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Driving Under The Influence / Distracted Driving
a public service of Net4TruthUSA


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Twenty seven people die in car crashes in the United States every day[1], and every 90 seconds[2] someone is injured at the hands of those who operate motor vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (statistics source: MADD [3]), and increasingly under the influence of numerous distractions such as texting on their cell phones [4], or dialing them while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. Drivers with a BAC[5] of 0.10% are 6 to 12 times more likely to get into a fatal crash or injury than drivers with 0% BAC.

 

To make matters worse, car manufacturers keep adding distractions such as cheap versions of Tablet PCs in the middle of the dashboard. Now, instead of reaching for a button or a knob whose location you come to know instinctively without taking your eyes off the road, you have to take your eyes off the road to operate a touch screen. In April 2015, Chevrolet just announced the "innovation" of 4G-LTE WiFi in their new cars. The woman in the ad says something to the effect of "... it's a dream to have WiFi in the car...." ANOTHER bit of unnecessary technology to distract a driver from his or her ONLY FUNCTION behind the wheel: DRIVING THE CAR!!

 

In an attempt to compensate for the decreased attention the driver should be paying to the task of driving safely, several high-end car manufacturers have added “collision avoidance systems[6], some of which even take over the brakes if the car approaches a vehicle or obstacle ahead too fast. Not for nothing, I personally wouldn’t have such a car, even if they GAVE it to me (if they did, I’d sell it and buy a custom-made Jeep).

 

Alcoholism is officially classified as a genetically inherited "disease" (which it most certainly is not [7]) thanks to organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous [8], it appears that courts all over the country – no matter how strict the laws – continue to allow drivers convicted of DUI offenses to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle AGAIN, with restrictions such as ignition locks and enrollment in "therapy" programs, giving them another chance to kill or maim.

 

Blindness is also a "disease"; but no one in their right mind would advocate issuing driver's licenses to someone who can't see their hand in front of their face, or to allow them behind the wheel after they’ve caused an injury or death. Alcoholics are considered to be incurable, and "in recovery" even if they've been sober for twenty years. I personally believe that even the worst addictions can be cured. However, once that person, who while sober, elects to get drunk and then "drive home", demonstrates that the rational process that should be present in the mind of the alcoholic BEFORE he / she gets shit-faced drunk; that is, the moral and rational resolve NOT to take a car to a bar with the intention of driving it home – that mental process is lacking, and it proves beyond reasonable doubt, that this person is a sociopath while sober, who then goes out and gets twisted. Because such a person is a sociopath, they could care less about the lives they will endanger when they take the wheel, whether they are impaired or not, but orders of magnitude less when they are intoxicated.

 

I am of the belief that there is no such thing as an "accident"; at least true accidents are in reality, very few and far-between.

 

An accident IS when a 500 pound facing stone falls from an overpass and crashes through your hood.

 

An accident IS when an 18-wheeler hits a pothole and loses two of his rear tires just as you're passing, and the steel-belted rubber ends up in your back seat.

 

An accident IS when a small meteorite slams into the road ahead of you, and your car ends up in the crater because even the anti-lock brakes and "collision avoidance system" couldn't stop you in time.

 

THOSE are accidents!

 

An "accident" IS NOT what happens when someone gets behind the wheel drunk or stoned, and ends up driving north in a southbound lane, weaving around across 4 lanes at 80MPH until he crashes head-on into a car carrying 2 adults and 3 children and kills them all, while he staggers away without a scratch, not even knowing what the fuck just happened. THAT, my friend, is depraved indifference VEHICULAR HOMICIDE, and the perpetrator needs to be locked up for the rest of his natural life.

 

An "accident" IS NOT what happens when your teenage daughter who is afflicted with Smart Phone Addiction (aka "nomophobia"), gets behind the wheel of her car while text-chatting with her boyfriend all the way to his house.... only she never gets there because her distraction caused her to run a red light and got T-boned by a gasoline truck which jackknifed, turned on its side, and burned her and six other people to a crisp.

 

Fatal collisions caused by drunk drivers are quickly being outpaced by those related to the disease that is the addiction to the intractable dependency on "Smart" phones. Manufacturers of these devices need to disable texting and gaming on these devices when the devices are in motion. Sprint and AT&T have an App that disables incoming calls and texting while a vehicle is in motion. This App needs to be made a PERMANENT part of a cell phone's Operating System, so that it cannot be disabled or un-installed.

 

The Federal Government has urged car manufacturers to design their dashboards to disable texting and Tweeting. It isn't likely that carmakers will heed the call; they are too devoted to their bottom line by providing all the latest techno-shit imaginable, that people in their insatiable vanity, must have.

