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Old 12th July 2008, 10:54   #61
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Originally Posted by Tron View Post
In many countries, if you are pulled over for DUI, if a breathalyzer is not available, you can challenge the police to take you to a hospital or a lab to measure your BAC from a blood sample.

If someone in India challenges the cops for this, and the cops fail to provide this, and then the person sues the cops and wins, then the cops will be more methodical in their approach to DUI enforcement. Without proper methods, this is just a blind witch hunt.
AFAIK, these check points do have the breathalyzer available. If not, they take you to a local government hospital for the BAC measurement.
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Old 12th July 2008, 10:58   #62
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I am not sure if this has been discussed before but do the breath analyzers have to be caliberated? What if I am sober, stopped for DUI, and a faulty breath analyzer shows I am drunk?
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Old 12th July 2008, 11:09   #63
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AFAIK, these check points do have the breathalyzer available. If not, they take you to a local government hospital for the BAC measurement.
That is really wonderful. It sounds so nice on paper. Wow we have a system as good as they do in Amerika!

The cops take you to another cesspool of government inefficency: The Govt. hospital. Do you really think that a govt. hospital will willingly contradict what the police want?

If the accused actually makes it to a govt. hospital, which I highly doubt, the hospital will just give the police a rubber stamp. Case closed. You are guilty as charged.

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I am not sure if this has been discussed before but do the breath analyzers have to be caliberated? What if I am sober, stopped for DUI, and a faulty breath analyzer shows I am drunk?
Hi Amit,
Glad to hear another voice that questioning authority.

This is a good point. Under the current system you go to jail.

The cops will not entertain any requests for proof that their equipment works. What the public needs to understand is that these witch-hunt enforcement drives demand big numbers. The cops want to look good to their superiors and always will want a nice big number of "offenders" caught. If the cops arrest 100 people in an enforcement drive, they look good. The top cop might get an interview with the press, etc. Really good stuff for his or her police career.

Last edited by Rehaan : 13th July 2008 at 00:55. Reason: Posts merged.
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Old 12th July 2008, 11:26   #64
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Kudos to Mumbai police, a step in the right direction. Such examples should be publicised as much as possible. It is the example, the precedent, which means more as a deterrent rather than the act of punishment itself. Pity it is not getting any airtime on television, the medium with the widest reach. Can coverage be improved?
So you like the idea of deterrent do you? O.k., what if we extrapolate this concept to make it even more effective.

How about a public beating for offenders. They do this in Singapore with bamboo canes.

Not enough deterrent for you? Maybe a nice public execution. One heck of a deterrent. This is done in certain countries. Guaranteed no drunk driving if you have a couple of those.
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Old 12th July 2008, 13:23   #65
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Originally Posted by RedMM340 View Post
So you like the idea of deterrent do you? O.k., what if we extrapolate this concept to make it even more effective.

How about a public beating for offenders. They do this in Singapore with bamboo canes.

Not enough deterrent for you? Maybe a nice public execution. One heck of a deterrent. This is done in certain countries. Guaranteed no drunk driving if you have a couple of those.
I do not consider Singapore as a model or an example of law enforcement. They are well known for prosecuting people without the standards of criminal prosecution followed in most democracies around the world. Look up mens rea and Iwuchukwu_Amara_Tochi. We need justice and strong enforcement of laws. But this must not be at the expense of a fair and speedy trial. That is a better deterrent than corporal punishment, kangaroo courts and witch hunts.
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Old 12th July 2008, 15:19   #66
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This is a good one. I got an experience in this. Me and 3 of my friends went to a city for some purchase . All 3 of them had wine+beer , just 2 glasses. I didnt take as i dont have that habit. I decided to drive the Scorpio as I am the one who is alcohol free. But one of my friend took away my keys and said he will drive till the next street where we had to make a purchase .But he didnt give the seat back to me and started driving . He never stopped in the red signal and he pressed the horn continuously without a break .He swtiched on the headlights.. He was driving very riskly inside the city . The other 2 drunken friends also got scared and they got back to the normal state due to that.. Later we all forced him to pull back after he exited the city and got the keys back .
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Old 12th July 2008, 17:24   #67
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Originally Posted by amit View Post
I am not sure if this has been discussed before but do the breath analyzers have to be caliberated? What if I am sober, stopped for DUI, and a faulty breath analyzer shows I am drunk?
You have the right to get a blood test done from a government hospital. Remember one thing : You also have the right to present your lawyer and make an argument. It is a very very serious matter to put incorrect numbers on a piece of official paperwork. If anyone gives documentation that they know is false to the court, they are liable under contempt of court charges.

