A Push To Have Cars Say 'No' To Drunk Drivers

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Ranbot, Oct 22, 2019.

  1. SierraNevallagash

    SierraNevallagash Defender (673) Sep 23, 2018 Maine

    I'm really torn on this one. I've never been one to drive under-the-influence. I did once, for about a mile to my house from a friend's at 3am in a dead suburban town, and I'm still not proud of that. While this technology wouldn't directly affect me, per se, I still worry about this level of control. Imagine a scenario where you're in the middle of nowhere, maybe with a few friends, you've had a few drinks, and suddenly, an emergency arises. You're attacked by an armed perpetrator, a wild animal, someone gets injured, etc... There's no cell service, and you need to get the hell out of dodge ASAP, but your car won't let you drive because your BAC is a point too high. That is one (extreme) scenario where I think driving under-the-influence could be argued for, and even encouraged - but this technology could prevent someone from getting urgent medical care. I know it's a stretch, but it's cases like this that concern me when it comes to technology that can directly override you like that. Just a thought.
  2. BayAreaJoe

    BayAreaJoe Savant (915) Nov 23, 2017 California

    Uh, no. They're going to drive from the middle of nowhere into somewhere and probably hurt themselves or others, which is why there are DUI laws in the first place; though they obviously aren't harsh enough because scenarios such as these are still under consideration.
  3. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,738) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Every time you get in your car you are making a risk/reward calculation (even if you don't realize it).

    What is the risk of driving impaired in the situation presented? You'll hit a tree, drive off the road, maybe kill one of your passengers or yourself. What is the likelihood of any of those happening? I suppose that depends on how impaired you are, among other things.

    What is the risk of not driving in the situation presented? Death and dismemberment? What is the likelihood of that happening?

    A piece of tech in your car should not be preventing you from making that calculation and deciding accordingly.
    unlikelyspiderperson likes this.
  4. BayAreaJoe

    BayAreaJoe Savant (915) Nov 23, 2017 California

    Oh I agree, I don't want to drive the new medical exam car. I was speaking more to the idea that a DUI scenario should not be put under consideration, and the example given was still not one I would argue for or encourage. I don't want to be minding my own business driving "somewhere" when these intoxicated folks leaving the middle of nowhere show up. There should be more adequate pre-planning (DD, Uber, whatever), plus our laws need to be WAYYYYY harsher.
  5. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,738) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Agree. Especially with the last part.
    HouseofWortship and BayAreaJoe like this.
  6. officerbill

    officerbill Disciple (374) Feb 9, 2019 New York

    Took a long time to hunt this info down
    https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812630 (it's a pdf)

    So roughly half of the drunk driving fatalities were the drunk drivers themselves. Drunk driving fatalities are still a serious matter, but only half of those fatalities are innocent victims.
  7. IPAExpert69

    IPAExpert69 Aspirant (216) Aug 2, 2017 Pennsylvania

    Punishing people (and putting others at risk) for a common addiction sounds worse than installing tech that prevents them from starting the car to begin with. I can deal with the very unlikely headache of occasional false positives in order to keep drunkards off the road. Especially if this tech is going to be mandatory, the incentive will be there to perfect the tech.
  8. BayAreaJoe

    BayAreaJoe Savant (915) Nov 23, 2017 California

    DUI-ing is not a common addiction. Nobody is suggesting people get punished for drinking alcohol, considered to be a common addiction.
    MNAle likes this.
  9. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,738) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Where is your evidence that those arrested (or, worse, not arrested) for DUI are alcoholics? Where is your evidence that alcoholics must drive and this behavior cannot be strongly discouraged with tougher laws?

    DUI is a behavior, not an addiction.

    I get it; you trust tech. I design this stuff and I don't trust it. Why do you?

    You seem heartlessly willing to sacrifice a few people in the name of perfecting the technology, and a few more after that since no technology is ever perfect. I wonder if the parents of the kids killed by airbags feel the same way.

    I don't need a car giving me permission to drive it, and I don't need tech that assumes everyone is guilty of DUI. Neither does a free society.
  10. Scottsbeer

    Scottsbeer Zealot (518) Nov 3, 2017 Florida

    I am amazed that there is even any debate on this. Mandatory tech mandated by the government that will force everyone to pay for it? Forcing people to pay for something so they can prove they do not intend on breaking a law that they have not broken? Forcing people to undergo a test with no probable cause? Preventing people from having a few drinks while they work on their car in the driveway because they could possibly break a law?