 

I propose to the reader that the problem with DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and other forms of DWI (Driving While Impaired) is NOT related to addiction to a substance, but in fact a form of SOCIOPATHIC behavior which is, in fact, intractable [9]. A person who goes out drinking with the intention of getting drunk, or takes illegal drugs with the intention of getting high, who then gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle is committing a crime in every State in the Country. The problem persists not because of the intractability of the (alcoholism) “disease” or addiction, but because of the underlying psychological makeup of the offender.

 

Anyone who drives drunk is a SOCIOPATH by definition: "a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience"[10]. The alcohol or drugs is merely a form of self-medication to relieve the person of the last remnants of the last shadows of inhibition provided by a defective moral conscience. The intractability of the addiction is due to the fact that the intoxicating substance removes the sense of responsibility for one's actions while acting as an uninhibited sociopath.

 

In other words, someone who drives drunk or while stoned on drugs, does so because he or she doesn't care about their own life, and could give even less of a rat's ass about yours or mine. Such a person does not belong behind the wheel under ANY circumstances. Given the fact that alcoholism is intractable, I am for similarly intractable sanctions against convicted drunk drivers.

 

Technology in a car cannot substitute for skills and vigilance of a trained, alert, and vigilant driver; more useless crap to fiddle with contributes to the distractions that result in fatal collisions. Indeed, the distractions of modern technology – particularly cell phones – is contributing to vehicular fatalities, and I have a solution for that problem as well.

 

Unlike the rest of us who drive responsibly, and have taken driver safety courses [11] to improve our skills, no amount of “training” will cure a sociopath, or make him safe behind the wheel. I reiterate the proposal that regardless of whether or not alcoholism is, in fact an intractable condition, the mere act of deciding (while sober) to drink and drive, fully cognizant of the risk involved, is irrefutable evidence of an attitude of “depraved indifference[12], if not full-blown sociopathy. Sociopaths belong in mental institutions, and if they have committed a crime, they belong in prison.

 

In a court of law, the prosecution must show that the defendant caused an injury or death by knowingly engaging in conduct that created a grave risk of injury or death. This is precisely what a “drunk driver” does when he is home and sober, then takes his car to the local pub, gets shit-faced drunk, and then gets back in the car to drive home.

 

How “shit-faced” you have to be to be legally DUI varies from State to State, but it is reckless nonetheless. Prosecutors can use the depraved indifference statute to enhance what would otherwise be a manslaughter charge to murder. Manslaughter often requires only a showing of recklessness. In my opinion, causing the death of a person while DUI (legally so or not), is depraved indifference murder, and should be treated accordingly at sentencing upon conviction.

 

I PROPOSE THAT FIRST DUI / DWI OFFENSES BE CRIMINALIZED UNDER A UNIFORM FEDERAL STATUTE

NO PLEA AGREEMENTS for DUI offenses. Upon conviction at trial, MANDATORY penalties for FIRST OFFENSE would include:

o    PERMANENT LIFETIME loss of driver's license.
o    PERMANENT ban of employment as train / trolley / ferry operator with forfeiture of pension.
o    CONFISCATION of all vehicles registered to the offender.
o    CONFISCATION of any motor vehicles registered to members of his / her immediate family
[13].
o    LIFETIME ban on ownership / registration of ANY motor vehicle or motorized conveyance (including airplanes and boats)
o    MANDATORY prison term of 20 YEARS without the possibility of parole.
o    MANDATORY fine of $50,000.
o    Restoration to victims for "actual and reasonable" property loss.
o    AUTOMATIC summary judgment in civil lawsuit by injured / deceased victims
[14].
o    DEATH caused by driving intoxicated to be a B-Felony VEHICULAR HOMICIDE - LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE.

 

The current penalties are insufficient as deterrents, because even after DUI convictions, thousands of these sociopaths are allowed behind the wheel of a 2-ton vehicle, which under their control is an undiscriminating lethal weapon. The FIRST DUI conviction should serve to PERMANENTLY and IRREVOCABLY bar that person from EVER getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle FOR LIFE, and if that person is subsequently caught driving, he or she should be incarcerated for the rest of his natural life, and the entirety of his personal assets should be seized to pay compensation to DUI victims in a national fund “pool”.

 

The case for a FEDERAL law to deal with DUI convictions can be made by the passage of a NATIONAL “implied consent law[15].

 

Some advocates of leniency in DUI cases may argue that these drunk-driving sociopaths be given the opportunity to “reform”. I say that the proof of that reformation should not come at the price of another life, or crippling injury to innocent people who are driving responsibly, and that the “defective wiring” in a sociopath’s brain, while not necessarily their fault, cannot be repaired, and therefore, keeping such a person from endangering himself and others is no more “discrimination” than refusing to issue a pilot’s license to a paraplegic.

