Driving under the influence of alcohol, drunk driving, or drink-driving, is the act of operating a motor vehicle (and sometimes a bicycle or similar human-powered vehicle) after having consumed alcohol (ethanol) or other drugs, to the degree that mental and motor skills are impaired. In addition to driving under the influence of alcohol and driving under the influence of other drugs, a third "DUI" offense consists of driving under the combined influence of alcohol and other drugs. The drugs causing or contributing to the impairment need not be illegal, but can consist of lawfully prescribed or over-the-counter medication. Anti-drunk-driving advertising campaigns have aimed to raise awareness of the legal situation and the dangers of driving while intoxicated. Drunk-driving is responsible for a large number of deaths, injuries, damage and accidents every year.

The specific criminal offense may be called, depending on the jurisdiction, driving while intoxicated (DWI), driving while impaired (also DWI), operating while intoxicated (OWI), operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OMVI), driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs (DUI), driving under the combined influence of alcohol and/or other drugs or drunk in charge of a vehicle. Such laws may also apply to boating, or piloting aircraft.

Historically, guilt was established by subjective tests of the driver's impairment, such as difficulty reciting the alphabet or walking a straight line, together with the arresting officer's subjective opinion. Starting with the introduction in Norway in 1936 of the world’s first per se law which made it an offense to drive with more than a specified amount of alcohol in the body, objective chemical tests have gradually supplemented the earlier purely judgmental ones.

Today's statutes commonly provide for two separate and distinct criminal offenses. The first is the traditional "drunk driving" offense, consisting of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Evidence to support this crime generally comes from the officer's observations (erratic driving, slurred speech, unsteady gait, etc.), performance on field sobriety tests, and a legal (and generally rebuttable) presumption of intoxication from a blood alcohol test result over the legal limit. The second offense is the more recent so-called "per se" offense: rather than focusing on impairment the crime consists entirely of having a given blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of driving, regardless of the individual's tolerance to alcohol. Both offenses may be charged, and the defendant may be convicted of both; if a blood alcohol test result was not obtained, only the traditional "DUI" offense will be charged.

BAC is most conveniently measured as a simple percent of alcohol in the blood by weight. It does not depend on any units of measurement. In Europe it is usually expressed as milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. However, 100 milliliters of blood weighs essentially the same as 100 milliliters of water, which weighs precisely 100 grams. Thus, for all practical purposes, this is the same as the simple dimensionless BAC measured as a percent. Since 2002 it has been illegal in all 50 US states to drive with a BAC that is 0.08% or higher.

Driving while consuming alcohol is generally illegal, though driving after drinking remains legal. In some jurisdictions it is also illegal for an open container of an alcoholic beverage to be in the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle or in some specific area of that compartment.

All states have an illegal per se limit of 0.08%. Some states also include a lesser charge — often known as driving while impaired — at a BAC of around 0.05%. Also, in all states, drivers under the drinking age of 21 have committed a drunk driving offence if they have any alcohol in their blood (set at .01% or .02% to be meaningful). DUID is driving under the influence of drugs. A third possible charge is driving under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs; this requires no particular blood-alcohol level, but only impairment as the result of the combined effects of alcohol and drugs (which may be legal or illegal).

The limit for aircraft pilots is 0.04%, and for commercial drivers 0.04% or 0.05% depending upon the jurisdiction.

A severe punishment for drunk driving is already under way in the state of Ohio, and is being looked at in California for DUI offenders convicted of aggravated vehicular homicide to qualify for capital punishment. The new laws are a result of groups of friends and family of drunk driving victims engaging in active campaigns to get the same justice as victims of other forms of murder. The logic of these laws is that drunk driving is premeditated, and because aggravated vehicular homicide is a felony in both states, the act of killing someone in the commission of such a crime qualifies for a charge of first degree murder with special circumstances. However, it is unlikely that anyone would be executed due to constitutional issues regarding the Eighth Amendment. This penalty is in addition to the regular DUI and court charges.

The effects of any alcohol consumption are exacerbated depending upon the physiological condition of the individual because of such factors as fatigue, lack of sleep, and the body's ability to dissipate alcohol at any given time.

Penalties include fines, incarceration and license suspension. Severity of the penalty is based on the circumstances surrounding the violation.

Driving under the influence is a generic term for a series of offences under the Canadian Criminal Code. The main offences are operating a motor vehicle while the ability to do so is impaired by alcohol or a drug, contrary to section 253(a) of the Criminal Code, and operating a motor vehicle while having a blood-alcohol concentration of greater than 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, contrary to section 253(b) of the Criminal Code.