    Holding people responsible for their actions is fine and as it should be but forcing people to prove their innocence as opposed to forcing the government to prove their guilt is wrong.
  11. Ranbot

    Ranbot Savant (912) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Good work, but RTFA. The stat was in there, I just didn't spoon-feed it.

    Is that supposed to console people? Does that make it OK? An inexperienced 21-year old was drinking, made a poor decision and dies in a car crash and the rest of their life's potential is lost, but it's OK because they were the drunk? I'm taking your statement to an extreme to make a point, but from your other posts here I know you're a thoughtful person... I'm sure you can see why I make this point.

    This sort of statement could also be an example of survivorship bias [which I was thinking about before you posted, so this comment is not specifically directed at you]... a classic example of survivorship bias is something like "back in my day we rode around in the town in the bed of the pick-up truck and we're all just fine" [which I did too, BTW] but the sample size of who is "fine" is biased because it already winnowed out those who died from the risky behavior. What this means, is that when we look around and qualitatively evaluate the risk of us or our loved ones dying in a drunk driving accident, there are literally hundreds of thousands lost over the decades that are not present to help guide us... i.e. survivorship bias.

    Tangential to death counts, [and again something I've been thinking about generally and not directed specifically at you] society focuses on deaths, but that's only part of the public safety equation. There's also many thousands of people who are seriously injured, maimed, handicapped, insurance costs*, emergency fire/police/ambulance services, doctors, loss of work/productivity, damage to public and private property, courts, lawyers, etc. That's all a drain on society and private businesses. So, would the very real potential for this technology to inconvenience people also outweigh those costs too? That's a much trickier question and I don't pretend to have an answer, but point being there's more to consider than who dies or not.

    *- mind you our "private" insurance is paid collectively by all of us through our premiums. I could easily imagine insurance companies trying to lower their risk by giving financial incentives to policy-holders to equip their cars with anti-drunk driving technology. What will the anti-big government folks say if the free market pushes them to the same place? :astonished: But I digress...

    Oh the old "We can't remove all risk, so we can't do anything" argument.
  12. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,738) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    The ol' take a cheap shot while misunderstanding the point discussion board post.
    chrismattlin likes this.
  13. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (3,967) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    I think we could do a lot more as a society to reduce DUIs. I often hear stories from some of my elders about how they ended up drunk driving once or twice in their youth. While they paint the story as a comedy, we should never be laughing. If society thinks drunk driving stories are funny, how can we possibly expect to end it from happening?

    We could apply the same logic to distracted driving. When your driver checks his/her phone, do you say anything, or do you turn your head away? Without wanting to admit it - many of us enable these behaviors through our actions.

    I understand it's not easy to blame ourselves, but we have created and influenced the society around us - the pros and the cons. It's up to us if we want to influence society through our actions or try to mandate with technology.
    Roguer likes this.
  14. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (4,761) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Moderator Society Trader

    Interesting concept. I hate nanny-state injections into personal freedom, but it's hard to argue against the basis of making sure people driving are sober.

    I do think false positives are an issue that would need to be solved, among others ... and I'm not sure we could get there.

    However, I do offer this thought to @MNAle @Ranbot et al: 28% of traffic deaths in the US are attributed to driving under the influence of alcohol (just over 10,000 in a typical year). 26% of traffic deaths in the US are attributed to speeding (just under 10,000 in a typical year).

    Last I checked, cars are not limited in speed to anything remotely close to actual speed limits. If you argue that this technology (once perfected, or at least good enough) must be adopted to save lives, I hope you're willing to suggest that all automobiles be electronically limited to 70 mph - technology that perfectly exists, right now. We could save almost the exact same number of lives annually, without any concerns over false positives.

    (Also, I do have a self-driving car, and I would remind people that these are not a substitute for being sober, and will not be for a very long time for a variety of reasons. Please drive sober, everyone. Uber and Lyft are literally life-savers.)
  15. officerbill

    officerbill Disciple (374) Feb 9, 2019 New York

    Didn't see it anywhere, just total numbers killed.
    Thanks for the compliment and the well worded reply.

    I'll agree that there is some survivor bias. There were more times (late 70's/early 80's) than I care to admit when when I had absolutely no business being behind the wheel. It's by the grace of God and dumb luck that I never hit anyone or anything.

    I spent a year as my department's DWI officer and was also a Crash Investigator/Reconstructionist. Over the course of 22 years I probably made in the neighborhood of 150 DWI arrests and investigated a couple of dozen alcohol related crashes (thankfully only 1 fatality). I'm well aware of the physical, emotional, and financial impact on all parties involved.