 

Drunk / Stoned drivers – especially repeat offenders – are insane, not sick, and should be civilly committed. In no case should they be given another opportunity to pilot a 2-ton missile down the public streets and highways.

 

Any judge who does NOT impose the MAXIMUM penalties for DUI should be driven from the bench by the voters.

 

Any judge who allows a DUI convict back out on the road (especially after a second or subsequent conviction), should NOT be above the law,[16] and should be charged as an accomplice and co-defendant if that drunk driver causes any injury or death while committing subsequent DUI offenses.

 

TO ELIMINATE “DRIVING WHILE TEXTING” the FCC [17] should mandate that by January 2014, all cellular carriers develop code for their Core Operating Systems that “hooks-in” to the phone’s GPS capability (which is always “on”), and would disable texting / Tweeting capability if the phone is moving more than 2 miles per hour, and re-enables the capability once the phone drops below that speed. The software update to the Operating System would be mandatory, and any phone that did not download the update would cease to function entirely. Of course, this would also disable texting of all phones in a moving car, even the ones operated by passengers. So be it. The driver can be distracted by passenger’s texting as well. Third-Party Operating Systems (such as CleanROM, et al) would have to be able to use this code as well, so the code would have to be made accessible by Third-Party developers, but secure enough so that it cannot be “hacked”, or made part of the phone’s permanent ROM [18].

 

Some of you may be wondering what would be my opinion of CB / HAM Radio operation by drivers. I am a HAM Radio operator (call sign: WB2-ANR) since 1969, and was a CB Radio operator before that. I’ve had both rigs in most of my vehicles. Thousands of long-haul truckers use CB radios, and there is no evidence that use of this equipment causes anything but a few accidents per year.

 

When you operate a CB or HAM radio, you reach for a microphone without taking your eyes off the road, because you know where it is. You don’t have to dial any numbers, and you don’t have to navigate through a touch-screen. You don’t have to keep looking down at a screen to see if your typing is accurate, and you don’t need one hand to hold the microphone and the other hand to push the ‘push-to-talk’ button; one hand is all that is required. If you need your microphone hand suddenly, you can drop the microphone; it won’t break.

 

When you’re texting on a phone, you must constantly avert your eyes from the road to look at the screen to make sure you’re not typing dp,ryjomh yjsy vsm nr imfrtdyppf’.[19] Many times you need two hands, so you steer with your knees. If you lose your grip on the thing you’re likely to try to catch it because you know there is a good chance you’ll end up with a cracked screen if it hits the console, or the brake lever, or the shift knob. There is no comparison.

 

While we are on the subject of distractions here, I have to mention that the sounds of traffic – and the driver’s ability to hear them – is part of the skill set of a safe driver. While it is legal to drive even if you’re stone-cold-deaf, being able to hear and react to sounds such as honking horns, police and ambulance sirens, and screeching tires and being able to react to them, is definitely an advantage to a defensive driver. Wearing earbuds while driving is against the law in many States, and is patently idiotic. Playing a stereo so loud that it can be heard ¼ mile away is not only a distraction to the driver; it is a distraction to other drivers in addition to being noise pollution.

 

PLAYING A CAR STEREO THAT CAN BE HEARD MORE THAN 100 FEET AWAY SHOULD BE OUTLAWED, AND A FINE OF $1,000 PLUS 3 POINTS, PLUS CHARGING THE DRIVER WITH LOCAL ‘DISTURBING THE PEACE’ ORDINANCES IF THE OFFENSE OCCURRED IN A POPULATED AREA WOULD BE APPROPRIATE. SUBSEQUENT OFFENSES WOULD CARRY 30 DAYS IN JAIL, AND DOUBLING OF THE FINE. CHRONIC OFFENDERS SHOULD GO TO PRISON.

 

In closing: a bit of levity:

DISTRACTED DRIVING DENIAL II (enhanced for presentation here)

Original from: " ÐIÊN CÁI ÐÂ`U EXPRESS"

 

This morning before I got on the Interstate I stopped for a cup of coffee at the 7-11. As soon as I merged into traffic, I looked over to my left, and there was a woman in a brand new Cadillac with the dealer sticker still on the rear window, doing 65 mph with her face up next to the rear-view mirror tweezing her eyebrows and putting on her eyeliner.

 

I looked away for a couple seconds.... to continue shaving, and then took a bite of my jelly donut and a sip of coffee. When I looked back in her direction, she was halfway over in my lane, still working on that makeup, and not paying attention to the road.

