A question for you....
  • Since September of last year, two people I knew were killed by drunk drivers. I know it's a widespread problem, and I know that 90% of those who drink also drink and drive. Many of the membership here drinks and drives. However, it seems that (for many reasons) the only way to stop drunk driving is through technology. By the advent of a fool-proof device that prevents the automobile from being driven by an intoxicated person, the problem can be eliminated. I get all that. What I don't get is what should happen to those people who chose to drink and drive, when that choice resulted in the death of another person. What is fair? Is it murder? Do they deserve a chance to do it again?

    I suppose the question I want to pose the membership is this:
    What should we, as a society, do to those people who kill other people when drinking and driving?

    Tell me.
  • I think, no question, it is murder if you kill someone with a vehicle. Vehicular manslaughter.

    Being drunk or under the influence of an illegal substance is not a free get out a jail ticket when you kill someone. Same thing for people who are mentally insane.

    The punishment for killing someone under the circumstances you suggest should always be execution. Our legal system, however, is so screwed up that most drunk drivers who kill often get out of jail after a number of years.

    I'm very sorry about the people you knew who were killed by drunk drivers. It is obviously an increasing epidemic, and it needs to be stopped before it can get any worse.
  • I do agree the justice system is completely screwed up but I will disagree on execution as a punishment.

    What there should be is a lengthly jail term with no chance of parole (5- 10 years) and the license to drive be revoked permanently once out. They should also be made responsible for paying the hospital and/ or funeral expenses of the victim.
  • Jerry, saying 90% of those who can drive and like a drink, drink and drive is a bit out of line. Does this mean that 9 out of 10 of us gets behind the wheel drunk everytime? once in a lifetime or once a week? or that we all have driven home pi$$ed in the past?

    I am no lover of the drink driver and I even support the police morning after breathalising campaign. However should i wish to have a single beer with a meal at 8pm knowing that i wont be behind the wheel until midnight would this make me a drink driver?

    What causes most car wrecks where I live is not drinking, its recklessness - not so much breaking the speedlimits but trying the impossible (taking a 30mph corner at 80 in a Civic for example - all sober, but all dead)

    The law here is tough on those prosecuted and the insurance companies are even tougher!
  • Rory K STAFF said:

    What causes most car wrecks where I live is not drinking, its recklessness - not so much breaking the speedlimits but trying the impossible (taking a 30mph corner at 80 in a Civic for example - all sober, but all dead)

    drinking and driving really makes me mad, ive had an aunt killed in a car. but thats not what gets me so, i have seen many of my friends drunk, even after two bottles, they start acting wierd and can't hardly sit, if this was a world that could live on the honor system i could see someone driving after having some alchohal for dinner, its wene people can't keep themself in control, which limit everybody by laws, but Rory?? wreckless drivng may cause the deaths but what cause the wreckles driving?? i am a natural aggressive driver, and i get kinda wreckless, but i do know my limits, but if i were to be drunk, i couldn't judge if i was upon my limits??
  • MCWHAMMER said:
    I think, no question, it is murder if you kill someone with a vehicle. Vehicular manslaughter.
    Your response is ambiguous. Is it murder, or is it vehicular manslaughter? Think about it. Some years ago, a prosecutor in your state sought the death penalty in a DUI-related case. Do you think he was trying to convict for vehicular manslaughter? Heck no, he wasn't. He was pursuing a murder conviction. They are VERY different charges.
  • Rory K STAFF said:
    Jerry, saying 90% of those who can drive and like a drink, drink and drive is a bit out of line.
    (Mind you, what I am writing in this thread really only applies to the DUI situation in the U.S.)
    Out of line...are you sure about that? Do you know at what point you become too impaired to drive? I'm not asking for you to google the information and respond, either. Do you know? Do you know when impairment begins? Do you own a car? How many times have you been drunk? How did you get home each of those times?
    Rory K Staff said:
    Does this mean that 9 out of 10 of us gets behind the wheel drunk everytime? once in a lifetime or once a week? or that we all have driven home pi$$ed in the past?
    9 out of 10 people who drive to a bar drive home. At many bars, everyone drives home. Virtually everyone who drives to a house party drives home. Check the parking lot leaving sporting events...how many of the thousands of people who've been drinking leave in a cab? How many people who drive to a club take a cab home and leave their car in a dodgy parking lot overnight? Once in a lifetime is enough to put your life at risk, but once a week sounds about average. The NHTSA estimates that first-time DUI offenders drove drunk 770-some times before they were caught. If you're asking if I think that 9 out of 10 times a person drives a car that they're intoxicated, my answer is no. Of course not. But, 9 out of 10 drivers who drink have driven home pi$$ed.
    Rory K Staff said:
    However should i wish to have a single beer with a meal at 8pm knowing that i wont be behind the wheel until midnight would this make me a drink driver?
    Not in this country. As the body gets rid of alcohol at the rate of .015% per hour, you should be OK after an hour. Unless, of course, the "one beer" was HUGE.

