Should a BAL be stamped on your driver's license?

I think so.

In Illinois, the Blood Alcohol Level (BLA) is .08. Those that drink more often will be affected very little with .08. While light drinkers, may be on their deathbed at .08. I can understand that it’s good to set standards for drunk driving, but everyone feels physically incapable at different points, right?

I’ve taken numerous Breathalyzer tests at party’s, bars and such and while pulling of .08, .10 and .18’s, overall, I don’t feel that drunk to where I can’t drive. I understand that when drinking judgement is the first to go, but I still believe that everybody’s different. I also believe a lot of people have gotten a bad rap in the system because .08 was the limit, even though they were not that bad off to drive.

I propose that if you’re a drinker, you should be able to take the driver’s test twice. Once sober, then soon after, another while drunk (Don’t laugh!). If you’re unable to drive at .08, that’s the code that’s put on your license, and you’ll go through the normal court BS. Basically, a personalized BLA limit on your license. If you get plastered on a .04, then that’s what you get on a DL.

Please try not to be too MADD at me.

And the ridicule begins. 10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1…

I think that’s a great idea, though probably not practical to implement. .08 is a joke for me. I am somewhat resistant to drink and drugs. (There was a thread about this somewhere, citing some study that redheads were more resistant to drugs).

Assuming that this theory is correct, that every single person has a unique BAL at which it is still safe for them to drive (a whole ‘nother argument) what do you propose for those people who took their tests and passed at 1.4, but then had a change in tolerance? Suppose a heavy drinkin’ guy spent 2 months on antibiotics, and like a good patient, didn’t drink. He celebrates the first night off at the bar getting ploughed…he USED to be safe at 1.4, but unfortunately on this night he ceases being able to find his ass with both hands at a 1.2. Are you gonna let him drive? C’mon!

A good idea but it will never happen. I take driving very seriously even when I have been drinking. I will gladly admit that drinking slows your reflexes. But I have seen any number of presumably stone cold sober people driving to work in the morning in their SUVs while on their cell phones crossing lanes and bouncing off curbs.

Personally, I would rather meet a drinking driver on the road that is still paying attention to all those folks who are on auto-pilot and not even thinking about their driving.

YMMV

Just in case your wondering, I don’t not take full credit for the OP. Adam Corolla suggested something along these lines on LoveLine the other night. I know many of you don’t care about what Adam says. But I just felt that this would be a good topic to bring to the SDMB.

Personally, I would rather meet neither.

Personal BAL would be too hard to prove, to hard to test and to hard to implement.

Both ridiculous to implement AND a terrible idea- We set up a system that encourages people more under the influence to get behind the wheel?
Let’s review some statistics http://www.madd.org/stats/0,1056,1182,00.html
The idea that a level of impairment is acceptable to drive under is selfish. I’m arguing the devil’s advocate here to a certain extent, I’ve driven on a couple beers before and I’m sure most people have…the point is that we would create a law that on the downside could result in more accidents and deaths, and only has the upside of allowing people to drink more and then drive. I am all for drinking, but I think something is wrong if drinking is a higher priority than safety, and it’s far worse when it’s not your own safety that you risk.

We already have a certain level of discretion built into the process of prosecuting DUIs. The majority of the time, you are not pulled over unless there is some obvious flaw with your driving. If you don’t weave, speed, or otherwise drive abnormally you may be able to drive on a .08 happily for the rest of your life.

This idea ignores the fact that alcohol degrades skills at very low levels of concentrations. (E.g., “a major conclusion of this study is that by 0.04% BAC, all measures of impairment that are statistically significant are in the direction of degraded performance.”)
The prohibition isn’t limited to drunk driving. It’s driving while intoxicated that is illegal. This can be defined as driving with the loss of normal mental faculites, driving with the loss of normal physical faculties, or driving with an alcohol concentration above a set limit. Studies have shown that just about everyone is too intoxicated to drive at 0.08 or above. That doesn’t mean that you are drunk at 0.08.

The inquiry isn’t into when an individual feels he is drunk, but at what level the vast majority of humans shouldn’t operate a motor vehicle. It turns out to be a relatively low concentration of alcohol.

Plus, a person’s tolerance would change if he or she lost or gained weight. Would people have to retested on a yearly basis to guard against weight fluctuation.

Interesting question, although I don’t support the idea.

The basic premise has some merit…the idea that conceivably an individual builds up a tolerance to alcohol over time and may be less affected than less-regular drinkers at the same BAL. However, as that tolerance would continually change over time, and likely would be at least partially dependent upon your immediate environment (there is an interesting body of literature that suggests your tolerance drops dramatically when you are in unfamiliar surroundings)…you would need to continually retest your performance and continually update your BAL. I am sure people can see the practical problems with this…

Isnt the first thing that goes out the door when youre drunk is your sense of judgment? I have seen lots and lots of police videos of drunks swearing they were fine, in control and not at all drunk and immediately make a faceplant during the walk-the-line test.

Saying youre fine with a blood alcohol level of .08 is all well and good but I would rather you not drive anywhere in or near my state.

Famous last words:

“Gee, I thought I was fine, I had only one drink half an hour ago…”

Believe it or not it gets sillier than this suggestion for optional or mandatory drunk and sober driving tests. While the prospect of a drunk, with a State Trooper in the passenger’s seat as a rater, driving down the public highway to establish the drunk’s optimum level of impairment is daunting enough, the idea has at least not been floated in the state legislature.

A distinguished member of my state legislature has stood up on the floor of the House of Representatives and flat footed and with a straight face proposed that as a condition of obtaining and renewing a liquor/beer license all bars, taverns and restaurants install, at the business’s expense, a breathalyzer for the use of its customers at a nominal fee. This sort of dumb as dirt move simply invites people to drink until they are just below the state presumptive OWI level and then go out and endanger the driving public.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that in the face of pressure from Mothers Against Drunk Drivers and like groups the States and Feds may have gone a little over board, but the graduated alcohol tolerance driver’s license endorsement and the in-house breath test machine ideas are both pretty dumb.

I think that the a breathalyzer in a bar would acutally keep people from driving drunk. Lots of people don’t realize how quickly they reach the legal limit even though they think they feel fine. This would show them that no matter how sober they think they are after three beers they are over the legal limit and shouldn’t be driving.

They will place the Breathalyzer next to the fire extinquisher. If you start blowing foam, youre too damn drunk to drive.

What if someone doesn’t drink at all? Should they still be forced to get tanked up for an impairment calibration.
Here’s and idea, just don’t drink and drive. Ever.

The proposition in question is a really bad idea, because it only takes into account the likelihood of a drunk-driving accident, and not the cost. Any time there’s a realistic chance you can kill people, you should err on the side of the caution. Here, that means don’t drive drunk.

I fear, my friend, that you seriously misjudge human nature, especially the nature of young red-necks that spend their evenings sitting around in beer taverns.

You’re the one who misjudges human nature if you think only irresponsible people ever drink.

A machine like that might have kept me from drinking and driving on more than one occasion. I think I was just on the safe side of the limit, but how can you really tell?

Red-neck? What is that suppose to mean? Do you just like insulting people from the south for no reason? Sure, only red-necks like to have a couple of drinks with friends. No business people ever have cocktails.

The object of having a legal BAL is to keep people from driving when they are impared. A machine that would let people know that they are impared even though they think they aren’t could only help keep the actually impared people off the road.

Unless your problem is people driving after they have had anything to drink. In that case I think that you should be arguing for lower BALs not against a machine that tells you what your BAL is.