Another example of the Feds strong-arming States,plus check out the pork : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Clinton Signs Drunken Driving Bill

10:58 AM ET October 23, 2000 By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Clinton, after a three-year struggle with Congress, signed a bill Monday that would set a tough national standard for drunken driving and, according to proponents, prevent 500 highway deaths a year.

"For me this is a very good day for the United States," the president said. He said the measure was "the biggest step to toughen drunk driving laws and reduce alcohol-related crashes since the national minimum drinking age was established a generation ago."

The new law requires states to implement a 0.08 percent blood alcohol content standard as the legal level for drunken driving by 2004. States that fail to impose that standard would begin losing millions of dollars a year in federal highway funds.

The provision was tucked into a compromise $58 billion transportation spending bill that was stuffed with pre-election highway, mass transit and aviation projects for every state.

Clinton said the 0.08 standard was a "common-sense nationwide limit" that will save an estimated 500 lives a year and prevent thousands of injuries.

A 170-pound man could consume approximately four drinks in an hour on an empty stomach before reaching 0.08 limit, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics cited by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. A 137-pound woman could have three drinks in an hour before reaching 0.08.

The president was joined in a Rose Garden ceremony by Millie Webb, national president of MADD, Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., and representatives of highway safety, civic and health organizations.

Opponents of the 0.08 standard, including the restaurant and alcohol industries, say the measure would penalize social drinkers while ignoring the bigger problem of repeat offenders who drink heavily.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia already have 0.08 laws, and in Massachusetts a level of 0.08 is considered evidence but not proof of impairment. Thirty-one states define drunken driving as 0.10 percent blood alcohol content.

In 1999, 15,786 traffic deaths were attributed to drunken driving, including more than 2,200 children.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving cites studies showing that a driver with 0.08 blood alcohol content is 11 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision than a sober driver.

The transportation bill's overwhelming passage was fueled by its scores of road, mass transit and aviation projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars for districts from coast to coast.

To accommodate that, the measure was $7.3 billion higher than last year's level, $3.3 billion more than Clinton requested and nearly $3 billion larger than earlier versions passed by the House and Senate.

That made room for $1.97 billion for specific highway projects that neither the Senate or House had approved earlier, including $600 million for a federally owned Potomac River bridge outside Washington, D.C.

There were also separate $100 million projects for West Virginia, Alabama and Mississippi - home states, respectively, of Sen. Robert Byrd, top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee; GOP Sen. Richard Shelby, chairman of the Appropriations transportation subcommittee; and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott.

-- capnfun (, October 23, 2000


"Another example of the Feds strong-arming States"

Spoken like a true alcoholic.

-- (stuff'll@kill.ya), October 24, 2000.

I've heard two or three beers on an empty stomach will give a blood alcohol reading of 0.10 percent. Just how strict is a 0.10 level and a 0.08 level?

-- (a@social.drinker), October 24, 2000.

You should never drink on an empty stomach, and never have more than 3 beers for any reason.

-- (madd@mother.mad), October 24, 2000.

Opponents of the 0.08 standard, including the restaurant and alcohol industries,


say the measure would penalize social drinkers while ignoring the bigger problem of repeat offenders who drink heavily.

-- Doc Paulie (, October 24, 2000.

Yep, it's just another idiotic harassment due to a moral minority, in this case the DAMM mothers of MADD. I'm fed up with the laws being tightened because a few amateurs can't hold their beer.

-- nevermind (, October 24, 2000.

Frankly, I don't see anything wrong with setting a standard here. What bothers me is that this so-called "measure" will save 500 people a year.

According to the article, statistics for 1999 indicate that 15,786 traffic deaths were attributable to drunken driving. OK, so what about the other 15,286 people? They can just go to hell (as it were)?

Anyone else see the much larger problem here? And it's not ".02" either. It's **personal responsibility**, and you can't pass legislation outlawing selfishness or stupidity.

But you can teach it. Wonder if that's ever going to happen?

-- Patricia (, October 24, 2000.

Now if they will do something about all the idiots on the damn phone while they are driving, there might be a difference made. I saw a moron the other day on the damn phone, TRYING TO WRITE A MESSAGE, and driving at 70 MPH, all at the same time. I could have sworn he was drunk the way he was swerving. Who knows, maybe he was that too...