    What do you think should happen to those who kill others when they're drinking and driving Rory?

  • I cant believe the statistics of 770 drink driving instances before the first time caught...every weekend night for 7 years - should you only drink one night a week then it would be 14 years before you would be caught? bloody hell.
    That's about the size of it. It's common for teens to begin driving at 16, and most first-time DUI offenders are between 22-30 years of age. Virtually NOBODY gets caught the first time they do it. Consider this, why would you stop doing something you get away with nearly 100% of the time? It may not be the problem in your country that it is in ours, but it's inherently dangerous anywhere.

    I am very sorry, Rory. I edited when I thought I was quoting, and I made a mess of everything you wrote. A thousand pardons. I should not post when I'm tired. Good night.
  • I was involved in a head on collision with a drunk driver when I was 17 years old. A friend and myself were on his Vespa scooter when a woman came completely into our lane and hit us head on at 40 mph. Neither of us had helmets on (the law did not require them at the time) and by the grace of God we both survived the crash. My friend was in bad shape, comatose with compound fractures, punctured organs and was lifeflighted to UCSD Trauma Center. I was fairly lucky, escaping with a few cracked ribs, a bruised chest and elbow, a broken toe, a torn leg muscle and a concussion.

    The woman who hit us had .19 blood alcohol level at the time she was tested (almost 3 hours after the accident). That was twice the legal limit in the state at that time. She claimed she only had two drinks. Her husband was a passenger in the car and he had two prior DUI's. Neither of us could place her behind the wheel but she did take responsibility for the accident. She had no prior record of any kind.

    Before the trial, at the preliminary hearing, I was gung ho to have them throw the book at her. You know, "Boil her in oil" and all that jazz. You see, my friend who was driving the Vespa happened to be the son of a cop. We had the assistant DA on our side and we were out for blood. She had originally pleaded Not Guilty, which made us even more determined. Then we finally got to see her in court.

    It was different then. I don't know why? Seeing her face to face for the first time. She looked sad and frail. All we wanted was for it to be over. They struck a deal. Guilty plea to felony DUI w/bodily injury and misdemeanor driving on the wrong side of the road. Loss of license for 4 years and 200 hours community service. Jailtime served... 2 days.

    Is that justice? I don't know. She didn't kill anyone. Had she killed me, I wouldn't be typing this now. Had she killed my friend, he would not be celebrating the birth of his first child this month.

    If she had killed us, I would hope that at the very least, she would have spent the rest of her life in prison. I know that it was a mistake. But, it was a mistake her husband had made more than once. He didn't learn from it the first time and apparently, she didn't learn from his mistakes either.

