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NFL’s DUI penalties should be tied to blood-alcohol concentration

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It’s been established that the NFL wants to increase the DUI penalties for players who drive drunk, and that the NFLPA has resisted.  It’s also been established that non-players are held to a higher standard than players for violating the league’s policies.

It’s further established that the severity of the outcome of drunk driving influences the discipline.  For players, a DUI without injury to a bystander or passenger results in a two-game fine for a first offense.  When there’s a death, the precedent set in the Donté Stallworth case is a one-year suspension.

So why not also create different punishments based on the level of intoxication, regardless of the outcome?  Currently, the league draws no distinction between a 0.08 percent reading (the legal limit) and concentrations far higher.

It’s a simple fix, if the NFL can get the NFLPA to agree to it.  For a DUI based on a BAC reading in the range of, say, 0.08 percent to 0.16 percent, the penalty would remain two game checks.  For a DUI based on a percentage in the range of 0.08 to 0.16, a two-game suspension would apply.  For 0.24 percent or higher, it would be a four-game suspension.

Arguably, all three levels should be higher than that.  (Arguably, any DUI should result in at least a one-year suspension because every DUI could claim the life of an innocent person.)

With the league constantly looking for ways to improve, this is an obvious area where the NFL can acknowledge that drunk driving isn’t a pass-fail proposition, and that there are degrees above 0.08 percent that require far stiffer punishment.

And since the league isn’t bound by a labor deal with Broncos executives Matt Russell (who blew a 0.246) and Tom Heckert (whose 0.162 came nearly seven hours after the arrest), these two cases provide the NFL with the perfect opportunity to send a message that there’s a huge difference between driving drunk and driving hammered.

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73 Responses to “NFL’s DUI penalties should be tied to blood-alcohol concentration”
  1. dmartin17 says: Jul 12, 2013 10:40 AM

    “there’s a huge difference between driving drunk and driving hammered.”

    Not really.

    But this is the mindset that keeps this country divided on how seriously to take this issue.

    And I know state of mass with it’s “Buzzed driving” definitely disagrees with you.

  2. r3volution11 says: Jul 12, 2013 10:42 AM

    It doesn’t matter what BAC levels are.

    What matters is what is committed during intoxication that is illegal and/or morally wrong. That is the only thing punishment should be based on.

  3. bookofelisha10 says: Jul 12, 2013 10:42 AM

    its starting to get sickening all these repeated DUI and DWIs and no punishments. now many innocent lives have to be killed by NFL players or ruined before Mr god-ell aka mr protect the shield aka punish you for anything except drinking illegally starts suspending, fining and eventually kicked out of the nfl all together.?

  4. steelerben says: Jul 12, 2013 10:49 AM

    Should there be a distinction between driving drunk and driving hammered? Shouldn’t every case of drunk driving be dealt with in a way that recognizes the seriousness of the event?

    If the ultimate goal is to reduce the number of DUI incidents to as low as possible, then the penalty for all instances should be very stiff. There is a program in place that provides NFL players a free ride if they are under the influence. There is no excuse to get behind the wheel impaired. Everyone makes mistakes, but drunk driving isn’t a mistake. Drunk driving is intentional and could get someone killed. Just ask Josh Brent.

  5. romoscollarbone says: Jul 12, 2013 10:53 AM

    also BAC levels aren’t indicative of intoxication levels because of tolerance. I don’t drink all the often so my .08 feels different than my father’s, who drinks often.

  6. eustus says: Jul 12, 2013 10:54 AM

    What a complicated solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

  7. ken0west says: Jul 12, 2013 10:56 AM

    I rather the actual courts start punishing people for drunk driving.

  8. zimaman says: Jul 12, 2013 11:01 AM

    agree with your logical approach here Mike

    maybe a dude was just barely over the threshold? he should not get penalized the same as a dude who is completely obliterated and totally out of control of his vehicle

    only questionable area would be what do you do with those that might refuse the breathalyzer?

  9. rc33 says: Jul 12, 2013 11:01 AM

    I think they should also take into account how fast you’re driving when you rear end a cop car.
    40 MPH seems excessive.

