The 11-4-10 edition of the LDN had a guest editorial from the Midland Daily News that applauded the new 'Super Drunk' law and said it will save lives.  In my view, it is just another unnecessary piece of legislation that will not save any lives.  Let's first take a look at the new law.


For first-time drunk drivers it defines a new classification, 'super drunk', which is defined as having a blood alcohol level of .17 and greater.  Before, anyone at .08 or over were simply 'drunk'.  The law imposes harsher penalties for those convicted in the new classification.  New penalties available to judges under the new category include up to $200 more in fines, nearly doubling the maximum jail time to 6 months, a possible 6-month license suspension, 1 year of alcohol rehab, and installation of a breathalizer device on their car's ignition.  Subsequent offense penalties and first-time 'drunk' driving (.08-.16 BAC) penalties remain unchanged.


The law doesn't make sense to me.  A person who is .08 BAC drunk has a better understanding of why it is legally wrong to be driving than he is when he is at .16, so shouldn't he be punished more?  After all, when someone is accused of most crimes, diminished capacity may give them lesser culpability and hence a lesser sentence.  And is someone who is really blitzed going to think "Gee, instead of the possibility of getting stopped for drunk driving, I could get stopped for super drunk driving.  Maybe I should stop drinking now"?


The new definition is just annoying to me, and arose more than likely from some political expediency, or some new revenue avenue for trial lawyers.  Drunk driving is drunk driving.  Establish the new tougher penalties on any first-time legally drunk driver-- that will save some lives.


The editorial finishes strongly by calling for the creation of laws to crack down on impaired driving caused by other drugs, illegal or prescription.  With legalized medicinal marijuana and a wide range of prescription drugs capable of negatively affecting one's ability to drive readily available, establishing tests and limits on these are long past due for the safety of other road-users, in my opinion. 

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if they want someone to help test the imparing affects of illegal or prescription drugs... i volunteer my services. i will test my limits also thank you very much and do it cheeply.
I had to laugh at your artical here XL. This just seems like such a liberal point of view. We dont enforce the presnt laws ever we just create a new law or new line in the sand for one to step over. Just as we do for foriegn policy issues or anything else at this point. Dont enforce already excisting laws becawes this may seem incommpassionate to some liberal cause somewhere. After all those getting pinged by these laws are not really responcible for thier actions. Once you give a condition some name ( like super drunk etc) you can then apply more funds ( ones we dont have) to take a corrective stance on said condition.
Has anyone ever thought maybe if we quite letting people off ( no jail time or severe consiquences) for the 1st time we wouldnt need a new catagory to begin with?
Thanks X and Guido, I got quite the har out of this too, nite before Halloween it took effect at midnight I saw. They've already got the limit so low, sniffing a couple of empty beer bottles is excess, now they have to invent a new double jeopardy? For more $$$ again? Definitely another Liberal led law, and btw, anyone remember a few years back how the MADD President herself was incarcerated for being inebriated behind her own wheel? Hypocrisy we note, comes in great ideas like this from the very ones committing it, or about to, all too often. JMO
Another amusing aspect of this law was that it was passed fairly early last year, but only went into effect a couple of days before the 2010 election, likely meaning that some state politicos used it for potential campaign meat. If it went into effect earlier, its weaknesses could have been lambasted more easily. Plus, as Aquaman pointed out, a potential embarassment for one of its backers who got nailed behind the wheel. Laws like this just make lawyers richer, courts busier, and politicians able to say they did something.
I am happy with the new law I guess, maybe. At least it is something.

But really, I think it is either one is drunk or not. Use the laws available. The first time offender should have the book thrown at them whether they are .08 or .88, don't matter really. Preferred to use the laws available to enforce to the fullest instead of slap on the wrist. Give first timers a mandatory month in jail, and mandatory REVOKED (not suspended)license for 1 yr. , a second year with a breathalyzer machine in the car and make them go through the same administrative appeal that current 2nd time offenders have to go through.

I read an article some time back that someone is developing a 'spitalyzer' to test for other substances. I think it is like a breathalyzer, but instead a person spits into it and light is refracted through the spit onto a plate and a laser reads the color of the light reflected and it tells what substances are in the persons body.

I think with an observed field test though it will be necessary to determine these things, because, if someone has done a substance for twenty years it will effect them differently than one who only began doing it that day.

Unlike alcohol it will be much harder to set a standard limit that fits all. Actually, even with alcohol each person is affected differently, myself I never drink, so 2 or 3 beers would put me into a drunk state, where the town drunk may need a 12 pack to get to the same level. But the level is then readable no matter how much it took to get there.