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Originally Posted by RedMM340 View Post
That is really wonderful. It sounds so nice on paper. Wow we have a system as good as they do in Amerika!
It doesn't sound good only on paper. There is nothing more obvious than seeing the numbers, for proof of reduced accidental deaths and instances of drunk driving. Heck, in my circle itself, I do NOT know of ANYONE who has the guts to drive after 2 drinks. Numbers do not lie.

Yes RedMM. It is wonderful in the real world too. Mumbai roads are a safer place after this crackdown on drunk driving.

Quote:
The cops take you to another cesspool of government inefficency: The Govt. hospital.
Govt. hospitals may be inefficient, yes. But that doesn't mean they aren't accurate. I have not heard of a single chap complaining about his BAC readout being incorrect.

Quote:
Do you really think that a govt. hospital will willingly contradict what the police want?
Believe you me, the Police do lose many a case in court. Just ask any public prosecutor.

Quote:
If the accused actually makes it to a govt. hospital, which I highly doubt, the hospital will just give the police a rubber stamp.
You should come down and see the lines outside KEM hospital at night.

RedMM340, I fail to understand what exactly your point is?

1. Are you saying that drunk drivers should not go to Jail? Let me remind you that we are still being lenient. Some countries will seize your car on the spot, and send you to Jail. The fines also are 100 times (or more) compared to what we pay in India.

OR

2. Are you saying that the cops are being too harsh? Well, if this is the case, I do not agree with you. A drunk driver is a potential murderer let loose on the street. 3 days in jail is letting them off too easy.

OR

3. Are you saying that they send people who are NOT drunk to jail? If this is your argument, you couldn't be further from the truth.

Also, I do hope you are aware that spending 2 - 4 nights in jail is not the end of the story. That is only the start of a trial.
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Old 12th July 2008, 17:53   #68
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RedMM340, I fail to understand what exactly your point is?
His point is simply that he believes the police will abuse their power and infringe upon the civil rights of the general public. I think this is what he is saying and not that he likes drunk drivers or thinks they deserve a break.

But this concern is near universal in all law enforcement issues. So what is new? It is all about how dedicated and honest the people involved are in this case and not the fact that the law is strict. Drivers who drive under the influence of chemicals kill and maim people. They need to be taken off the road. The people killed and injured have rights, too. Yes, they need to be taken off the road fairly.
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Old 12th July 2008, 20:58   #69
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I was travelling back to Hissar from Delhi once at night. It was dark and approaching me from the other direction were 2 truck drivers having a race (side by side). There was no place for us to go so we stopped and the truck drivers were able to slow down and get back on the correct side of the road.

Just about to pull off and someone hit the car form behind and then had the nerve to try and drive away. Soon caught up with him and he had to stop. He got out and staggered towards us and you could smell the booze on him and he could just about string a few words together.

I was about to chin him as he kept swearing and then his wife got out the car with a young child in her hands. She apologised and said this was normal behaviour with her husband. The thick idiot was not content with putting his own life at risk but also that of his young child at risk.

Such drivers need a good year or so in prison and the cases should be fast tracked. Also all truck and bus drivers should undergo random drug testing and any caught with traces of drug in their system should be banned for a few years.
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Old 13th July 2008, 01:02   #70
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RedMM340,

I see the angle you are taking - however, its all criticizm of the current setups, which you seem to dislike.