I have no problem with .08%... been that way here in NM for years.

NM... home of the infamous Gordon House...

growlin' at the newspaper boy...

The Dog

-- The Dog (, October 24, 2000.

"I'm fed up with the laws being tightened because a few amateurs can't hold their beer."

Spoken like a true alchy.

-- (buuurrrrp@lets.get.drunk), October 24, 2000.

When did drunk driving become a federal crime? It is a crime that takes place in locale within a state,where laws are allready on the books to deal with the problem as the local/state authorities see fit.

Why not strike down ALL state/local laws and make ALL laws federal laws,they MUST know what's best for all of us.

Why tie the standard to a highway bill? Was it not worthy enough to stand on it's own? Or did it 'have' to be weaved into a larger bill to gain passage? as it only took three years to be finalized.

One of the major things I see wrong with this type of legislation is the cohersive nature of it,meaning,we pay our taxes to Washington,then we are reduced to begging,negotiating and complying to their terms to recieve our 'allowance' back from the Fed.

Concerning MADD,it has become it's own little bureaucracy,while it's intent is noble it now has to substantiate itself.There are people there now with jobs that are indespensible to the publics welfare and like any bureaucrat,surely we couldn't manage without them.Now that they have achieved what they stated was their intent of a Federal DUI standard,who thinks they will retire from Washington and return to the private sector?

-- capnfun (, October 24, 2000.

On the one hand I can understand the concern over what may appear to be just one more "law" shoved down the throats of the states.

On the other hand, i believe if you drink DO NOT DRIVE. I mean even one drink. There is no reason to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking. Be responsible. Have a designated driver. I made the mistake. I will not do it again.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), October 24, 2000.


I couldn't agree more!!! Drinking and driving is unacceptable,the killing and maiming of innocent people cannot be tolerated.That's why laws were enacted but this is besides the main juxt of my contention ie. that drunk driving is not a federal issue but has been politicized as such.

-- capnfun (, October 24, 2000.

I'll be honest, capn, I don't see the big deal here whether it's the Federal government regulating/legislating something versus a State government doing the same. Regulation/legislation is regulation/legislation no matter how you slice it.

I do, however, have a real problem with the "pork" included in this legislation. Not to sound overly-cynical (which I tend to be), but it happens all the time. Some special-interest bullshit ALWAYS gets "buried" in legislation. It's how the crap gets passed. I don't agree with it, but the only way to change it is to vote the cretins out of office (that would be the Representatives and the Senators we've elected) and elect Reps and Sens that won't do this. Then hold them to it. They'll get the "hint" eventually.

Now you know why I was a "polly" ;-)

I whole-heartedly agree with Future Shock; it is up to people to take responsibility for their actions, and when and where they don't, then it's up to the rest of the people to punish them for it. I'm pretty sure every one of us who posts here either knows someone or knows of someone who has been killed/injured by a drunk driver.

Drunk-driving is a by-product of egotistical arrogance. There is no excuse for it.

-- Patricia (, October 24, 2000.


In the constitution there is a short list of Federal high crimes and misdemeanors,nowhere have I seen drunk driving to be one of them.If a crime be it DUI,murder,rape,robbery occurs it occurs within the scope of a local or state jurisdiction.DUI should not be and is not technically or otherwise defined as a federal crime.We might as well make speeding a federal crime,there is no difference.If I speed and kill someone I have committed murder,If I am drinking and speeding I have committed two crimes,both crimes of which there are laws and punishments on the books allready.

AS you probably know I do know people killed by drunk drivers,but two wrongs do not make a right.

-- capnfun (, October 24, 2000.

I've committed at least one thousand acts of stupidity in my life. How do I know this? Because that's how many times I estimate I've driven under the influence of alcohol. Conservative estimate, mind you.

Arrogance? You bet. Justifiable? At times. I'm a more skilled driver at .08 than a significant number of drivers I see on the roads every day. Absolutely no doubt about it. I should NOT have been driving so much as a golf cart many of those 1000 times. Arrogance. Right on, Patricia. No accidents, no injuries. Thank you, Lord.