Another issue law enforcement is going to have to deal with is that unlike alcohol other substances metabolize into different chemicals in the body that stay in the body even after the effect of the drug has worn off and that is what the test would be reading. With alcohol it is measured as BAC or blood alcohol content. With marijuana for instance the only thing that can be determinied is if there are metabolites in the body, which stay in the body for some people over 30 days. So if someone smoked or injested mj on nov 1st, the measure of meatabolites would still be there on nov 30th. Yet the effects would have worn off 29 days and 23 +/-hours previous to the test.

A marijuana case actually made it to the MI supreme court. The supreme court determined that a person could not be charged with dui for marijuana by a blood or urine test because it isn't measuring 'Blood mj Content'.
Or something similiar, not sure of the wording.
Some company will be very wealthy when they can patent a machine that can measure actual active MJ (and any other drug excluding alcohol) actually in the system and not just the residual chemicals the body creates in processing it.

Hmm.time to become an inventor.

And....What is it about the ego and pride that prevent people from recognizing that they are to intoxicated, from whatever(but esp. alcohol) to drive.

Seems our country needs a paradigm shift to move to more responsible behavior.
Interesting material, Sheila, I wish you luck (and may donate spare munchies) in any research you conduct for this valuable public service.

After I posted this thread, I found among some sources that there has already been some questions as to who is to pay for the breathalyzer-ignition installation for a 'poor' offender's car, and a host of other conditional problems the new law brings into existance. These will have to be figured out, but as far as drunk driving goes, I am all for draconian laws to keep the large amounts of innocent people who get killed by drunk drivers (which I almost was) alive.
While laid up, I saw on a news show that in states where that is already in place, the offender pays $100 and up for the system plus rental and installation. Then as they are driving they have to puff into the thing every 20 minutes.

Get the drugged, multi taskers, sleepy drivers off the roads especially those on prescription drugs. Maybe they should make it a law that in order to get some of those prescriptions, the patient has to turn over their driver's license or have a bumper sticker placed on their car proclaiming they are at risk of slowed reaction time. Especially most pain meds and psychotropic meds for starters. Then theres the combining prescriptions with over counter meds that affect driving judgment.

Everyone who wants to drive safely, check with your pharmacists about drug interaction if you plan to take any of those cold, sinus or allergy medications.
I agree with the new law. Diminished capacity is for a condition not controlled by a defendent. if a person cotinues to voluntarily drink until "super drunk" It was their choice. I don't feel sorry for any of these idiots who get behind the wheel and jeopardize the lives of others. I know people whose lives were destroyed by drunk drivers. I have no patience or pity for those that drive when they are drunk.
I believe that the drunk drivers are not as much of a problems any more. I think a greater and rapidly growing problem is drivers who drive and
1) are taking prescription medications that affect their response time or encourage them to drive more recklessly.
2) drivers who are multi- tasking as they drive. I tried the reading text and driving experiment. If you have your phone low, there is no way you will get caught but you do take your eyes of the road longer.
3) Sleepy drivers...Too many cram too much into their day and drive sleepy. They are more dangerous than drunk drivers cause the drunk driver uses some caution to avoid getting stopped.
4) Drivers who get into the car angry or upset. Road rage ensues.

That's my opinion and I'm stuck with it.
I like having my kid in the car, at 9 she can do all my texting and any phone calls so I don't while driving.

Although, sometimes she can be a bigger distraction than anything. mom, mom, mom, look, look, look, look over there!!!!

shh kid, can't you see I am trying to drive!

Oh X, I don't smoke anymore, not since roughly 1999. Although, I do believe in the med mj for those who need it.
Masonco, I'm glad someone here can see beyond the DD issues that also warrant our closer inspection and need new laws to offset the deaths on our highways. Btw, Sheila, there is a new machine to test mj use and/or abuse while driving. I think it was Australia or other far away country that claims to have perfected it. The USLE community is importing it and testing it in labs and the field to see if it will be a required tool for such cases.
Back in the early 80's when I worked at a large hospital far far away from here, we constantly had patients injured from auto accident going through withdrawal from prescription meds, drugs, on their way home from work & falling asleep at the wheel. We had more of them and their victims than victims from drunk driving. (Usually the drunk driver is so relaxed he's not injured as badly).

That hospital was a research hospital so data was kept but never revealed until the last few years.


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