Ain’t Hurtin’ No One…
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
a damn fine idea!
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.
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”
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.
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.
the rest of the article
[send him mail] is an
automotive columnist and author of Automotive
Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2013 Eric Peters
Best of Eric Peters