If the Feds are going to legislate regarding blood alcohol levels, they should also force EVERY driver to undergo and pass rigid skills testing at least ONCE during their lifetime. I'd like to see 5-10% of all drivers lose their privilege tomorrow. Because they drink booze and drive? No. Because their skills are next to non-existent. The Feds should also ban the use of any appliance in vehicles which pose serious possibility of distraction to the driver. No more radios and cell phones. Eating should also be included in the ban.

Ridiculous, you say? I agree. All ARE safety issues. Seems I have to take at least one or two emergency actions each day in order to avoid accidents because of recklessness on the part of other drivers. Most of these incidents occur in the morning rush when caffeine addicts are sucking on Styrofoam cups, yacking at the spouse on the cell phone, changing radio stations to catch the latest traffic report. How many deaths are caused by people changing radio stations? Draining their Dunkin' Donuts mug of coffee? Any numbers?

Why pass Federal legislation on drunk driving? Another button-pushing issue to bring home to the constituents. "Look what I voted for just last month!" Another "legacy-maker" for President Clinton. Who could possibly be in favor of driving while drunk? Happy faces all around.

This is an issue which should be left in the hands of the states. By making it a Federal piece of legislation it makes it that much harder for the citizenry to shout it down if they wish, to effect change. I have a voice locally. I have virtually none nationally.

Ramble off...Rich

-- Bingo1 (, October 24, 2000.

Up here in the Great White North-Ontario, the limit has been 0.08 for a long time. [In some of the Scandanavian countries the limit is 0.05.]

A few years ago the gov't introduced a new category of drunk driving offense called "12 Hour Licence Suspension". If you get pulled over by the fuzz and you have a breath alcohol reading of between 0.05 and 0.08 the officer will suspend your licence on the spot for 12 hours. If you don't have taxi fare on you, you'll be walking home...... You don't get a record for this licence suspension, but you have to go to the police station to get your licence and your keys back.

One other thing we have done up here that has saved lives was to introduce a "graduated" drivers licence. What this means is that when you pass your drivers test you don't get a "full" licence. Rather you get a licence that allows all the priviledges of a full licence except that you can't drive on the Interstate at night and you must have a ZERO blood alcohol reading. No surprise, but the fatality rate for 16-18 year old males has declined since this system was introduced.

By the way, the comment above that a 170 lb male can consume 4 beers on an empty stomach and still be below 0.08 is horse hockey. Unless you're talking about that fizzy ginger ale that passes for beer in the US. I can tell you that 4 Moosehead beers in an hour on an empty stomach renders this 240lb canuck male way over 0.08 (I've blown into those machines in a bar; for the purposes of scientific research only...).

-- Johnny Canuck (, October 24, 2000.

I've been arrested 3 times for drunk driving.

I've never killed anyone, yet.

I was married to an alcoholic, who drove his car off a bridge, killed someone and got away with it.

-- (who@m.I), October 24, 2000.

I think the problem here is that "The State" prosecutes someone for drunken driving and reaps the benefits including compensation monies for each day the 'convicted' is in jail as well as money for fines, court costs and probation and federal funding, while the victim receives only the satisfaction that the drunk was convicted instead of getting of all that money, because by the time The State is done with him, good luck in a civil suit. So what if you get a lien if you can't collect because some body 'The State' already has it all.

-- Doris (, October 24, 2000.


If you don't want the federal government to be able to "strong-arm" your state by threatening to cut off federal funds, then tell your Senators and Representative to stop the flow of federal funds to your state. If they keep voting in Congress to bring federal funds to your state, then vote them out of office ASAP.

And try persuading a few hundred of your neighbors to do the same.

Be careful with that last part. You'll be fighting some mighty established human nature.

-- No Spam Please (, October 24, 2000.

>> tell your Senators and Representative to stop the flow of federal funds to your state. <<

So, we pay out and get nothing back? Going to be a very popular alternative, I can tell already.

-- Brian McLaughlin (, October 24, 2000.

Let's see............ You are Mrs. Edward Kennedy.

I always loved that show "I've got a Secret", or was it What's My Line?"

-- Monkey Spanker (, October 25, 2000.

You win a free drink, Monkey Spanker.

-- (who@m.I), October 25, 2000.

Bingo, I agree with you about stupid drivers; I've seen my share. Did you see a report on CNN and one of the other networks about a study on drunk driving and sleeping while driving? The conclusion was that the tired folks had MORE trouble keeping the car under control than the drunks. It cited an incident when a sleeping driver killed many pedestrians. But how do you measure if a driver is too tired to be behind the wheel? How do you make and enforce any laws on "sleepy" drivers?

