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Drunk/Stoned US Drivers

  1. Aug 25, 2008 #1

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    Why do we in the US put up with drunk and/or stoned drivers? These people take lives and disable people with virtual impunity ---- and the rest of us just look the other way. We've all read about people who have 10, 20 or more arrests for DUI and we do nothing. What's wrong with us? In Norway, for instance, one DUI conviction and you loose your driver's license PERMANENTLY. Why are we in the US this way?

    Frank
     
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  3. Aug 25, 2008 #2

    Evo

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    Most of those people with multiple DUI's are driving without a license. My understanding is that the penalty for DUI has increased severely, at least it has in my state. I believe that a first offense will result in a two year suspension of your driver's license, even if you have the charges dropped through a diversion program (this was on the radio the other day) and a second offense carries automatic jail time.

    This doesn't stop the fools from getting back into a car though.
     
  4. Aug 25, 2008 #3
    Capital punishment for DUI might. (at the very least, it would stop repeat offenders)
     
  5. Aug 25, 2008 #4

    Moonbear

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    What makes you think they have licenses and haven't spent time in jail? I agree, we should be raising the penalties more and more severely on repeated offenses, but it's not true that nothing is being done. Perhaps the change needs to be that once someone has 2 offenses, any repeated offenses after that (presumably while driving on a suspended license) should include prison time in years equal to the number of repeated offenses (i.e., if you are on your third offense, get 3 years, get out and do it again, get 4 years...at least until they end up with the vehicular manslaughter charges to put them away longer).
     
  6. Aug 25, 2008 #5

    Gokul43201

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    Jail time of n years is weak. I propose 2n-1-1 years.
     
  7. Aug 25, 2008 #6

    wolram

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    The only problem with jail time is having the capacity to store all the prisoners, and you tax $s
    to keep them, hit them where it hurts with a big stick.
     
  8. Aug 25, 2008 #7
    Here in Arizona they just throw you into tent city and feed you green baloney. Costs less than a dollar a day per prisoner.
     
  9. Aug 25, 2008 #8
  10. Aug 25, 2008 #9

    Evo

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    According to this "test", they hardly smoked anything at all.

    Growing up in the 60's and 70's I can tell you that the people that got "stoned" smoked for hours. Ever been in a car with someone that's really stoned that's been smoking for hours? I have. They run red lights and stop signs because they didn't notice them, they run up on the curb and over esplanades, they drive on the wrong side of the street and swerve a lot. They lose track of how fast they are going sometimes speeding while nodding out and other times barely moving at all and not realizing it.

    http://www.nida.nih.gov/infofacts/marijuana.html
     
  11. Aug 25, 2008 #10
    yeah, once, back in my college days I stopped at a red light, unfortunately I was still a block away.
     
  12. Aug 25, 2008 #11

    Evo

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    :rofl: Yeah, you could always tell (aside from the smell of pot and smoke pouring out of the car) when you saw someone cruising along at 23MPH in a 45 MPH zone, straddling the middle lane and hitting the brakes at totally inappropriate times.
     
  13. Aug 25, 2008 #12

    Astronuc

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    Not only did they not ingest a lot, the statistical population is only 24 - not sufficient to make a strong case, IMO.

    I also knew some people like Evo described. One in particular misjudged a 15 mph curve and took it at > 45 mph. He flipped the car on its side and is slip right between 2 trees. Fortunately, there were not pedestrians in that spot.

    PF doesn't condone the use of illegal drugs, and if one does, stay home and don't go out and endanger the public.

    My wife used to counsel alcoholics and drug abusers who have been arrested DUI/DWI among other things. Very few were remorseful or contrite about their behavior. Their main concern was to be able to drive again, and many had multiple violations. The legal system was cracking down more so on those who were stoned that those who were intoxicated. I do seem to remember a few cases of drunk drivers killing themselves and/or others - even after multiple violations. There was apparently some leniency because they are frequently the primary income source for a family.

    I fully support stiff penalties for people who endanger the lives and welfare of others.
     
  14. Aug 25, 2008 #13
    No offence, but you don't know what you're talking about. I guarantee you that 15 minutes with three "marijuana cigarettes" per person will result in the people being about as intoxicated as it is possible to become via smoking marijuana. One "marijuana cigarette" is enough to get 3-4 people stoned, in well under 15 minutes.

    Growing up in the 90's and 00's (a period in which marijuana use amongst under-30 age group is comparable to the 1960's and 1970's rates), I can tell you that that is neither here nor there. It's not like drinking where you do it continuously for hours on end, getting steadily more intoxicated. You're as high as you're going to get within minutes of smoking. Everything after that is just to maintain the initial high.