 

As a man, I don't scare easily. But her bad driving scared me so much that I needed a cigarette. I had to stop steering with my knee and put on my seat belt as I lit the cigarette with my other hand. As I clicked the belt, I dropped my electric shaver, which knocked the jelly donut out of my other hand, which fell on the floor on the passenger side.

 

I bent over to grab it before it stuck to the carpet, and burned a hole in the leather passenger seat with the cigarette in my mouth. In all the confusion of trying to straighten out the car, using my knees against the steering wheel, my Cell phone that I was holding against my ear with my left shoulder, fell into the coffee I was holding between my legs, and it splashed, burned Big Jim and the Twins, ruined the damn phone, soaked my trousers, stained the carpet, and disconnected an important call to my pot dealer as my car went into a ditch and tore the muffler and catalytic converter clean off. Needless to say, the oblivious bitch just kept on driving as if nothing happened, just as the squad car pulled in beside me with the ‘bubble-gum’ machine and siren on.

Damn women drivers!


FOOTNOTES


[1] That is 2,555 dead people per year.

[2] That is 86,400 a day, and 31,536,000 injuries a year.

[5] BAC – Blood Alcohol Content.

[8] Alcoholics Anonymous - http://www.aa.org

[9] Intractable – Merriam Webster – “not easily governed, managed, or directed” - http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intractable

[13] A sociopath will find a way to drive again; ‘borrowing’ the vehicle of a family member that does not have an ignition lockout device. See: Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignition_interlock_device

[14] Why put victims through the trauma of a trial requiring proof ‘by preponderance of evidence’ where guilt has already been established by the higher standard of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’?

[17] FCC – Federal Communications Commission

[18] ROM – Read Only Memory.

[19] These letters are the right-adjacent keys to ‘something that can be understood

 

 

 

BAC LIMITS BY STATE

State

Per-se BAC Level

Zero Tolerance
BAC Level

Enhanced
Penalty
BAC Level*

Alabama DUI

0.08

0.02

0.15

Alaska DUI

0.08

N/A

0.15

Arizona DUI

0.08

N/A

0.15

Arkansas DWI

0.08

0.02

0.15

California DUI

0.08

0.01

0.15

Colorado DUI

0.08

0.02

0.17

Connecticut OWI

0.08

0.02

0.16

Delaware DUI

0.08

0.02

0.16

DC DUI

0.08

N/A

0.20

Florida DUI

0.08

0.02

0.20

Georgia DUI

0.08

0.02

0.15

Hawaii DUI

0.08

0.02

N/A

Idaho DUI

0.08

0.02

0.20

Illinois DUI

0.08

N/A

0.16

Indiana DUI

0.08

0.02

0.15

Iowa OWI

0.08

0.02

0.15

Kansas DUI

0.08

0.02

0.15

Kentucky DUI

0.08

0.02

0.18

Louisiana DWI

0.08

0.02

0.15

Maine OUI

0.08

N/A

0.15

Maryland DUI

0.08

N/A

0.15

Massachusetts OUI

0.08

0.02

0.20

Michigan DWI

0.08

N/A

0.17

Minnesota DWI

0.08

N/A

0.20

Mississippi DUI

0.08

0.02

N/A

Missouri DWI

0.08

0.02

0.15

Montana DUI

0.08

0.02

0.16

Nebraska DUI

0.08

0.02

0.18

Nevada DUI

0.08

0.02

0.18

New Hampshire DUI

0.08

0.02

0.16

New Jersey DWI

0.08

0.01

0.15

New Mexico DUI

0.08

0.02

0.16

New York DWI

0.08

0.02

0.18

North Carolina DWI

0.08

N/A

0.16

North Dakota DUI

0.08

0.02

0.18

Ohio DUI

0.08

0.02

0.17

Oklahoma DUI

0.08

N/A

0.15

Oregon DUI

0.08

N/A

0.15

Pennsylvania DUI

0.08

N/A

0.16

Rhode Island DUI

0.08

0.02

0.15

South Carolina DUI

0.08

0.02

0.15

South Dakota DUI

0.08

0.02

0.17

Tennessee DUI

0.08

0.02

0.20

Texas DWI

0.08

N/A

0.15

Utah DUI

0.08

N/A

0.16

Vermont OWI

0.08

0.02

0.16

Virginia DUI

0.08

0.02

0.15

Washington DUI

0.08

0.02

0.15

West Virginia DUI

0.08

0.02

0.15

Wisconsin DUI

0.08

N/A

0.17

Wyoming DUI

0.08

0.02

0.15


*N/A - No specific enhanced penalty statute.

 

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