    My stance comes from two points.
    1) I've developed an aversion for laws which punish a person because of something that might happen. I know the stats so I don't want to get into how strict DWI laws save lives, I agree they do. It's a Libertarian point of view where people aren't punished for their actions, but for the harmful results of their actions. Make Driving While Intoxicated a contributing factor in charging and sentencing in any criminal and/or civil proceeding with severe penalities.

    2) regarding the toll on the deceased driver's family; I once felt the same way you do, but over the years I came to the conclusion that, in this day and age, no one can legitimately claim they didn't know the dangers of drunk driving, thought it was okay, or couldn't find alternatives. If you don't care about what happens to your family, why should I? Just call it a defense mechanism.
    Roguer, AWA, FatBoyGotSwagger and 3 others like this.
  16. officerbill

    officerbill Disciple (374) Feb 9, 2019 New York

    Quick fun fact. The vast majority of speed related crashes aren't due to the person going over the posted limit; they're due to someone traveling at least 20% above or below the flow of traffic. In most cases you're safer travelling the same speed as the other cars, even if they are going over the speed limit.
  17. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (4,761) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Moderator Society Trader

    No disagreement here; I set my speed warning at +11 mph, as in most states it's safe to assume the flow of traffic is 10 over. :grinning:
    AlcahueteJ and officerbill like this.
  18. AWA

    AWA Aspirant (296) Jul 22, 2014 California

    I honestly can't fathom how DUIs are still a thing with Uber. At least in my town drunks are the only thing keeping them afloat.
  19. IPAExpert69

    IPAExpert69 Aspirant (216) Aug 2, 2017 Pennsylvania

    This is such a stupid counterargument, most kids killed by airbags are a result of them being too small to ride in the front seat, ergo bad parenting. Airbags save lives, and testing for BAC will save lives. I also fail to understand how testing BAC is infringing on your rights, I don't remember the "freedom from breathalyzers" amendment being passed.
    Yeah, it's literally called every single car safety code ever made. People had the same outrage when seat-belts were first introduced.
    meefmoff, surfcaster and Roguer like this.
  20. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,738) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    You're pretty callous and shallow with your reply. I think you need to review the history of airbag development and deployment.
    chrismattlin and officerbill like this.
  21. officerbill

    officerbill Disciple (374) Feb 9, 2019 New York

    Being properly belted, including the appropriate infant/child car seat, is more critical to surviving a serious crash than any other factor. IIRC, other things being equal, vehicle size and construction mattered more for survivability than airbag deployment. Airbags aren't vital to saving lives, their primary function is to prevent serious injuries by cushioning the blow.
    DrumKid003 likes this.
  22. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (4,761) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Moderator Society Trader

    These, I think, are extremely valid points, and ones from which I cannot get away, regardless of the appeal of logic.

    1) I do not like the concept of punishing thought crime or possibilities. I am OK with punishing acts. I'm not a Libertarian by any stretch, but as far as I am concerned, the most crucial elements of American liberty are (in some order): freedom of speech (including the press); freedom from religious imposition (and therefore freedom to practice one's own religion); and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Assuming people might be guilty and must prove their innocence, regardless of the good intentions and statistically positive outcome (from a Utilitarian point of view) is antithetical to our assumptions about our freedom and our legal system.

    2) This reminds me of smoking. Smokers in the '50s and '60s, for example, can certainly argue that they didn't know better; everyone smoked. No one can legitimately make that argument now. Similarly, no reasonable person can make a defense over drunk driving. Drunk driving is already illegal, as are murder, rape, and theft (which also affect entire families, not just the immediate victim). If people still choose to engage in anti-social behavior (from a classical point of view, not just hiding in one's house and avoiding social gatherings), they know the consequences, and they know the negative impacts.
    frazbri and MNAle like this.
  23. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (4,761) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Moderator Society Trader

    Agree ... and disagree. Second point: absolutely. My father, to this day, only buckles up because the car makes noises at him if he doesn't. He hates the idea that he "has" to, and whether or not it makes him safe becomes irrelevant.

    But the first point (or rather, middle)? It actually infringes in two places.

    Legally, sampling one's breath is considered a search and seizure of property (I know; crazy, but legally accurate). This is why breathalyzers are not issued unless there is already probable cause (e.g. weaving in and out of traffic), are backed up by blood tests whenever possible to ensure admissibility in court, and "DUI Traffic Stops," where they pull everyone over and check them, have been consistently challenged for their legality.

    ("Consent" to a breathalyzer is ensured in some states, for example Florida, when you sign for your license: part of the acceptance of the license is a consent to be breathalyzed if stopped for probable cause. I have no idea if this is true in every state, but I suspect it is not.)