I would hope that you do think drinking and driving is a problem.

If so, i'd be interested to know how you would try to solve this problem in an Indian context if you were the authorities.

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Old 13th July 2008, 02:25   #71
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Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post
RedMM340,

I see the angle you are taking - however, its all criticizm of the current setups, which you seem to dislike.

I would hope that you do think drinking and driving is a problem.

If so, i'd be interested to know how you would try to solve this problem in an Indian context if you were the authorities.

cya
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Rehaan,

I do agree that drinking and driving is a dangerous combination.

The big question is how does a society reduce this behavior while maintaining civil liberties. The rule of law must be enforced, but punishments must be proportional to the offense.

The issue drinking and driving has become an emotional one, with many equating drink & driving with murder, etc. This is an over-reaction by some individuals and organizations that have self-appointed themselves as the protectors of society. This is also one of the reasons that the legal limit for drinking has been going down over the years. There should be sensible rules that reflect the severity of the situation, and not just treat anyone with alcohol on their breath as a hardened criminal.

In cases where a vehicle is stopped randomly and the driver is found to be under the influence of alcohol, then a fine can be assessed, vehicle impounded (if there is no alternate driver), and a possible suspension of the license.


Regards,
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Old 13th July 2008, 08:01   #72
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RedMM340,

I think your views have got a lot clearer to me after your last post. You do raise some interesting points for discussion.

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Originally Posted by RedMM340 View Post
The big question is how does a society reduce this behavior while maintaining civil liberties.
To me, this is really not the big concern.

Are you saying random checks should not happen?
Its the same way as when boarding an airplane, ALL passengers are security checked and then sometimes randomly checked as well. This slows everyone down, its a pain, sometimes humiliating - but its done to protect the passengers from each other, so to speak.

The same way - I would rather be stopped 10 times a night if it meant that it was increasing the chances of the cops catching someone very drunk behind the wheel and probably save a bad accident and innocent victims from injury or death.
Also the cops are striking hard at the moment because they have to - since there is barely any awareness about these issues at the moment.

How would you check for DUI whilst maintaining civil liberties?

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Originally Posted by RedMM340 View Post
The rule of law must be enforced, but punishments must be proportional to the offense. The issue drinking and driving has become an emotional one, with many equating drink & driving with murder, etc. This is an over-reaction by some individuals and organizations...
True point there.
For example, (with our current zero-tolerance policy) a person who has had half a beer and is driving okay is going to get a much more serious punishment if he gets stopped as opposed to someone who is driving rash and just ran a red light (much more dangerous, in this comparison).

With regard to "proportional punishments", thats an interesting point.
In USA for example <0.08% BAC is technically legal (though a cop can still book you if youre not driving well), but in india its considered an equal offence if you have a sip or 15 pegs.
Maybe the same could be applied here (though still mantaining the zero-tolerance policy) where if your BAC is <0.08% you are given a less severe punishment / warning as compared to if its over that figure.

Personally, i am a fan of the zero-tolerance - since even a small amount of alcohol does affect you slightly, which is a risk just not worth taking. (Not to mention different people having different capacities etc etc.)

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Originally Posted by RedMM340 View Post
....This is also one of the reasons that the legal limit for drinking has been going down over the years.
Sure, maybe it is one of the reasons, but im sure the other reasons are very definite data that shows the relation between alcohol and road accidents!

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Originally Posted by RedMM340 View Post
....There should be sensible rules that reflect the severity of the situation, and not just treat anyone with alcohol on their breath as a hardened criminal.
Agreed, (the proportional-punishments mentioned above), however, i would also like to point out another reason as to why DUI is considered such a "criminal offence".

This comparison might rub you the wrong way, but its the best one i could come up with :
1st degree murder (harshest punishment) vs 2nd/3rd degree murder (not as harsh a punishment).
What is the difference? - well 1st degree murder is pre-meditated. Thats all.