  10. securb2013 says: Jul 12, 2013 11:02 AM

    In Mass if you are beyond twice the legal limit it is an aggravated DUI. There is a big difference between getting pulled over after having a few and driving blackout drunk.

  11. souldogdave says: Jul 12, 2013 11:02 AM

    So it’s not so bad to be a LITTLE BIT drunk? Ridiculous, don’t drink and drive.

  12. srbumblebeeman says: Jul 12, 2013 11:03 AM

    No. It should be a strict policy that is upheld for all violations. One that would make any player/coach/executive think three times before driving after a few drinks.

  13. mpops86 says: Jul 12, 2013 11:03 AM

    What a stupid idea. No, zero tolerance is the way to go. You drove drunk? Sit for four games. Second time? Eight games. And so on.

  14. Pat says: Jul 12, 2013 11:04 AM

    technically every person ticketed for driving 120MPH could claim the life of a person, too.

  15. toybkshr says: Jul 12, 2013 11:05 AM

    Under this scenario, the players(all most likely) would simply refuse to take a breathalyzer. I know I would.

  16. granadafan says: Jul 12, 2013 11:05 AM

    As the victim of a drunk driver who destroyed my car, broke my back and put my then girlfriend in a week long coma, I support the severest penalties for drunk drivers. Oh, and the driver of the other car only blew a 0.09. You’re not as good a driver as you think you are.

  17. jefbob says: Jul 12, 2013 11:08 AM

    Should there be a distinction between driving drunk and driving hammered? Shouldn’t every case of drunk driving be dealt with in a way that recognizes the seriousness of the event?

    ——

    “there’s a huge difference between driving drunk and driving hammered.”

    Not really.

    ——
    So, you really think that someone who casually had a few beers at happy hour and is hovering the .08 line and someone who was pounding beers, doing shots all night and is three times the legal limit are the same seriousness? I get it, to you driving drunk is driving drunk, but to not say one is way more serious and scary than the other is insane.

  18. vdogg says: Jul 12, 2013 11:13 AM

    BAC levels shoudnt have anything to do with it. How about adhering to the law like the rest of society?
    You do the crime?
    You do the time.
    Plain and simple.

  19. imbetterthanyou says: Jul 12, 2013 11:13 AM

    This is an absolutely ridiculous proposal. The same punishment should be implemented on ANY NFL player that is handed a DUI. A DUI is completely unacceptable for anyone, but especially someone who can far and away afford a personal driver for one night. If there are punishments based off of levels of intoxication do you not think that maybe players will toy with the line and think, “oh i only had 6 drinks, that’s probably only a 1 game suspension, IF i get caught” it will create an atmosphere of more irresponsibility and less accountability for NFL players who drink and drive. There is really no excuse for drinking and driving for anyone, but I can see a normal person drinking more than they thought and getting in a car. But for an NFL player, who has services that will drive them around…if they think they may drink anything they should plan to use that and not even think they should get in the car.
    Legal punishments for a DUI do not effect NFL Players at all. The best deterrent would be a stricter policy by the NFL to have longer, unpaid suspensions for any NFL player that gets a DUI.

  20. nyfootballgiants says: Jul 12, 2013 11:14 AM

    The challenge is, that many people have at one time or another gotten behind the wheel when they have had too much to drink, and safely gotten home.

    As a result of it, many people don’t get as concerned about this until there is an accident/injury/death involved.

    I am not justifying this, just stating what many people seem to say.

  21. steelerben says: Jul 12, 2013 11:17 AM

    Jefbob – the guy who casually had a few beers at happy hour and gets into the car to drive impaired is just as scary to me. He doesn’t believe that he’s impaired. He is still operating a two ton killing machine. Respect the fact that driving is a dangerous thing when you are sober and certainly don’t get behind the wheel when you’ve had drinks. The NFL will provide you with a ride home free of charge. Get as drunk as you want and get home safely.

    Pat – in the state of Virginia if you are ticketed doing 120MPH you face up to 20 days in jail.

