A Constructive Solution to Drunk Driving

As penance for my somewhat snarky post about the danger to liberty of allowing parents to vote, allow me to offer a constructive solution to the problem: Let's make people face the consequences of their actions.

The situation we're in with regards to BAC limits, cellphone restrictions, etc, is caused directly by the fact that people who do kill others (or in fact, cause any harm) in car accidents are rarely made to fact the actual consequences of their actions. The law has this nebulous thing called "intent" which is hard to prove and when it does not exist or cannot be shown, penalties are reduced.

So here's a thought: if somebody kills somebody else and it's their fault and a reasonable person could have seen that there was a reasonable possibility of such occurring as a result of their actions, the penalty should be no different than if the person intended the death to occur. That's right. If you kill someone because you were dialing your phone while driving down the freeway, you get charged with *voluntary* manslaughter, on top of any wrongful death lawsuits you may be slapped with.

Note that I'm not saying that drunk driving should be legalized, any more than shooting in my direction should be legal as long as I don't actually get hit. Cops should still be able to pull over people who obviously shouldn't be driving, but the test should be a videotaped sobriety test that tests skills that are actually related to driving. Breathalyzers and sobriety checkpoints should be outlawed; actual blood alcohol content should only be a defense, though IMHO if someone fails a physical sobriety test in a way that can be shown to affect driving and can't give a reason why (i.e. left leg shorter than right making it hard to walk a line), it should be assumed that they were incapable of driving safely anyway.

The biggest problem with this solution would probably be that most people can imagine themselves accidentally killing someone in a car accident, and most of us don't want to take the risk of going on trial for murder just because we drive a car. But isn't someone who drives dangerously in fact a wanna-be murderer?

The other problem is that it's hard to prove fault in an accident, much less whether a reasonable person could have foreseen the possibility. However, technology for reconstructing accidents has improved significantly in recent years. It might even be reasonable to require black boxes in cars providing that they are only used in establishing actual fault and "pseudo-intent" rather than presumed guilt based on other laws that were being violated.

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