    Second, it denies the presumption of innocence until proven guilty - depending, instead, on proving one's innocence.

    You may disagree with either or both of those stances, based on logic, statistics, or an appeal to safety; that's fine. They are, however, fundamental to the construct of our legal system. Anyone arguing in their favor has legal precedent on their side, and you are going to be fighting an uphill battle if you suggest that this proposal would not infringe on their rights.

    And yes, I have a lot of experience with this specific topic (not as a perpetrator, thank you very much :stuck_out_tongue: ). I am not merely suggesting that a breathalyzer is treated as a search and seizure of a person; I am informing you that this is legally the case, and if it is slightly mishandled, those results will not be admissible in court.
  24. honkey

    honkey Zealot (583) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona
    Society Industry Brewery Trader

    We’ve already got so much bad technology in this regard that I simply don’t trust the application of it without many years of evidence that it works properly... Last year I got pulled over coming home from my brewery because I had a headlight out. The cop told me he smelled alcohol and weed (I was covered in hops after a long brew day). I had empty cans in my car that were for recycling. I got breathalyzed and I blew a .06. In the 4 hours leading up to me being pulled over, I had drank 2 4.9% ABV cream ales and had finished my second one over an hour before being pulled over. Turns out the breathalyzer they used on me was donated to the department by Mothers Against Drunk Driving and completely inaccurate. I got arrested for the open containers, was threatened with a DUI, and I ended up having to pay $200 (talked down from $750) to a drug and alcohol abuse support group, and I had to attend 5 AA meetings. Needless to say, I’m not a fan of this technology.
  25. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,936) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    Hard no on this. It won’t solve the issue and it will create a mess for everyone. How about people just using common sense, you drink don’t drive. Use a taxi, walk, Uber, etc. We have endless options today to get home safe use them.
    chrismattlin likes this.
  26. officerbill

    officerbill Disciple (374) Feb 9, 2019 New York

    An attitude which is, sadly, becoming uncommon these days

    AFAIK every state has some form of “implied consent” regarding testing for BAC. It gives them the legal grounds to suspend or revoke your license for refusing a breath test and to draw blood if you're unconscious.

    The shame of stop DWI programs is that, in most states, they are meant to be largely self funded. Departments are given grants, vehicles, and/or OT for dedicated DWI patrols. Fines from any DWI arrests or tickets issued by the those patrols go to fund the stop DWI programs, who then funnel that money back to the department in the form of grants, vehicles, OT....
    chrismattlin likes this.
  27. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger Meyvn (1,461) Apr 4, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Well they are certainly losing money for their Department nowadays with Lyft and Uber. When I was growing up the town had a taxi service that was limited and they closed at 10 or 11. This is also a town known for its college bars and drinking. When I drive home from work in the am half the cars on the road are ride services. You can tell from the light on the dashboard.
  28. officerbill

    officerbill Disciple (374) Feb 9, 2019 New York

    With fewer people driving drunk the DWI programs have turned their attention elsewhere.

    Depending on where you live you may have noticed an increase in commercials about “buzzed driving”.
    In NYS Driving While Intoxicated is a higher standard; the operator needs to demonstrably drunk. But Driving While Ability Impaired needs a much lower standard;
    Basically a moving violation and the presence of alcohol is all an aggressive officer needs.
    If you refuse a breath test you'll lose you're license; if you blow a .05 it's presumptive evidence of impairment. The fines are routed to the stop DWI programs who then air PSA's, promote public awareness, and provide funds to departments.
  29. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (4,761) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Moderator Society Trader

    I suspect that is indeed the case; I'm just not sure, so I'm unwilling to assert it as fact.

    I do caution the trend to perceive a growing trend in our society toward "Guilty until proven innocent." The act of the social lynch mob and cancel culture should not be taken as an equivalent of a government act (same with the protection of freedom of speech, which does not guarantee you won't be fired by your civilian employer for saying stupid things).

    So it goes with the Founders and Smuttynose issues: consumers are well within their rights to presume guilt based on the allegations alone, and I'm not suggesting they are inherently wrong - but neither am I unconditionally supporting them. Are there many here who would declare OJ's innocence because he was acquitted as a murder suspect? I suspect - suspect - not many.

    So long as our government does not walk that path itself, our liberty isn't significantly at risk from what some might see as a social trend toward presumed guilt.
    officerbill likes this.
  30. Scottsbeer

    Scottsbeer Zealot (518) Nov 3, 2017 Florida

    Presumed guilt based on accusations is unfortunately a growing reality. Having to prove innocence is something that, when the US was founded, was recognized as a burden on the individual that is unacceptable.

