virus: Re: Re:Drink driving

From: Andy Brice (
Date: Fri Jul 19 2002 - 03:33:36 MDT

From: "Hermit" <>
> In the same way that individual maturity ages vary dramatically, so does
blood alcohol tolerance. So in the same way that an age of consent is highly
prejudicial to the bulk of the population (society invariably chooses to err
on the side of caution), blood alcohol level tests are vastly prejudicial to
those with even marginally higher than usual tolerance levels. Yet while
operator competence tests would be more reliable, far safer and vastly
fairer than simpleminded blood alcohol tests, they are not available
(probably at least in part due to the vested interest in the vast industry
spawned by the status quo). Instead, whether justified or not, we apply
draconian rules to drunken drivers - from fines, revocation of driving
permits and incarceration, all the way to appointing them president.

I have no doubt that alcohol tolerance varies widely and that this affects
the level of incapacity. However, the major problem remains that alcohol
impairs judgement, including the judgement about just impaired our judgement
is. A person who has consumed a large quantity of alcohol is likely to be
quite mistaken about just how incapacitated they are.

Enforcement based on blood alcohol level seems a good compromise between
fairness and enforceability. The downside is that some people with tolerable
levels of impairment might have to walk, get lifts or take taxis. Hardly a
major infringement of their civil liberties.

Andy Brice

Ps/ I once had nitrogen narcosis while diving ('rapture of the deep') -
which has a similar effect to being drunk. At the time, trying to pull some
manky old curtains off a Russian trawler in 30m of water didn't seem
irrational. It was only when I ascended that I wondered what the hell I had
been thinking of!

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