  22. listenupcupcake says: Jul 12, 2013 11:18 AM

    Da MF sez:

    “(… every DUI could claim the life of an innocent person.)
    …. there’s a huge difference between driving drunk and driving hammered.”

    There’s a huge difference between these two statements. I agree with the second, which is the relevant one for the Bronco’s current issues.

    The first is PC statist sop, both inaccurate in fact and overbroad as a basis for policy (including our increasingly restrictive state laws). Risk cannot be legislated away, though the nanny state and its self-designated overseers and abetters have personal and professional stakes in selling that lie to the people.

    For example, on this basis of the first statement above you can also assert that we should all stop driving entirely, as every time anyone gets behind the wheel of a car s/he “could claim the life of an innocent person.”

    Taking this concept to its logical conclusion, we should all do nothing and live inertly, as many activities of ordinary living “could claim the life of an innocent person.” And they do – every day.

    Human life entails risk; part of that risk is in how we die. Tragedy implies neither blame nor immorality. (Telling that to a tort lawyer is like explaining freedom to a bureaucrat, or to a MAAD.) A free people knows – and we used to know – the difference between what is ordinary risk and excessive risk for the good of the whole, not just those on one side of the ledger.

  23. pftbillsfan says: Jul 12, 2013 11:18 AM

    I usually agree with creative ways that levy separate punishments based on the severity of a crime. The problem with this one is that whether someone is .08 or .24 the like hood of killing an innocent bystander is actually higher at .08 (DMV website) because people are lulled into believing they can safely drive. So in essence your penalizing someone less for just as serious of a crime.

  24. benjua18 says: Jul 12, 2013 11:21 AM

    no, the punishment should just be more severe. much more severe.

  25. peytonwantsaflag says: Jul 12, 2013 11:22 AM

    this proposal makes no sense – why convolute things?

    Hey here’s and idea- maybe what we could do is have everybody take a pre-drunk test and then they would know how everybody is effected by alcohol and they could punish them based on that – you know, like they are doing for concussions.

  26. hounds64 says: Jul 12, 2013 11:23 AM

    toybkshr says:
    Jul 12, 2013 11:05 AM
    Under this scenario, the players(all most likely) would simply refuse to take a breathalyzer. I know I would.

    Know your state’s laws. In some states a refusal means a suspended license and penalties.

  27. vinsanitynow says: Jul 12, 2013 11:26 AM

    “Arguably, any DUI should result in at least a one-year suspension because every DUI could claim the life of an innocent person.”

    So can using a cellphone to talk or text…

    That is a pretty absurd standard considering how many illegal actions could result in someone else’s death

  28. ripster65 says: Jul 12, 2013 11:26 AM

    I’m mid-40′s, 210lbs, 08 for me is nothing. .08 for a 100lb. 22yr. old female who doesn’t drink alot is hammered. Both are considered legally drunk. I bet I could handle myself on the road better than she could, but neither of us should do it and either of us could kill someone while driving under the influence.

    As far as refusing the breathalyzer, you may reconsider. Some states can get a warrant and take a blood sample. Better hope all they find in your system is alcohol. I’d bet that alot of times a blood test would yield more than just alcohol.

  29. jg725 says: Jul 12, 2013 11:28 AM

    Absolutely stupid idea – either you broke the law or you didn’t.
    You should not be punished based on “how much you broke the law by”

  30. jmason100 says: Jul 12, 2013 11:33 AM

    How about if you kill someone you get a ban for life. Josh Brent comes to mind.

  31. godofwine330 says: Jul 12, 2013 11:40 AM

    This makes sense. I mean, if a player is busted for a DUI and he blew a .08 right on the nose (I think the Browns rookie had that happen), then it should be looked at differently than someone like Heckert who blew more than twice that 8 hours later.

    It reminds me of a Navy buddy who blew a .33 the morning after while in Italy. By all intents and purposes he should have died considering what his BAC would have been 8 hours earlier, likely .5% alcohol.

