Daily Archives: January 25, 2011

Laws the GOP Should Pass #10:

Now usually I try to point out areas where the government is over regulating, over taxing, over intruding into our lives. But government does serve a positive function. It does have a responsibility to protect you from harm caused by others (it has no responsibility to protect you from yourself, and it should really learn to mind its own business in that case). So, just to switch things up, and maybe get a lot of you yelling at me, I present the following wacky off the wall idea:
You know those breathalyzer devices that people with DUI’s get put into their cars? The ones that if you have even a small amount of liquor in your system the car won’t start? Congress should pass a law that all new cars need to be made with these devices and all older cars need to have them put in within three years.
You’re probably wondering if I’ve lost my mind, but hear me out. First off you’re probably thinking that you have a presumption of innocence that you shouldn’t have to prove you’re sober to drive. Sorry. We all admit we don’t have an inherent right to drive on public roads. That’s why we get licenses to drive. That’s why we are forced to get insurance. That’s why police can set up sobriety check-points and test everyone without question or cause (and the courts uphold those checkpoints). We have to submit to all of this because we don’t have an inherent right to drive on public roads. We might have a right to drive on our own property (but really that defeats the whole point of a car). So really this is only hindering your conditional right to drive with a license if and only if you’re drunk. Certainly you don’t have a right to drive drunk. And as the government is charged with protecting us from other people this would certainly stop drunk drivers from getting onto the roads. Now the only difference between the machines that get put in cars now and what I’m proposing is that, under the current system there is a computer that can record if a person attempted to start the car while drunk. Under my proposal the government would not keep or be entitled to that information (not only is this a protection of your privacy, but there is going to be a great secondary benefit to this coming up).

So your rights aren’t violated and I’ve just stopped a third of all deaths on the road. It seems all good. But you complain, as we all learned in SuperFreakanomics that walking drunk is more dangerous than driving drunk which actually means the number of deaths will go up since many of those drunks, unable to start their cars will now go stumbling into the streets and get their boozed asses run over. Boo hoo! The true tragedy of most drunk driving fatalities is that the drunk lives (after all they’re so relaxed that the crash has next to no effect on them) and they kill other people. So I’ve shifted the deaths from the innocent to those who had a choice not to get themselves three sheets to the wind drunk. Somehow there seems more justice in this even if I haven’t really lowered the death toll (although I figure one drunk vs. a whole family in a car might actually mean in the end fewer people will die).

Now your next logical objection is that these machines are expensive. Putting them in every car in America is going to raise the price of a car. Wrong! One, I believe the main reason those machines are expensive is because of a little thing called the economies of scale. As it is now those machines only have to be produced for a rather small portion of the population who have them put in their cars after a DUI. If you put them in every car I feel the per unit cost will go down as the economies of scale dictates. So probably the price of your average car is going to go up by about $100. Not that much for the kind of added protection this law gives. But it gets better, if there are no drunks on the road, then not only are vehicular deaths going to go down, but accidents in general. And if accidents in general go down, then insurance companies are paying for fewer accidents. Which means that their profits go up, and I figure for every 2% their profits go up, then our insurance rates will go down by about 1% (competition will force them to cut their rates because there will always be one company willing to cut its rates if it feels it will get more customers). So probably you’ll actually come out ahead when the system finally balances out and you’re paying less in car insurance.
But it gets better. Since more of these machines are being made, then that means the industry that makes them will have to expand. More jobs. The economic benefits of that are self explanatory.
But it gets better still. If there are no drunks on the road, then cops can actually focus more time on violent crime and other traffic violations (the kind that come with a better per incident fundraising). Oh and traffic court has just taken a huge cut. I can’t imagine the thousands upon thousands of dollars saved in court time, public defenders, cops having to take time to go to court for DUI cases. It’s not hard to imagine that this could help the budget of almost every city in America.
Sure shyster lawyers who make a living defending in DUI cases will be hurt…but I hardly feel this is something any human cares about. Laws the GOP Should Pass #10:

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