    If nothing else, maybe our accident scared a couple of drunk drivers off the road before they actually killed someone. Maybe the story of what happened to them filtered down to some of their drinking friends, and perhaps they'll think twice before they drink and drive. I know personally, it has affected my life and I don't get behind the wheel after drinking. I know first hand what it can do.
  • I had a bad driving experience today, I was driving down the road,and i look ahead, and i see headlights in front of me, and im thinking they are just in the trn lane, the road kinda swerved, and as i got closer, i asked my friend if he thought this person was driving towrads me, and he looks up from his phone, he yells some profound words, as i the car got closer i realized it was coming toward us, as i come sliding to a halt luckily there is a parking lot right next to us and i started to turn, and then my car came to a complete stop, as my car being at an angle they were heading striaght for my door and i thought i was a goner, they then swerved almost hitting another car, honked, then gave us the finger, i have no idea if they were drunk but i suspect they were, and i almost pissed and sh!t myself.
  • Personally i have never had one and drove home. Firstly because my dad drummed it into me to never drink and drive and secondly i know how alcohol affects me. I know that after one glass of wine (i know im a lightweight) i would be affected.
    If we were going for a meal or something and tiff wanted to have a drink then i would be happy to stick to soft drinks so that he douldnt drive after drinking.

    I think drunk drivers are just part of the dangerous picture. What about those that drive with no MOT insurance and even licence!!!!
  • Ive never drank and drove, but on the same note Ive only had my license for about 6 months. Im %100 sure that I would never drink and drive, besides the fact that I hardly drink, I rarely take risks of that sort.

    As far as people being held responsible if they kill someone. Its a tough call; you can do some stupid stuff when your drunk. If you plan to drink and drive before you start drinking and you kill someone you should be held fully responsible. If you get drunk and drive as a result, well, I guess its a little harder to call there. This topic has a whole scope that can be covered so Ill just state my opinion as being - If you do the crime you do the time -

    /m/
  • I think it is an interesting question Jerry.
    I'll have a go at it, from my POW.

    First of all, I believe that punishments should be, and are, closely connected to intent. Now, driving under the influence and harning someone is, to my belief, never intentional. Negligence (sp?) is a more proper classification. If you add to that the documented effects of alcohol on humans in the respect of ability to estimate risks, self judgement and general feeling of invincability and profficency I have to say that intent is out of the pictue.

    Unless you realize that most people have the ablitity to reason. That means that if you prior to your first order of alcohol realize that you are going to drive home afterwards, and you despite of this ignore the risk, you have in fact an intent to be negligent.

    In all, I think drunk drivers should be treated like anyone who act against better knowing. This category includes teenagers unable to hold back the urge to demolish property (graffiti or busting things up in general), parents who resort to any form of abuse of their children (spanking, house arrests) or any form of theft (file-sharing, shoplifting).
    The effects of these petty crimes, as you may see them, are admittedly not as severe as actually killing someone, but I belive that the intention of the acts are characteristically the same. You know, in the back of your head, that what you are doing is wrong, but you don't reckon that anybody will get hurt by your acts.

    Drunk driving has another aspect to it. The one of general acceptance. It is hard to catch all drunk drivers by the use of the police, but it is easy to spot the offence since alcohol is such a social drug. If anyone suspecting a DUI in progress or about to happen would report the offence or act to prevent it I think you could really reduce the problem. This is naturally a euforic scenario, I realize the problem of depending on other drunkards to be able to be reasonable (without resulting to violent acts).

    I don't know how to jodge on this really. I think it is hard to eliminate drunk driving by harder punshments. I think the way to treat the problem is by making any one who allows it to happen an accomplice (sp?). But then that in turn would incriminate alot of people and probably lead to a very un-american society were every act including alcohol or driving would be supervised by some governmet organ (and that would cost alot, not to mention anger alot of people).

    I think you should sentance a drunk driver, whether (s)he killed some one or simply got caught in a random breath-control, the same cause they are guilty of the same offence, negligence. If the punshment should be imprisonment or loss of drivers licens with parol or therapy I don't know. What ever has the best effect I guess.