  32. garyhd01 says: Jul 12, 2013 11:41 AM

    im siding with the idea of way higher gets much more, that said it should be 8 games for any 1 dui. a year for any over 2 times the legal limit. and a 2 strikes you are out policy if the first guy kicked out of the league doesn’t get their attention then we have given them too much credit for brains and they shouldn’t get all the money anyway!!

  33. FinFan68 says: Jul 12, 2013 11:44 AM

    Over the legal legal imitation is all that should really matter. The problem is that the offense of driving while drunk is tied to the league’s substance abuse program. Fighting while drunk isn’t and neither is any other possible infraction involving alcohol. Tie the BAC to the program but put the driving issue under discipline where it belongs. The league should treat refusal to submit to the test(s) as admission.

  34. jefbob says: Jul 12, 2013 11:55 AM

    steelerben -
    You must be insane. A guy who is hovering the .08 line, but is still conscious enough to realize that he has had a few beers and adjusts his driving style accordingly is just as scary as someone who may be swerving or passing out at the wheel any minute at .24 or higher? Have you ever even drank? Do you know the difference in physical capability between .08 and .24?

  35. bbrophy1 says: Jul 12, 2013 11:58 AM

    As toybkshr already said, this will only lead to players and such refusing breathalyzers and that uncooperative behavior is not the image the NFL wants to portray publically.

  36. albanyhawker says: Jul 12, 2013 12:03 PM

    I agree that your plan is as good as any.

    However, look around any stadium or at the commercials during any game, and you’ll find the real reason the league has not gotten tougher on DUI penalties.

    A large part of their income arrives via the makers of the very products that lead to DUIs.

  37. teecouch says: Jul 12, 2013 12:05 PM

    This might not be the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard, but it ranks up in the top three.
    DUI is DUI period!! ………..no such thing as being just a little bit ‘buzzed’.

  38. rdrs68 says: Jul 12, 2013 12:08 PM

    Maybe the NFL ought to stay out of this and let the courts handle any punishment. It’s like there is a dual system of justice at work here where the accused can hire a lawyer to fight the case in court but has no rights when others want to impose their own sense of justice and determine the outcome. A defendant is protected from double jeopardy in our courts but when additional punishment is meted out by the boss on top of what a court may do then it is a little heavy handed.

  39. blackstrat says: Jul 12, 2013 12:09 PM

    Yes Mr. Florio.
    I agree 100%.
    Is this a possibility, or will the NFLPA stand in the way…(again) ?

  40. steelbloggin says: Jul 12, 2013 12:10 PM

    The BAC argument is nonsense, breaking the law is breaking the law. Your position implies that there is still some scale, and consideration, by punisher and punishee that needs to be evaluated and measured. What kind of message are you trying to send? Try selling that stupidity in your own house and let me know how it goes

  41. motobus says: Jul 12, 2013 12:10 PM

    These bac levels rarely even hold up in court.

  42. wjarvis says: Jul 12, 2013 12:34 PM

    There is a huge difference between driving buzzed and driving hammered. There is also a difference between whether 0.08 will cause a person to be buzzed or hammered so tying BAC to actual level of how impaired a driver is not the way to go. Of course someone with a BAC of 0.08 can kill someone in a car, 70% of traffic fatalities don’t involve alcohol at all, a sober person can kill some one too. However, someone who is more impaired will make more mistakes driving increasing the chance for an accident to occur.

  43. belgariontheking says: Jul 12, 2013 12:36 PM

    This is so dumb.

    Driving with a .10 is no less illegal than driving with a .20. I would argue that it’s no safer either.

    Players have the NFLPA hotline and money for a cab. No reason for them (or anyone really) to drive drunk.

  44. clearblue1096 says: Jul 12, 2013 12:38 PM

    If you refuse the breath test, you have an automatic one year suspension of driving privileges, in most states.

    As soon as you refuse the the breath test, they haul your ass to the nearest hospital for a blood draw, which is not optional.

    Either way, the police will end up with your BAC.

