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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I have been having Hubby do the same thing since he hadn't been driving since his heart attack end of August. Tomorrow I have to let him drive himself b/c I can't drive for another week. Well I did have someone call to offer to pick him up, but I think (crossing fingers) he'll be OK now.
Well said Masonco, old saying had it that God protects the drunks, somehow, sad, but true more times than not. I believe, or want to believe, the harsh crackdown on DD nationwide the last 30 years, has made it almost impossible for DD to continue to increase, whereas, I think it has decreased significantly. I think your real life experiences say a lot, and the Michigan Legislature should have looked and listened to more informed people that deal with this everyday in the health care field, instead of just a knee-jerk reaction with this new law. Btw, I see where they were talking about first offenders, these are not the ones that this law should concentrate on imho, it's the repeat offenders that are the most dangerous ones out there, the ones that ignore the mistakes of the past, and light sentences, if you can pay huge fines.
Sleepy driver article about how sleepy drivers cause 16.5% of crashes. That sounds about right. It took over 20 years to tell people?
Good post again masonco. It would seem that the press and politicos want ALL the information disseminated in a way that protects and defends the sameo legislative objectives and end-results, that of, hey, we're watching out for ya in the DD field, while ignoring the TRUE FACTS AND STATISTICS on this issue. Way far more abusive, and curious to the objective mind, at least imho. DD is serious, as well as the other non-revealed factors that cause death on our Michigan highways. The other related issues on highways accidents and deaths need a lot more probing. JMO
Funny, I've never fallen asleep while I've been riding my bicycle. I think I must have some sort of automatic shutoff system or something for my engine if I fall asleep ; )

BTW, the 70 miles I rode in total on the last two beautiful days put me above 5000 miles ridden on my bicycle this year.
The problem of drivers falling asleep at the wheel is mainly a highway related problem and the majority of the drivers who fall asleep and cause accidents are truckers. Ask any trucker how many times they have dozed off and almost all of them will tell you they indeed have slept at the wheel. A great, great uncle of mine used to drive truck between Detroit and Chicago back in the early 1900's when all the roads were 2 lane. He said he used to hold a lit cigarette between his fingers and if he fell asleep the hot ember would wake him up. I drove over the road for 4 years and I had a few close calls myself with falling asleep at the wheel. Many times at night you don't need to be sleepy to loose focus on the road. There is a phenomenon that causes drivers to be almost hypnotized by the passing of the center line in front of them.
Quite right RJE, I too, have had that highway hypnosis happen to me on very long drives too. And witnessed all too many truckers I suspected of it too. What Legislators might have rather had as far as a save lives law, is just a stiffer "habitual repeat offender" law, one that comes down hard and forever on DD's and other repeat moving offenses. The LDN just posted an article where a man who killed another in a DD accident got 2-15 but will only serve about 2-1/2 years prison and fines. He's also a repeater that needed stopping long ago, but he was also pretty young yet too. JMO
I'm all for that, Aq. If they didn't learn the first time they got caught drunk driving, make the second offense's punishment include a lifetime ban on any driving. This would save a lot more lives than this just plain redundant 'super drunk' law. When someone has shown a complete disregard for their driving duties repeatedly, they need to lose that right.

Drowsy drivers are also a serious problem, and I wish we could get a concerted media effort to remind drivers the dangers of highway hypnosis and driving while dead tired. Of course, the officials will want laws to enforce alertness, and eventually burden us by discerning between being tired and 'supertired'. Oy vay.
I thought the sentence was very low myself. But could the lawyers bring in the history of accidents or arrests to show repeat status? Again if there were laws on the books to include sleepy driving as a cause of harm or injury, then they could have pressed harder sentencing. But they ignore the fact sleepy driving cause serious accidents.

I feel our congress should pass laws raising penalties for sleepy driving along with impaired driving from prescription or other drugs.

Why didn't they ever test the kid for drugs in his system--legal and illegal? It angered me that the defense used the excuse overtired and fell asleep as if that made him innocent. Good grief....he killed someone. That should be manslaughter with a minimum of 20 years. Domestic assault or abuse without injury brings a longer sentence than this kid got.


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