Now drawing the parellel :
If someone is drunk and they still willingly get behind the wheel of a car - they are quite aware of the choice they are making.
Whereas if someone(sober) runs a red light, it could have been a lapse of concentration or a mistake etc.

In the first case, the person behind the wheel did nothing to prevent the situation when they could have. (Hence making it more "cold-blooded" ala first-degree).
In the red-light situation, its hard to prove whether it was intentional or a mistake - and that can be discussed in court.

cya
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Old 13th July 2008, 09:43   #73
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Originally Posted by RedMM340 View Post
The big question is how does a society reduce this behavior while maintaining civil liberties. The rule of law must be enforced, but punishments must be proportional to the offense.
Civil liberties and harsh punishments are not necessarily opposites. You can have fair enforcement, good scientific testing, a fair legal system AND harsh punishment for offenders. Ideally, you want to arrest only actual offenders and not encroach upon anyone's civil liberties.
But I think there will be less agreement on whether a punishment is harsh or fair. While I agree with Red on the need to protect civil liberties, I have little sympathy for people who insist on drinking and driving. These people can drink at home or as a passenger. Weighing rights, people's right to use roads safely with minimal danger from others using chemicals is a higher consideration for me. If a drunk is caught fairly then I think his punishment SHOULD be harsh. Loss of license for some period and a month or two or three in jail is okay with me. And, I think the punishment should greatly escalate if there is a repeat offense.
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Old 13th July 2008, 12:19   #74
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Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post
RedMM340,

I think your views have got a lot clearer to me after your last post. You do raise some interesting points for discussion.



To me, this is really not the big concern.

Are you saying random checks should not happen?
Its the same way as when boarding an airplane, ALL passengers are security checked and then sometimes randomly checked as well. This slows everyone down, its a pain, sometimes humiliating - but its done to protect the passengers from each other, so to speak.

The same way - I would rather be stopped 10 times a night if it meant that it was increasing the chances of the cops catching someone very drunk behind the wheel and probably save a bad accident and innocent victims from injury or death.
Also the cops are striking hard at the moment because they have to - since there is barely any awareness about these issues at the moment.

How would you check for DUI whilst maintaining civil liberties?



True point there.
For example, (with our current zero-tolerance policy) a person who has had half a beer and is driving okay is going to get a much more serious punishment if he gets stopped as opposed to someone who is driving rash and just ran a red light (much more dangerous, in this comparison).

With regard to "proportional punishments", thats an interesting point.
In USA for example <0.08% BAC is technically legal (though a cop can still book you if youre not driving well), but in india its considered an equal offence if you have a sip or 15 pegs.
Maybe the same could be applied here (though still mantaining the zero-tolerance policy) where if your BAC is <0.08% you are given a less severe punishment / warning as compared to if its over that figure.

Personally, i am a fan of the zero-tolerance - since even a small amount of alcohol does affect you slightly, which is a risk just not worth taking. (Not to mention different people having different capacities etc etc.)



Sure, maybe it is one of the reasons, but im sure the other reasons are very definite data that shows the relation between alcohol and road accidents!



Agreed, (the proportional-punishments mentioned above), however, i would also like to point out another reason as to why DUI is considered such a "criminal offence".

This comparison might rub you the wrong way, but its the best one i could come up with :
1st degree murder (harshest punishment) vs 2nd/3rd degree murder (not as harsh a punishment).
What is the difference? - well 1st degree murder is pre-meditated. Thats all.

Now drawing the parellel :
If someone is drunk and they still willingly get behind the wheel of a car - they are quite aware of the choice they are making.
Whereas if someone(sober) runs a red light, it could have been a lapse of concentration or a mistake etc.

In the first case, the person behind the wheel did nothing to prevent the situation when they could have. (Hence making it more "cold-blooded" ala first-degree).
In the red-light situation, its hard to prove whether it was intentional or a mistake - and that can be discussed in court.

cya
R
Hi Rehaan,

This is an interesting topic and an important one.