  45. sffan75 says: Jul 12, 2013 12:39 PM

    This is a good idea, but it leaves far too much room for error. Look at Heckert; he was breathalyzed 7 hours after he drove. Let’s say a player drives drunk, gets in a crash, and is breathalyzed long after the crash. If he blows a .15, he only gets a 2 game suspension under this scenario. But while he was driving, he probably would’ve blown much higher. What does the NFL do then? They should have a blanket and strongly punitive punishment akin to Stallworth’s for all DUIs/DWIs. Driving drunk is terrible no matter how drunk you are, and it should be treated as such.

  46. tim3711 says: Jul 12, 2013 12:39 PM

    Wow. It has finally come to this. It has gotten so bad there pondering fines based on BAC levels. I love watching football and I’m a die hard fan but it’s to bad the league is made up of nothing but idiots and criminals.

  47. u4iadman says: Jul 12, 2013 12:40 PM

    Completely disagree Mike.
    You want to create an atmosphere where it’s ok to drink just a little and drive? “Hey, it’s just one paycheck if I get caught”….and then someone dies.
    Wrong/illegal is absolute.
    Get a DUI, goto jail, team suspends you for 6mo w/o pay.
    2nd DUI, jail for a year, banned from the sport.

    Harsh measures needed to save lives.

  48. truthfactory says: Jul 12, 2013 12:43 PM

    Goving these players a tiered punishment will only validate their desire to drink and drive. “I’m good if I stick with 4 drinks and I wont really be punished.” That creates a slippery slope that can easily lead to 6, 8, or 12 drinks as the night goes on.

  49. prideof10000lakes says: Jul 12, 2013 12:44 PM

    Then there should be a difference in penalties for cocaine to marijuana.

    Cocaines a hell of a drug.

  50. iced107 says: Jul 12, 2013 12:45 PM

    The only reliable test is blood – a lot of the breathalyzer s arent. I know in the state of florida in 2011, 2/3 of the machines were faulty. Some were essentially doubling the bac because it was misreading the amount of air blown in (some claimed 5 liters of air, which no human lung is capable of holding). So if you’re at .05 (legal), defaulty machines will record .1 (over the limit). Over 100 cases in tampa area had breathalyzers tossed out in october 11.

    The next question becomes – what do you do to guys who refuse the breath test

  51. gmenfan1982 says: Jul 12, 2013 12:46 PM

    The problem isn’t the punishment, it’s the definition. .08 isn’t anywhere near being under the influence. At my weight 4 avg alcohol content beers (Budweiser,etc) in 2 hours would make me .08. 4 beers in two hours impairs me as much as a sip of mouthwash.

  52. bigbensucks says: Jul 12, 2013 12:48 PM

    My dad was nearly killed when his car was rammed by a drunk driver that failed to stop at a red light. The driver was uninjured. There were mega medical bills and many hours of around the clock care at home. The driver also did not have insurance. It does not matter who you are or how much you have had to drink. Drinking and driving is a problem and is dangerous. The penalties need to be harsh to send a message. These guys can afford to hire a designated driver!

  53. izlez says: Jul 12, 2013 12:51 PM

    Love the people who just blindly argue that drunk driving is drunk driving. Have you ever drank a beer? Have you ever drank 30 beers? Guess which one you’re more likely to kill someone after.

    And it’s not like the only argument against different penalties is REDUCING the penalty for people who blow a .08…actually no one is really arguing that, the argument is to make penalties more severe than they currently are for the people who blow a .30

    …but please keep telling your personal anecdotes because laws should only exist once you’ve been effected by them.

  54. steelerben says: Jul 12, 2013 12:55 PM

    jefbob –

    No, I have not been clinically diagnosed as insane. I also did not state that having a higher BAC made you a more competent driver in any way. What I am saying is that someone very near the legal limit is likely to be more overconfident and that is scary to me. What you are doing is attempting to discredit my assertion by attacking me rather than the argument.

    As far as if I drink: I occasionally drink and rarely to excess. I also know, using an approximation, of what it takes to get around .08 BAC. I know that at that level I have NO business behind the wheel.

    Have you ever considered that perhaps the attitude that driving right at the legal limit or “just buzzed” contributes to getting behind the wheel at higher BAC? You get in after three beers, you think you are okay, and you drive home. You make it home safely and no one is harmed. So, now you are out and had four beers. Well, last time you were fine and it was only one beer. So you drive home and get home safe. Next time it is five beers and two shots. Well, are two shots really all that much more?

