Friday, October 28, 2005

LAW: Tools To Keep America's Roads Safe/ Or Tools Of The New Prohibition

In my sometimes relentless efforts I began to wonder why the legal community could allow such devices to be used,especially as evidence,and to my surprise learned of the politcal pressures implied on states.The pressure is the result of activist groups such as MADD, and NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) who have created a new term to doctor actual statistics and make the devices and lower legal limits seem legitimate.The term "alcohol related fatality" is commonly misinterpeted as an actual drunk driving fatality.For example:Two sober drivers crash,one car has an intoxicated passenger,both drivers are killed,two "alcohol related" fatalities.A sober driver hits and kills an intoxicated pedestrian,"alcohol related" fatality.If both deceased,two alcohol related deaths, yet the drivers in these accidents had not been drinking.Although these are just examples,NHTSA admits to this and calls it ART: Here are the 2002 facts with numbers from the NHTSA FARS database: Of the* 57,803 drivers involved in errors that became part of a fatal accident -
46,322 drivers were alcohol free: 80.1%.
1225 drivers had BACs of .01-.07: 2.1%.
6831 drivers at or over BAC of .08: 11.8%
The numbers do not add up to 100% because drug impaired drivers are not included.
The over .o8 group may appear to be the problem group but further research shows that
5146 drivers with BAC over .14: 8.9%
488 drivers with a BAC of .08 to .09: .8% less than 1%
544 drivers with a BAC of .10 to .11: .9% less than 1% and
643 drivers with a BAC of .12 to .13: 1.1%

*NOTE-drivers involved in errors that became part of a fatal accident = the driver may have survived,was the BAC determined with breath test machines?There is also a note on the NHTSA FARS website:Note: NHTSA estimates alcohol involvement when alcohol test results are unknown.
There are more drivers involved in fatal accidents in the .01-.07 group than there are in the .08-.11 group but little twists in the numbers,and terms like "alcohol related" are obfuscations they use in an attempt to justify unconstitutional practices,lowering legal limits,and using these non-specific devices to determine ones BAC and convicting on it.
Fact is you are more likely to be involved in a drug related fatal accident than one with a driver who's BAC is between .01 and .13.One of MADD's most unlikely critics, is its founder, Candace Lightner. She says MADD has turned into a "neo-prohibitionist" organization that has lost its focus on safety. "I thought the emphasis on .08 laws was not where the emphasis should have been placed," she said. "The majority of crashes occur with high blood-alcohol levels, the .15, .18 and .25 drinkers. Lowering the blood-alcohol concentration was not a solution to the alcohol problem." In fact,the statistics prove Candace Lightner right.The following report is an example of the political pressure states endure due to this so-called ART,and may help answer the question,"How can the legal community allow such devices to be used,especially as evidence,and convict on them solely despite their potential rate of error?
Highway safety regulators in 1998 called on states to lower the allowable blood- alcohol level for drivers to 0.08%, or risk losing millions of dollars in federal highway grants. The majority of the states have con-formed, but 17 states— from Minnesota to South Carolina and Nevada to Delaware— have rejected the approach and maintain laws that define drunk driving at 0.10% blood- alcohol. Though no one defends drunk drivers or suggests abandoning the campaign against them, the states say feder-al officials have not shown that 0.08% laws save lives. Critics say the tougher laws weaken the emphasis on catching hard- core drunks who cause the most deadly crashes and saddle states with the costs of prosecuting tens of thou-sands of additional violators. "I don'think there would be one person saved by a .08 law," said Tom Rukavina, a Minnesota legislator representing the state's Iron Range, a sparsely populated region west of Lake Superior. "All we would have is more arrests. Almost every court case up here already involves drunk driving." Rukavina estimates that a 0.08% law would result in 6,000 additional criminal arrests costing the state about $60 million, outweighing the potential loss of federal highway funding. Nevada legislators have voted down 0.08% laws repeatedly for similar reasons, said Bernie Anderson, chairman of the state Assembly Judiciary Committee.The federal-state standoff reflects broader controversies about the nation's campaign against drunk driving. Some safety experts express frustration that the campaign against drunk driving has become such a politically powerful force that many safety issues involving roads, car standards and driver behavior are left in the shadows. They say the dimensions of the drunk driving problem also may be misrepresented by complex government statistics. Federal officials reject the criticism, asserting that 0.08% laws save lives and that the statistics showing that 40% of highway deaths involve alcohol do not exaggerate the problem.
Here are some stats for the Federal officials,
"Alcohol-related occupant fatalities [in 2002]—up a total of 3%, and it’s all coming
out of the high-BAC data source. In fact, it’s high BAC despite the reduction of
low BACs."3
Dr. Jeffrey Michael, Director of Impaired Driving & Occupant Protection Division
of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

"The average driver involved in a fatal crash is at .16, about double the legal limit."14
Dr. Jeffrey Michael, NHTSA

"A 1999 report by Congress’ General Accounting Office found no definitive evidence
that the 0.08 standard, by itself, cuts down on alcohol-related crashes."17
The Chicago Tribune, January 2003

"None of the fatal accident series produced any evidence of a decrease associated
with the 0.08% legislation."19
California Department of Motor Vehicles

The "conclusion that 500 to 600 fewer fatal crashes would occur annually if all
states had .08 BAC laws is unfounded."21
United States General Accounting Office

"In 90 per cent of cases the people involved in drinking and driving fatalities are
two or three times over the current legal limit. And lowering the legal BAC limit a
few points is certainly not going to change the behaviour of chronic offenders—the
one per cent of drivers who tend to be alcoholics and responsible for a disproportionate
number of road crashes, injuries and deaths. All this will do is
criminalize social drinkers."24
Emile Therien, president of the Canadian Safety Council

In light of recent research,I have found these examples of how the influence of MADD is more prohibition than a legitimate expressed concern for public safety:¬Found=true

Not to mention the people arrested in an inoperable vehicle,on horse back and one case a woman in her wheel chair.These can be found at the unconstitution link where I found a story of a man charged with DUI on a riding mower,I am no genius,but I'd bet the chances of being struck by lightning are greater than being involved in an "ALCOHOL RELATED" fatal accident with a lawn mower.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

endless number of these wonderful finds, what with the Internet being a vast network of constantly evolving ideas and all!

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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4:28 PM  

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