whatever the arbitrary number is (currently, it is .08; it used to be .10 and before that, it was .12) then legally speaking, you are a dangerous, reckless, irresponsible, out-of-control “drunk.”

Your faultless driving is not admissible evidence that while you may indeed have been drinking, you weren’t “drunk.”

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