The offences are usually investigated by the police coming across a driver with either an erratic driving pattern or who has been pulled over. The police make a demand that the driver give a sample of his breath into an approved screening device, which will determine the driver's blood-alcohol concentration on a preliminary, non-evidentiary basis. If the police believe on reasonable and probable grounds that the driver is committing an offence under section 253 of the Criminal Code, the police can demand that the driver go to the police station to give samples of his breath for an approved instrument test, which would be used to prosecute the driver.

The punishments for impaired driving or driving over 80 are:

* For the first offence: $600 fine, 1-year driving prohibition; or jail time
* For the second offence: 14 days jail, 2-year driving prohibition; and time in jail
* For the third or subsequent offence: 90 days jail, 3-year driving prohibition.

On Dec 15, 2005, Charly Hart of Watford, Ontario, a man with a 35-year history of impaired driving which included thirty-nine convictions, was on the occasion of his latest such conviction sentenced to six years in prison, the most severe penalty ever handed down in Canada when the offence did not involve a fatality, and the maximum sentence permitted under the law.

Road laws are state based, but all states have set the maximum BAC at 0.05%.

* Australian Capital Territory
o 0.02% for "professional" drivers (taxi, bus, dangerous goods vehicles, heavy vehicles over 4.5 tonnes, Commonwealth vehicles) and learner and P-plate drivers
o 0.05% for experienced drivers (that is drivers over 18 years of age who have been driving for more than 3 years and are not classed as "professional" drivers)

* New South Wales
o Zero for Learner and Provisional licences and 0.02% for Drivers of vehicles of "gross vehicle mass" greater than 13.9 tonnes, vehicles carrying dangerous goods or public vehicles such as a taxi or bus.
o 0.05% for all other drivers

* Northern Territory
o Zero for provisional (probationary) licence holders.
o 0.05% for all other drivers.

* Queensland
o A Zero limit applies to the drivers of trucks, buses, articulated vehicles, vehicles carrying dangerous goods, pilot vehicles,taxis, all learner drivers and provisional drivers under 25 years of age.
o 0.05% for other drivers.

* South Australia
o Zero limit for learner, provisional, probationary, heavy (greater than 15 tonne) vehicle, taxis, licensed chauffeured vehicles, dangerous goods, and bus licences.
o 0.05% for all other drivers.
o Zero limit for methamphetamine, Cannabis and MDMA.

* Tasmania
o Zero limit for learner, provisional, truck, bus, and taxi licences.
o 0.05% for all other drivers.

* Victoria
o Zero limit applies for unlicensed drivers, holders of learner permits and probationary licences, "professional" drivers, and certain relicensed drink-drivers.
o 0.05% for most other drivers.
o Zero limit for methamphetamine, Cannabis and MDMA.

* Western Australia
o 0.02% for provisional (probationary) licence holders.
o 0.05% for all other drivers.

In Australia, there are laws that allow for a police officer to stop any driver and perform a random breath test without reason.

There are also other restrictions for Victorian drivers:

o Licences cancelled for certain serious drink-driving offences may only be reissued after obtaining a court order. In such cases, the relicensed driver is subject to a zero limit for 3 years following relicensing, or for as long as the person is required to use an alcohol interlock.
o Alcohol interlocks are required whenever a repeat drink-driver is relicensed.
o A court may impose an alcohol interlock when relicensing a first offender in certain serious cases, generally when the offence involves a BAC of 0.15% or higher.
o If a doctor sees any patient who is aged 15 years or over as a result of a motor vehicle accident, the patient must allow the doctor to take a blood sample for testing for alcohol and drug content in a way that preserves the chain of evidence. The results can be used as evidence in subsequent court proceedings.


* Austria: 0.05% and 0.01% for drivers who have held a licence for less than 2 years and drivers of vehicles over 7.5 tonnes
* Belarus: 0.05%
* Belgium: 0.05%
* Bosnia-Herzegovina: 0.05%
* Bulgaria: 0.05%
* Croatia: Zero
* Czech Republic: Zero
* Denmark: 0.05%
* Estonia: 0.02%
* France: 0.05%
* Finland: 0.05%, 0.12% (aggravated)
* Germany: 0.05% and zero for drivers conducting commercial transportation of passengers; 0.11% (aggravated)
* Gibraltar: Zero
* Greece: 0.05% and 0.02% for drivers who have held a license for less than 2 years and bus drivers
* Hungary: Zero
* Iceland: 0.05%
* Ireland: 0.08%
* Italy: 0.05%
* Latvia: 0.02% for drivers with less than 2 years' experience and 0.05% for those with more than 2 years' experience
* Liechtenstein: 0.08%
* Lithuania: 0.04%
* Luxembourg: 0.08%
* Malta: 0.08%
* Netherlands: 0.02% for drivers with less than 5 years' experience and 0.05% for those with more than 5 years' experience
* Norway: 0.02%
* Poland: 0.02%
* Portugal: 0.05%
* Republic of Moldova: 0.03%
* Romania: Zero
* Russia: 0.02%
* Slovakia: Zero
* Slovenia: 0.00% for drivers with 2 years or less experience and professional drivers, 0.05% for all others.
* Spain: 0.05% and 0.03% for drivers with less than 2 years experience and drivers of freight vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, and of passenger vehicles with more than 9 seats.
* Sweden: 0.02% (up to 6 months imprisonment), 0.10% (up to 2 years imprisonment)
* Switzerland: 0.05%
* Turkey: 0.05%
* Ukraine: Zero
* United Kingdom: 0.08%.