-- Maria (, October 25, 2000.


CNN is the liberal media, who tried to do me in by saying I had an abortion (like the drug issue, I won't discuss it). Anyway, that whole report about sleeping and driving is a bunch of liberal hocus-pocus and fuzzy math they whipped up to try to convince everyone that we need a law against sleeping and driving.

They cannot prove it, so they want to convince everyone it is dangerous so they can make a lot of money by giving DWS tickets (driving while sleeping). I do most of my sleeping while driving, and I have never killed anyone. Well, the truth is "I don't recall" (heh heh, stole that from Reagan).

-- Shrubya (fuzzy@brain.cells), October 25, 2000.

That's an excellent point, Maria.

Which is why I say punish people for committing offenses against others. A drunk driver who arrives at his/her destination safely has hurt no one. No harm, no foul. Virtually all drivers under the influence of alcohol cause no harm to others while behind the wheel, in my experience.

The problem stems from a judicial system which allows people who hurt others to get away with slaps on the wrist. Punishments rarely fit crimes, IMO.

Get busted with a joint in a school zone, you go to jail. Of course a school zone is not limited to school property. Local governments cast wide nets in their definitions of school zones. Punishment fit the crime? Ridiculous.

A cop gets pulled in his family station wagon for running a red light. Flash the badge and "see ya later" without a ticket. Punishment fit the crime? Ridiculous.

OK, now I'm rambling about selective law enforcement. My bad.

-- Bingo1 (, October 25, 2000.

Glancing around looking @ hand, lemmmeee see, a Bud or a bud?

Herbal or liquid? Sheesh, so many choices, so lil time.

FWIW, I agree w/the schoolzone comment Bingo.

A lil herbal bud is a good thing at least you remember whatcha did the next day :-)

-- consumer (, October 25, 2000.


> So, we pay out and get nothing back?

If you depend on federal pork handouts, you've given away power to the federal government. Freedom isn't cheap.

>Going to be a very popular alternative, I can tell already.

Well, I included a caution. Freedom isn't always popular.

-- No Spam Please (, October 30, 2000.

>> Freedom isn't always popular. <<

So, how are you going to tackle this problem? Impose your version of freedom on all of us against our will? Run around and wring your hands and whine? Or set about to peruade people to want what you want? I would point out that this last solution is the one that makes "freedom" (as you define it) popular. And the only one that works.

I'm sorry, but as "bad" as popularity can be, it certainly beats the hell out having a minority of badass folks like you waving guns at us and telling us what is permissible to want or to get.

-- Brian McLaughlin (, October 30, 2000.

Freedom is just another word for nothing else to lose.

-- Happy Halloween (, October 31, 2000.


Was you most recent posting directed to me? Your leadoff with a quote from me makes it seems so, but what you write after that makes me wonder whether you're referring to some entirely different reference.

>So, how are you going to tackle this problem?

Told my Congressmen to stop voting to bring our state federal "pork", so we would be less vulnerable to federal threats to shut off funds. Just as I advocated that others do.

>Impose your version of freedom on all of us against our will?

Why would you ask me that? I've never advocated imposing anything. All of my recommendations have been to work within the existing political system to bring about voluntary change.

>Run around and wring your hands and whine?

Where do you get that idea?

>Or set about to peruade people to want what you want?

Well, my first posting in this thread advocates persuading other people to want freedom from the threat of a form of federal coercion. Got a problem with that?

>I would point out that this last solution is the one that makes "freedom" (as you define it) popular.

As I define it?? How _do_ you think I define "freedom" (since I don't recall having set forth a definition recently)?

Then, while we're at it, just how do _you_ define "freedom"?

>I'm sorry, but as "bad" as popularity can be, it certainly beats the hell out having a minority of badass folks like you waving guns at us and telling us what is permissible to want or to get.

Brian, if you were addressing that to me, No Spam Please, then you seriously need to get your head on straight and re-read what I actually wrote instead of just imagining that I wrote something about waving guns and telling others what is permissable to want or to get.

Please don't respond to this until you are sober and, while sober, have re-read what I've written earlier.

-- No Spam Please (, October 31, 2000.

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