    I do know that a major effect of alcohol is that it increases your self confidence while decreasing your motor skill. That’s a big reason it is illegal to drink and drive. So, the more you drink, the less likely you are to make a good decision about how competent you are to drive.

  55. sidepull says: Jul 12, 2013 1:04 PM

    bookofelisha10 says:
    Jul 12, 2013 10:42 AM
    its starting to get sickening all these repeated DUI and DWIs and no punishments. now many innocent lives have to be killed by NFL players or ruined before Mr god-ell aka mr protect the shield aka punish you for anything except drinking illegally starts suspending, fining and eventually kicked out of the nfl all together
    =================================
    Agreed. Sometimes I wonder if the office doesn’t respond in the same fashion as they do to drug violations because drunk driving is so prevalent. It could be that a league office official or even goddell could wind up with a dui at some point. Not out of the realm of possibility. then what? The players would demand justice that’s for sure.

  56. omegalh says: Jul 12, 2013 1:05 PM

    That last sentence is beyond ignorant. If you drink dont drive. That simple.

  57. opiedamus says: Jul 12, 2013 1:30 PM

    I hate to agree w/a guy who’s posting name is “romoscollarbone,” but:

    “…BAC levels aren’t indicative of intoxication levels because of tolerance. I don’t drink all the often so my .08 feels different than my father’s, who drinks often.”

    and “listenupcupcake” is even more correct. There is too much $$ tied up with this in order to get the politicians to review this objectively and make a educated decision.

    Also this, driving while texting, talking, eating, make up, and for some ladies, shaving is equal to being “legally” intoxicated. Therefore, those crimes should be punished the same as all you state above.

    While we’re at it, no one should drive, we should all be forced to take public transportation at all times.

    There, I just solved the problem and increased our dependency on the government……OR we could go back to riding horses?

  58. funktron2x says: Jul 12, 2013 1:35 PM

    Dude. The law is there to handle this stuff, no need to be more draconian at the employer level.

  59. jefbob says: Jul 12, 2013 1:39 PM

    steelerben-
    I never claimed you stated a higher BAC makes someone a more competant driver. I was only stating that many people who consume only a few beers are aware that they have and make themselves more alert.

    My intention was not to attack you personally, but your assertion that someone driving at .08 and .24 is equally scary. And by your logic, it seems you should feel the same way. If, as you point out, alcohol increases your self confidence while decreasing motor skills, wouldn’t more alcohol both make you increasingly think you can drive while simultaneously decreasing your ability to do so? Thus making you a greater risk and less safe?

    The article isn’t talking about, and my argument isn’t for, making punishments lighter for borderline DUIs, it is talking about making them harsh on extreme DUIs since, by your own logic, they are in fact more dangerous. I only take issue with the statement that all DUIs are equal, when they clearly are not.

  60. NoHomeTeam says: Jul 12, 2013 1:49 PM

    mpops86 says: What a stupid idea. No, zero tolerance is the way to go.

    **************

    No. Just no.

    Zero tolerance is never the way to go.
    Zero tolerance is why your 5-year old son gets suspended from school for kissing his 5-year old “girlfriend on the cheek. Zero tolerance is why an otherwise outstanding employee is fired because he or she complemented a co-worker’s appearance at the company x-mas party. Zero tolerance is why your 85 year old father has to take his shoes off at the airport.

    Zero tolerance is lazy; it absolves people in power from having to make hard decisions and defend them.

  61. 1greatusername says: Jul 12, 2013 1:56 PM

    Tying penalties to BAC is a dumb idea. A “little bit” drunk doesn’t equate to a “little bit” dead.

    DWI is wrong and therefore penalized in our society because it’s dangerous and avoidable and stupid. Period. Does the level of danger or carelessness or stupidity escalate with BAC for every individual? Maybe. But think about this…

    ***starts rant***

    I personally have lost two people to car accidents, neither involved alcohol. Both easily avoidable. My best friend was t-boned by a guy going 12 MPH over the speed limit b/c the guy wasn’t paying attention. She was 25. My cousin was flipped out of a vehicle during a rollover when a stupid kid hit an icy bridge going too fast. She was 19.