    Individuals are the basis of our government, economy and country. Individual freedom is linked to individual responsibility and there are and should be consequences for individual actions.

    If the powers that be, believe and can prove that an individual's actions have violated a law, they can try to prove it with the individual enjoying the presumption of innocence until judged guilty.

    Regardless of the situation, a mandate that an individual would have to prove, with a "search", that the individual is not able to break a law that the individual has not been accused of breaking, in order to start the car is wrong.

    If you break a law and the government proves your guilt, deal with the consequences.

    Until then, the freedom of the individual and the presumption of innocence is the thing that the US was founded on!
    chrismattlin, officerbill and Bigrock like this.
  31. Steve_Studnuts

    Steve_Studnuts Disciple (391) Apr 21, 2015 Pennsylvania

    I find this infuriating and it didn't even happen to me. Jesus H. Christ.
  32. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (5,431) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    I'd be for this feature for those that have had a DUI.

    I'd rather have cars detect someone driving with their phone in their hand, and when it does, sound the horn until they put it down.
  33. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (4,761) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Moderator Society Trader

    I don't think you're disagreeing, actually.

    My point is that the government itself carries the burden of innocent until proven guilty. Boycotts and the like, from personal and individual citizens, bear no such responsibility - nor should they (as such is just as much an issue of freedom of choice).

    The OP issue (a breathalyzer required for all individuals before they can drive, essentially requiring them to "prove" their innocence) would be akin to exactly what you're talking about - and it's why I have pointed out that regardless of the logic, it's antithetical to our legal system and basis thereof. So again: you're agreeing with me.

    But individuals presuming guilt, regardless of the circumstances? That's humans being humans, and it's not illegal nor antithetical to our country's founding principles. That was my point.

    As an extreme case, you cannot be jailed by the government for saying you hate black people, women, or homosexuals. You can be fired if the company determines your actions are not in line with their corporate philosophy, or undermines their bottom line, or violates the agreed-upon terms of your employment. Freedom of speech is freedom from government intervention, not freedom from consequence by any and all private parties.
    AlcahueteJ and officerbill like this.
  34. honkey

    honkey Zealot (583) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona
    Society Industry Brewery Trader

    Yeah, it was ridiculous. In AZ, anything that gets a ticket, the officer can opt to arrest for. I’d never heard of getting arrested for open containers before. My lawyer never had a case where that happened either. In the same county, 2 days before, a dude beat his girlfriend in his front yard and the cops gave him a ticket. Just insane.
  35. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,936) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    Holy cow! That would sour me in a big way, seems abusive. You obviously had good reason for all and they seemed to just want to abuse the situation and not see your side.
  36. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,936) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    The laws here suck in my eyes and please don't get me started on the red light cameras and other goodies we suffer with, AZ is not a driver friendly town.
    officerbill likes this.
  37. mogulskier

    mogulskier Initiate (86) Feb 3, 2019 California

    I can live with that. I think it is a good idea instead of sensors to determine whether the car will run.

    I suspect the state will frown on increased enforcement and sentencing and instead opt for the latter; sensors to prevent the car from starting unless you pass a breathalyzer.

    I think states like New York an Massachusetts would opt for more stick and less carrot.
  38. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,038) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    No crap. I was behind a guy the other who was weaving all over the place typing away. He would go real slow, speed up, and drive like a damned fool at every moment. I see it more and more. Put the damned phones away while driving or around friends. Good callers leave messages. There will be studies about personality types and phone addictions. To some of my friends Words with Friends is like candy and codeine combined coursing through the ether.
  39. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,186) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I’ve always thought that there should be something in the car that automatically disables the screen when the car starts.

    You can still use GPS, but you have to set your course before you start the car. If you need to change it again, pull over instead of trying to do it on your phone while driving.
    FatBoyGotSwagger and rgordon like this.
  40. surfcaster

    surfcaster Zealot (564) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina

    Similar arguments regarding seatbelts—arguably a different type safety measure- were made in the 60’s 70’s- “what if car was on fire?” My first care would not start without the seatbelt fashioned. My Grandfather solved it by disabling it. It didn’t stay in cars as the public resented being told what to do. Seatbelt use is still terrible and Highway patrolmen will tell you that it is uncommon to unbuckle a dead person.

    As has been alluded- the technology is there and the potential for public safety would likely be overridden by these made up exceptions.

    Ready now in current form-NO.

    Future for it—ABSOLUTELY.
    #80 surfcaster, Oct 26, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2019
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