* Argentina: 0.05%
* Belize: 0.08%
* Bolivia: 0.07%
* Brazil: 0.06%
* Canada: 0.08%
* Chile: 0.049%
* Colombia: 0.04%
* Costa Rica: 0.049%
* Cuba: Zero
* Dominican Republic: No Limit (0.05% for professional drivers)
* Ecuador: 0.07%
* El Salvador: 0.05%
* Guatemala: 0.08%
* Guyana: 0.01%
* Honduras: 0.07%
* Jamaica: 0.035%
* Mexico: 0.08%
* Nicaragua: 0.08%
* Panama: Zero
* Paraguay: 0.08%
* Peru: 0.045%
* Suriname: 0.08%
* United States: 0.08%
* Uruguay: 0.08%
* Venezuela: 0.05%


* Algeria: 0.01%
* Benin: 0.05%
* Cape Verde: 0.08%
* Central African Republic: 0.08%
* Comoros: No Limit
* Congo: No Limit
* Equatorial Guinea: Zero
* Eritrea: Zero
* Ethiopia: No Limit
* The Gambia: Zero
* Ghana: 0.08%
* Guinea: Zero
* Guinea-Bissau: 0.05%
* Kenya: 0.08%
* Malawi: Zero
* Mauritius: 0.05%
* Namibia: 0.05%
* Niger: 0.08%
* Nigeria: Zero
* Seychelles: 0.08%
* South Africa: 0.05% and 0.02% for professional drivers (trucks over 3.5 tonnes, and vehicles carrying passengers for reward) National Road Traffic Act, 1996
* Togo: No Limit
* Uganda: 0.08%
* Tanzania: 0.05%
* Zambia: 0.08%


* Armenia: Zero
* Azerbaijan: Zero
* Georgia: 0.03%

Middle East

* Iran: Zero, as drinking alcohol is illegal in Iran.
* Israel: 0.05%
* Jordan: Zero
* Kuwait: Zero, as drinking alcohol is illegal in Kuwait.
* Saudi Arabia: Zero, as drinking alcohol is illegal in Saudi Arabia.

East Asia

* China: Varies, as "Drinking and driving" and "driving while intoxicated" carry different penalties.
* Japan: 0.03%
* Republic of Korea: 0.052%

Western Pacific

* Australia: Zero for L-plate (learner licence) and P-plate (provisional licence) drivers, 0.05% for full licence
* French Polynesia: 0.05%
* Micronesia: 0.05%
* New Zealand has a limit of 0.08% for drivers over 20 years, 0.03% for those under. LTSA website
* Palau: 0.01%

Central Asia

* Kyrgyzstan: 0.05%
* Mongolia: 0.02%
* Turkmenistan: 0.033%

South Asia

* Pakistan: Zero, as drinking alcohol is illegal, though it's available.
* India: Zero, as there is no such law.
* Nepal: Zero
* Sri Lanka: 0.06%

South-East Asia

* Cambodia: 0.05%
* Laos: No Limit
* Malaysia: 0.08%
* Philippines: 0.05%
* Singapore: 0.08%
* Thailand: 0.05%

Philosophical perspectives

An overview of the philosophical approach to DUI, especially with respect to ethical and pedagogical concerns, is James B. Gould's "A Sobering Topic: Discussing Drunk Driving in Introductory Ethics" in 'Teaching Philosophy' 21:4 (December 1998), 339-360.

Gould's central point is that drunk-driving offers an ethical case that, for most people, is clear-cut in the fundamentals, familiar from everyday life, and extraordinarily complicated in the details. In other words, it's ideal for philosophical analysis at the introductory level.

He cites the few articles by academic philosophers that he could find:

* Douglas N. Husak, "Is Drunk Driving a Serious Offense?" 'Philosophy and Public Affairs' 23 (1994).
* Bonnie Steinbock, "Drunk Driving." 'Philosophy and Public Affairs' 14 (1985).
* James D. Stuart, "Deterrence, Desert and Drunk Driving," 'Public Affairs Quarterly' 3 (1989).Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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