Saturday, November 01, 2008

Drunk Driving

The core of this post is taken from an email conversation I had with someone a while back. I got to thinking about those police-state abominations called "checkpoints" and decided I should put this out there for all to see.

The problem isn't driving with a blood-alcohol content ("BAC") of a certain level, but causing harm by driving when you are "impaired". Impairment can come in many forms, not just alcohol or chemical related, but emotional, physiological, distractions, and other "problems". A "standard" BAC is not possible or reasonable. Anyone who causes damage, injuries, or death for any reason should be held accountable. Punishing people for potentially causing harm isn't good, not even if you think they are likely to cause harm.

That is how the anti-gun crowd operates. The fact that other people do bad things is no excuse to violate my rights in even the slightest way.

I think that someone who knows they have a drinking problem might, when they are sober, choose to install an ignition breathalyzer to prevent ruining their own lives. Especially if their insurance company (the only ones who should set any such standards anyway) were to give a discount for it. I also envision car companies in a free society making more crashproof cars and offering different options to defend against accidents. Would people be willing to pay the extra amount? I don't know. The thing is the cost should be borne by the ones who wish to pay it, and not by the ones who don't. As it is, we ALL pay the price for everyone else's stupidity, both real and potential.

Why couldn't cops, if they must get involved, simply help the drunks get home instead of turning it into an opportunity to shove someone around, kidnap them, and rob them? Is it a "power thing"?

Many people today hate insurance companies, and don't want them having anything to do with driving. I think the biggest problem with insurance companies comes from the state requiring insurance. If they had to compete for your business, other than just assuming you have to pick someone, I think they would be much more innovative and helpful in their dealings with customers. They would have much more leeway in what behaviors they penalized and rewarded. Some things obviously increase their financial risk, and that is why they would reasonably charge more for someone who doesn't wear a seatbelt. However, you might have such a good driving record that it would more than offset their risk and cause them to give you a discount. I don't really know what all might happen.... BUT, in a FREE market you would probably pay a tiny fraction of your current expense no matter what. That is the effect of eliminating the monopoly.

I would pay more for a car with active collision avoidance technology. Even though I don't drink. I have almost fallen asleep at the wheel too many times. That would also help pedestrians who would otherwise be in danger of being run down by drunk drivers. That is part of what I mean by "crash proof". I am also thinking that there are other ways of protecting the occupants and other vehicles that haven't been implemented yet. I wouldn't mind having a car that could drive itself as long as I could override that option if I wanted to. I have issues with letting others have control (even a machine).

As always, I am sure these are not the only solutions to the problem, since the market is more responsive, and people are much more clever, than is usually recognized. If a problem exists, it can be solved without violating rights. Once again, government is NOT the solution.

Added: Eric Sundwall posted this link in the Haloscan comments and I think it needs to be read: Legalize Drunk Driving.