You think that maintaining civil liberties is not a big concern? I could not disagree more. Individual rights and maintaining civil liberties is one of the foundations of a democratic society.

I believe that citizens should have a reasonable right to privacy. This means that if you are not misbehaving in public or driving perfectly safely you should not be stopped. In general, there must be some type of provocation or just cause for the police to stop any citizen.

The situation with airline security is completely different. When you book a flight, you know that there will be a search of your baggage and person. So the citizen is giving consent to a reasonable search and invasion of privacy.

This whole concept of "zero tolerance" is a very bad one. It just serves unfairly criminalize behaviors. Kinda goes against what the father of our nation practiced and preached. Thanks the the good old US of A, who invented this concept, there is zero tolerance for a whole range of things including drinking, drugs, smoking, etc. the list goes on and on.

A distinction needs to be made between drinking and driving vs. drunk driving. This is a point that I highly doubt our astute Indian cops will get. An individual can drive in a perfectly safe manner after one or two drinks. This is drinking and driving. Maybe not the smartest thing to do, but very far from criminal behavior deserving jail time. Drunk driving is dangerous and should be restricted as much as possible.

But I do not believe that drunk driving is akin to murder etc. It is an irresponsible and foolish behavior that should be discouraged. Education is key. The government's role would be well served if they could effectively educate the public about the hazards of drunk driving.

Anytime one gets behind the wheel of a car, there is the potential for a serious accident and causing injury or death to oneself and others. It could be driving faster than is safe, lack in judgement, distractions, prescription medications, old age, young age (immaturity), lack of driving skill, lack of road rules, or just sheer stupidity.

Consider the following senario: While driving in Delhi on the expressway near the airport and NH8, I was in the far right lane of a 6+ lane overpass that was curving to the left, thereby limiting forward vision. It was also raining, which further reduced vision. Suddenly I realized that there was a cycle rickshaw coming the wrong way in the right lane right in front of me. This was incredibly dangerous and I had barely enough time to get out his way. This cycle rickshaw guy had a deathwish! He was very close to killing himself and causing a car to have a serious accident, possible multiple cars. I have also seen cars literally reversing on these expressways with cars shooting by at 100kph to avoid missing and exit. So what do we do here? These idiots are behaving in a way that much more risky that someone with 1 or 2 drinks. But the zero tolerance and jail time is for the guy who had one drink.

Keep in mind that in the Indian context, the average policeman is corrupt. This average policeman stops any vehicle with the intent of making money. So giving the police one more way of making money is not really a good thing.


Dan,
I fully agree with your comments. But regarding rapid escalation of repeat offenders, I would be very careful. I assume that you are familiar with the 3 strikes rule like they have in California. A poor guy can get caught for stealing a loaf of bread 3 times and end in jail for 20 years. This is another "zero tolerance" policy at work.
Repeat drunk drivers should lose their privilege to drive not do jail time. Perhaps they should be required to attend an alcohol de-addiction program, which would solve the problem. If someone is an alcoholic, they would just start drinking again after getting out of jail, right?

We could get into the whole topic of the criminal justice system here, which is riddled with problems. I just do not believe that harsh punishment is necessarily a solution for many issues, not just drunk driving. Punishments need to be appropriate. These punishments need to be coupled to education, de-addiction, community service, all of which will reduce repeat offenses.

Regards,
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Old 13th July 2008, 13:10   #75
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RedMM340,

I understand the point you are trying to make, but brother if you notice the crack down is only on sat night and sunday nights.

And only during the nights. Its clearly to curb drink driving. Also if you notice one cant bribe their way out. So it means that this rule is not there to 'rip' us off our moneys.

I think this drive is wonderfull and now everyone (people who used to drink and drive) is very carefull.

This saves lives. As GTO said, its a small price to pay for 'Saving lives'.

cheers,
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