    Neither driver in those fatalities was prosecuted. The first guy got a speeding ticket. The other must have known the sheriff or something.

    DWI awareness is important. But I’m concerned that by banging this drum too hard, we’re creating the illusion that preventing DWI= safe roads.

    (Arguably, any DUI should result in at least a one-year suspension because every DUI could claim the life of an innocent person.)

    Statements like this drive the DWI issue exclusively into the spotlight. In reality, every time you drive you could take someone’s life, or lose your own.

    Further, if I were to drive at the speed limit & within all other traffic laws at .08 here, I’d pay a fine, pay for ignition interlock modification to my car for a year, pay for a bunch of programs and classes, lose my license for up to a year, do community service or jail time up to 90 days, and I’d have a DWI on my record for 10 years.

    Both the drivers above killed people. And one of them got a ticket.

    Think about that when we’re recommending crazy-high penalties for DWI, or when we want to say “this guy has a BAC of .23 so he’s not as stupid as that guy with .24″. What?

    I’m certainly not arguing against significant consequences, but there’s absolutely no parity in traffic law penalties in general, and no parity between the energy and effort devoted to promoting the message “don’t drive drunk” and the message “don’t drive stupid” (which includes drunk). Yet the injured/dead parties from either type of accident are equally injured/dead.

    Why don’t we just advocate accountability in all circumstances? It’s tempting to structure penalties by BAC level, but that’s because it’s easy. In the big picture it’s borderline ridiculous for any system to address BAC level in one case and let someone whose sheer idiocy resulted in a fatality walk away b/c you can’t measure stupid.

    If you’re irresponsible, you suffer the consequences. So don’t drive drunk, don’t drive recklessly, and for Pete’s sake pay attention to the road, not your phone.

    *** ends rant***

  62. 6thsense79 says: Jul 12, 2013 2:12 PM

    steelerben says:
    Jul 12, 2013 11:17 AM
    Jefbob – the guy who casually had a few beers at happy hour and gets into the car to drive impaired is just as scary to me. He doesn’t believe that he’s impaired. He is still operating a two ton killing machine. Respect the fact that driving is a dangerous thing when you are sober and certainly don’t get behind the wheel when you’ve had drinks. The NFL will provide you with a ride home free of charge. Get as drunk as you want and get home safely.

    Pat – in the state of Virginia if you are ticketed doing 120MPH you face up to 20 days in jail.

    ——
    Bull. No sane person who knows what they’re talking about would equate .08 to .16 or .24. I’ve seen the difference in real life between them. At .24 you shouldn’t be walking around much less driving. At .08 most people in society can function a car fairly well. Even the law differenciates between low and high BAC. With some jurisdictions requiring automatic jail sentences for high BAC such as .16 rather than just probation. Go to any bar or NFL game. There are plenty of people hovering at .08 who drive out no problem. By the way why don’t all those officers working games set up check points outside of stadiums?

  63. crubenst says: Jul 12, 2013 2:16 PM

    If someone is speeding down the highway going the wrong direction and swerving at 80 mph, his bac will not be .08. It will be more like .30. Just saying.

  64. timbuttrum says: Jul 12, 2013 2:52 PM

    Agreed. It’s one thing if you walked out of a bar after having a beer and blowing a .081. It’s quite another to blow a .246. A BAC that high is evidence that the offender had a complete disregard for the law and the safety of innocent people.

  65. anicra says: Jul 12, 2013 3:10 PM

    Problem with BAC is that in essence it is just a number. BAC and level of physical impairment is far from absolute. There are good portion of population that can be 0.08 and show little to no impairment while others are vastly impaired at 0.03. There are so many factors from genetic, to what drug you take, or general physical tolerance. Problems arise when people assume tests are foolproof.
    Just change the word alcohol to warfarin, TCA drugs, Pain drugs, or seizure drugs. The pharmacokinetic is different for everyone.