    Yes, many times. I have also been in cars with people that are really stoned, and are smoking while driving. Never once has it come anywhere close to being as frightening as riding with someone who is drunk, or tired, or even with people who are just bad drivers. I can't think of a single time where it's aroused even the slightest anxiety in me. There are people who I would worry more about riding with if they *weren't* stoned, though.

    It sounds like your pals consumed more than just marijuana, but I can assure you that this experience is not typical.
     
  15. Aug 25, 2008 #14

    Evo

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    Quadrphonics, we don't condone or encourage illegal drugs or drug abuse here and such discussions are not allowed. I refer you to the link I posted above.

    http://www.nida.nih.gov/MarijBroch/teenpg11-12.html#driving
     
  16. Aug 25, 2008 #15

    BobG

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    I like the interlocks they're starting to use here in Colorado for repeat offenders and/or particularly high BAC. The driver has to pass a breath test to start their car, plus the device pops up with random breath test requirements while driving. They have a few minutes (don't know exactly how many) to pull over and take another breath test or take it at the next red light. They don't actually have to shut the engine off to take the random tests. The random tests just mean the driver can't spoof the system by having someone else take the test for them unless the someone else is dumb enough to ride along with a drunk driver taking their breath tests for them.

    If they fail three tests in a row, the car is completely disabled and has to be towed to the installation center so they can unlock it. Plus all of the failures, aborted tests, and passed tests are stored in the device's history and can be used as evidence that the driver violated the terms of their probation, suspended sentence, etc.

    The driver rents the interlock device for however long the judge requires them to use the device, so it doesn't cost the taxpayer. The normal time to use the device is around a year to two years.

    You would think the cost alone would deter a lot of folks from being repeat offenders. A first offense winds up costing nearly $10,000 by time you take into account increased insurance rates, lawyer fees, and fines. The fact that it doesn't probably indicates how often drivers are able to avoid being pulled over in the first place. Drivers just don't think they're going to get caught.
     
  17. Aug 25, 2008 #16
    I don't see how presenting accurate information and discouraging mis/disinformation amounts to "condoning or encouraging" anything. In the long run, exaggerating or misrepresenting the dangers of any behavior only makes people more likely to engage in it, and that without accurate information.

    And I again refer you to the first link I posted, which was undertaken exactly to test, scientifically, whether said effects actually translate into increased risks while driving. And it turns out that they do not, validating decades of user experience. The reason is that, unlike with alcohol, stoned drivers remain aware of their impairments and so compensate for them. As has been noted in this thread, the steretypical stoned driver is someone moving suspiciously slowly. Contrast this with the prototypical drunk driver, whose dangers are rather self-evident. Drunk driving produces 10's of thousands of fatalities in the United States every year. Stoned driving, on the other hand? Can anyone even point to a proven fatality? Thus, equating the two is preposterous. Which is exactly why drunk driving is a serious policy priority in most states/municipalities, while stoned driving is not. Other driving behaviors that are significantly riskier than stoned driving: talking on a cell phone, driving while tired, or racing on public streets.
     
  18. Aug 25, 2008 #17

    Evo

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    It was explained to you why your link was not a scientifically valid sample as there were only 24 subjects. The information I posted to was ACTUAL reckless drivers, not some controlled study in The Netherlands.
     
  19. Aug 25, 2008 #18

    Moonbear

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    Actually, as I read through that article (that one is not from a peer-reviewed source, however), there is a table near the end summarizing the results where very few parameters are different between the drivers who consumed alcohol and those who used marijuana.

    Here is a study where that same author is a co-author and published in a peer-reviewed journal (link is to the abstract on the publisher's site; you need a library subscription to view the entire article):
    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/74000373/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0
     
  20. Aug 25, 2008 #19

    Moonbear

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    Why would that make it not scientifically valid? If the number of subjects was sufficient to detect significant differences for what they were measuring, then it is valid. I'm more concerned that non-peer-reviewed sources are being posted here when the same authors have perfectly good articles on the subject in peer-reviewed journals. (The one in the link may not have made it through peer review because of the ethical considerations of risking harm to the subjects or other drivers putting them out on real roads with other drivers when their driving impairment was being tested.)
     
  21. Aug 25, 2008 #20

    chroot

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    Growing up in the 80's and 90's, I can tell you that being stoned for hours does not require smoking for hours. Some people can get obliterated in just a couple puffs, which takes no more than a minute. Like alcohol, the effects can last hours. Stop attacking strawmen, Evo. I expect more of you.

    - Warren
     
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