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Old 12-17-2006, 10:41 PM   #21
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Interesting headline article in my local newspaper today. They described both drunk driving and driving under the influence. Drunk driving is .08 or above on breath or blood test. But you can receive a driving under influence citation for even a trace of alcohol. In either case you are going to have to get a good attorney to beat the case. And in either case that cost will run you upwards of $2500. I bet the laws are similar where you live. The driving under influence covers the cop and gives him descretion of judgment on the spot.

You sure don't want to get caught under the hidden clause of the law for driving under influence. If you had a beer and know you are not drunk, you can still lose under the letter of the law. Prescription and other drugs come into play if admitted to or if an accident occurs.

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Old 12-17-2006, 10:44 PM   #22
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I think "under the influence" also includes illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and who knows what else. But I could be wrong.

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Old 12-17-2006, 10:54 PM   #23
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Baron, you are correct. I can add that seniors driving are a danger from such prescriptions as oral diabetic medications. We had an 82 year old killed yesterday flipping his car on the freeway after passing a car on the right and crossing two lanes left and over the center divide. A 16 year old girl killed herself last week from huffing keyboard air cleaner and crashing into a telephone pole. 2 passengers may recover. Our paper falsly claimed that 27,000 a year died from drunk driving. I find figures put that number more like 13,000. But fatalities are up in recent years from other under the influence causes....... cellphones being a major problem.

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Old 12-17-2006, 11:12 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beer4breakfast

To those of you who advocate extreme punishments like life imprisonment for DUI in situations that only have a potential to cause harm, versus the more serious situations that result in actual harm, my sincere hope for you is that you will never have to face the terribly sad circumstance in which you or one of your children or loved ones is arrested for DUI.
I agree with the punishments being discussed here as extreme, impounding the car and taking the licience away is good enough. Big stigma attached to not being able to drive. Very limiting I would imagine in America where everybody seems to drive everywhere.

As for how I would feel if my kid or family or friends got arrested for DUI I would be more upset at them driving after drinking in the first place.

It really is not neccessary in todays world. If you have to drink and drive then there are other problems you need to address first.
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Old 12-17-2006, 11:25 PM   #25
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Going back to the question at hand...

I don't think celebrities are drinking and driving more now. What's happening is that cops are under intense pressure to never let ANYONE slide on a DUI. It doesn't matter if you are the cop's neighbor or the cop's best friend on the force. If you pull a guy over for driving poorly, notice alcohol on his breath, let him go, and he kills someone, your department is going to have an 8 figure lawsuit.

You simply cannot let anyone slide on a DUI anymore. The nicest thing you could possibly do would be to take the guy's keys and tell him to walk or take a cab home. However, a few years back, a cop did that for his buddy and the buddy returned with an extra set of keys and hit someone with the car.

I have been in the back of a squad car while heavily intoxicated. I wasn't driving. I was on a train and I overslept my stop. The cop picked me up and took me to a hotel and got me a room. I'm sure he could've nailed me for public intox, but the truth was, I wasn't causing anybody any harm. I never thought I would even get that good of treatment from a cop, but it was definitely an enlightened view on his part. He was probably glad I knew better than to be driving. Anyway, that's my only run-in with the law involving alcohol.

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Old 12-17-2006, 11:31 PM   #26
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Sorry to come back to some fairly off topic comments earlier, but i agree on a more European approach to driving and laws. My friend that i am staying with and i went to Munich last night and i got some beers with dinner and at the bar and he had none because he had to drive...3 hours later. I know that sounds extreme, but you sure dont hear too often of drunk driving problems here and dont have crazy organizations like MADD.

It comes down to luck and how well you handle your liquor. Both are somewhat out of your control so why take risks? What do i know though, i cant even legally drink in America yet.

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Old 12-17-2006, 11:43 PM   #27
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We could have a European approach here. Just as soon as the suburbs can be reached via public transportation in less than 4 hours. Seriously, I was once house sitting for an uncle in Naperville and, wanting to go back into the city for a few beers, I checked the public transit. The only late night option to return would have been a 4 hour bus ride. Ok, so take a cab, right? Well, that night I overslept my stop, they wanted $140 for a cab ride back to the city. Yeah, I wayyyy overslept. The hotel was only about $65.

Anyway, so long as public transportation is inefficient, and other means are exhorbitantly expensive, I don't think the European model will work here... well, unless we start doing other things like raising the minimum wage and whatnot. Otherwise it just makes the whole class system in this country that much more austere.

The other difference between Europe and America is that, if I am dropped off on the opposite end of most European countries, I can make my way back, on foot, in a couple of days or so. That doesn't work here.

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Old 12-18-2006, 12:45 AM   #28
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In fairness, most European countries have populations less then 50 years ago. So, the public transportation of that time has been easy to maintain. But, they also improved on the system that works. The US mostly abandoned public transit after WWII, in favor of cars. When the gas runs out or becomes too expensive, the USA will suffer most.

Apparently, in Europe, a car is not a right or privilege, but rather a luxury. In most cases a person can get by walking, public transit or bike. That is possible in only some of the smallest or largest cities in the US. And sidewalks and walkways are mostly things of the past in the US, so walking is a bad idea.

Actually, I prefer traveling by train or bus. But those services are more limited all the time. No train runs here and bus only twice a day. and very limited on towns in between. I have to go 26 miles to the bus stop too. So like everyone else, I drive.

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Old 12-18-2006, 01:46 AM   #29
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Sometimes it's actually faster to travel across the country than from one suburb to another and back. Think about it. ORD to LAX takes 4 hours, plus 2 at the airport, plus an hour to get there. 7 hours. That's not much longer than it takes to go from Point A to Point B if you're stuck using 3 different public transportation companies without meshing schedules.

It is our size that makes things dramatically different than over in Europe. Europeans prefer to believe we are unenlightened, but typically they don't have an appreciation for the vastness of our country and what that means for travel and commuting. I'm not saying our system is better. Far from it! But what works there is simply untenable here. People need to drive more here. Although it does cause more deaths by DUI's and whatnot, from what I've seen, it also makes our economy substantially more efficient. Cell phone do too. I hate to say I support people talking and driving, but let's not kid ourselves about how much extra work an American can do if he can talk for the three hours that he's in his car. Sure, for you, maybe those conversations are pleasure and fun, but I'm not going to be the one to say that that is any less important to our happiness than closing an extra deal.

Overall, I think our system is pretty good for out situation. Could it be better? Sure. But it's not bad, given what we've got to work with...

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Old 12-18-2006, 01:54 AM   #30
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Toot,
tis a fair call about having to rx and tx calls from a car, this is the nature of the world today - nothing stops for anything, most phones have a hand free option anyway.

Why is your economy more efficient if you need to drive more. I am confused! (by the way in case you read this wrong I am just interested - not having a go ) ...you will know when I am having a go!

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