What’s The Deal With American DUI Laws, Anyway?

America is an interesting place. We live in a country where personal transportation is so important that tax dollars are dedicated through Medicaid to provide obese people with rascal scooters.  All this to help them make it to the fridge after three heart attacks and thousands of dollars of healthcare expenses passed on to the taxpayer to compensate for of a lifetime of bad personal decisions.

The same politicians who decided that this was a good and fair idea, all in order to protect the rights of regular people to do what they want with their bodies, have no problem punishing the consumption of one beer with a revocation of driving privileges, leaving contributing members of society unable to drive to the grocery store or often to work. This can cost them their ability to provide for their families in the process. How many people have to suffer for what should be a minor infraction?

The Harm

The revocation of what amounts to a basic need in American society should not be contemplated unless the driver has a demonstrated substance abuse problem, is driving recklessly, or is well and truly drunk. A regular driver after one beer is still a much better driver than most old people, and should not be lumped in with junkies.

Revoking a driver’s license is one thing in a little European village where everything is munchkin sized and all the stores and businesses are within walking distance. This is America though, and it doesn’t work like that. Revoking a license often results in the loss of the victim’s job and severely curtails their future employment opportunities.

This is harmful to society and to the economy. It leaves entire families without any income, it deprives an employer of his labor force, and it decreases  competition for workers, which also harms businesses because they can no longer hire perfectly responsible workers who are punished by overzealous legislation.

The Solution

There are mechanisms for driver’s license restoration, but the battle to get back to having a fully restored driver’s license can take time. Fortunately, there are places where you can get SR-22 insurance without completely blowing your budget, as this “high risk” insurance is prerequisite in most states to get back on the road.

To me, this says that far too many are suspended and revoked in the first place. According to a CDC study, 112 million Americans admitted to driving drunk in 2010. Almost none of those Americans caused accidents, and with a limit that may now be lowered to 0.05%, any one of them could have had their licenses revoked under the current law.

Only the few who got unlucky and were stopped did lose their right to drive though. We should make the law consistent with the reality and stop persecuting responsible drinkers because of overly paranoid zealots who have disproportional influence over government. Influence that can come back to bite even the politicians who make a career of pandering to them.

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