  66. steelerben says: Jul 12, 2013 3:17 PM

    6thsense79 – The additional posts that I made, both before or after the one that you chose to quote, show that my argument is predicated on anyone being over the legal limit being a sincere concern for me. I contend that all levels of drunk driving should be treated equally and harshly so as not to marginalize the idea that getting behind the wheel intoxicated is a never should happen event.

    You do not have to be at .24 to be impaired enough to swerve out of your lane and kill someone. I find someone that is slightly buzzed, totally overconfident, and overzealous with the gas pedal just as frightening as someone that is so bombed they are swerving wildly all over the road. Granted someone at .24 that is likely to pass out is frightening, however someone that you can’t tell is impaired until they hit you is scary because they are not as easy to avoid.

    Just consider what might be more frightening to you: a person standing in the middle of the road, ranting and raving, pants around their ankles, covered in their own vomit and challenging you to a fight or someone that is straight laced, clean cut, and well kept that stabs you in the face when you walk up to them because you had no idea they were a psycho?

  67. stairwayto7 says: Jul 12, 2013 4:02 PM

    Lack of control in Denver. Strip them of 2 mid round draft picks! This will send a message to team personnel what will happen.. DO SOMETHING GOODELL!!!

  68. bicyclebuckeye says: Jul 12, 2013 4:08 PM

    I’ve always been bothered by punishment being tied to consequences of ‘wrong’ behavior, and not the behavior itself.

    If it’s wrong to get behind the wheel of a car at .24 and drive it safely home, why is it MORE wrong to drive home at .08 when you cause an accident?

    If anything, it’s the other way around. We are allowed to go out, have a meal and a couple glasses of wine, and drive home as long as we are not impaired. If it is reasonable for me to feel safe driving home and I end up blowing a .08, I’m guilty under the law, and made a mistake in judging myself sober enough to drive.

    But if I am a *****-faced .24, I have absolutely no business considering for a single moment whether I’m sober enough to drive home. My only option is to give the keys to someone sober.

    I my mind, the guy driving .24 is acting far more irresponsibly than the .08 guy, even if the latter ends up killing someone. Over the long haul, the .24 drivers are going to cause a lot more mayhem than the .08 drivers.

    The proposal seems to make some sense by tying the penalty to the BAC.

  69. steelbloggin says: Jul 12, 2013 4:50 PM

    AND THIS ONE

  70. steelbloggin says: Jul 12, 2013 4:54 PM

    THIS COMMENT IS SUBJECT TO A TWO GAME SUSPENSION

  71. cbgstylee says: Jul 12, 2013 8:01 PM

    anyone who says anything over the limit gets the book and its just black and white is naive. so you think .07 is fine just because the law picked that number? its not illegal… theres nothing to stop me from driving at .07, one could kill someone at .07 and not get a dui because its under the magic number that someone in some committee picked. you can nearly reach that number with mouthwash let alone 2 or 3 beers with dinner. BAC is a terrible gauge of impairment.

    if you get pulled over for a tail-light out and the officer is feeling frisky that night and you get a dui after you just left an hour at happy hour is not the same as crashing then driving to the next town and then crashing into a police car like some denver execs. its not black and white people.

  72. pancaketaco says: Jul 12, 2013 9:53 PM

    How many of you get suspended or fired for a non felony DUI?

  73. FinFan68 says: Jul 13, 2013 12:11 PM

    pancaketaco says:
    Jul 12, 2013 9:53 PM
    How many of you get suspended or fired for a non felony DUI?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~
    Around 90% (maybe more) of DUIs in the military involve a demotion (reduction in rank/pay grade that can take years to get back–with the permanent loss of the difference in pay until the rank is regained if it ever is) and or forfeiture of pay (up to 1/2 month pay for 2 months for field grade NJP). Some probably get covered up with minimal discipline but not so much over the last 20 years or so. That is just “in house” disciplinary measures and do not rise to the level of an actual courts-martial where the consequences can be much worse.

    When I was a security contractor, any person that got a DUI was fired. I’m sure there are other examples in the private sector.

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