The Instigator
FourTrouble
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
Yraelz
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Drunk driving should be legal.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
FourTrouble
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/4/2015 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,458 times Debate No: 74776
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (70)
Votes (2)

 

FourTrouble

Pro

Wylted inspired me.

See http://www.debate.org....

Comment if you are interested. Accepting the debate without approval is an automatic forfeit.
Yraelz

Con

I contend that the word, "approval" is debatable. As such I have accepted this debate. If we must argue about whether I have automatically forfeited then so be it, but I would prefer to mostly debate drunk driving, the legality of drunk driving, the word ,"should", and the word , "be".

With no intention of making arguments against a thus far non-existent case, I would simply like to thank the proponent, FourTrouble, for accepting me into this debate. Also I would like to thank DDO, the cosmos, my current occupation, a series of fortunate circumstances, and FourTrouble's acceptance guidlines for their various levels of approval when pursuing this debate. Finally, I should say that I will be attempting to limit and trivialize strictly semantic based arguments while pursuing this debate (i.e. "drunk means 0.02 or above abv").

With that I place 3 cards face down and start at gromp.
Debate Round No. 1
FourTrouble

Pro

I'd like to thank Yraelz for accepting without my approval. He's given me a great starting point for analyzing this issue. Because, what he did violated my rules and the social norms on DDO. And yet, it was a harmless violation. And harmlesss violations shouldn't be punished. The problem is the rule and social norm, not Yraelz's conduct. There's simply nothing morally culpable about what Yraelz did. And drunk driving is just like that. There's simply nothing morally culpable about having alcohol in your blood. Nothing. But I'll get to that in a second. First, a preliminary note: Yraelz and I have agreed to a tie. It doesn't matter who you think won, you must vote for a tie. That said, please feel free to give us your opinion and RFD in the comments.

== Definitions ==

I didn't have a chance to define anything before Yraelz accepted, so I'll take this opportunity to narrow the debate's scope. I'm gonna assume Yraelz accepts all definitions, because they're gonna be pretty standard, and I don't want to have a semantic debate, and he kinda put himself in this position by accepting without approval.

"Drunk" means "having a blood-alcohol level of .08 or above." "Driving" means "the control and operation of a motor vehicle." "Be," "should," and "legal" have their ordinary meaning. Basically, this debate is about the DUI laws in most states. The criminal offense is "driving while you have a blood-alcohol level of .08 or greater, regardless of whether the alcohol has had any effect on you." Yraelz must argue these are good laws; I'll argue the opposite.

== Why do we have criminal laws? ==

The underlying purposes are (1) retribution, and (2) deterrence. Retribution is the idea that there's inherent value to punishment. Deterrence is the idea that the law can discourage certain conduct through punishment.

== Why is drunk driving illegal? ==

I have no fvcking clue. Seriously. Punishing drunk drivers simply doesn't further any of the goals underlying criminal law. Retribution? Nope. There's no inherent value to punishing drunk drivers because drunk drivers aren't morally culpable. Drunk drivers don't intentionally hurt anyone. They don't intentionally drive bad. Sh!t, most drunk drivers, intentionally or unintentionally, don't actually drive bad or hurt anyone. Most drunk drivers -- statistically -- harm nobody. Most drunk drivers commit a crime simply because there's alcohol in their blood. They haven't actually done anything wrong. These aren't people who inherently deserve punishment. Retribution is about punishing people who deserve to be punished, like rapists and murders and thieves and sex traffickers.

Deterrence? Nope. It doesn't matter how strictly you punish drunk drivers, people are still gonna get drunk and drive. All the evidence -- and I'm not gonna cite sources because I don't have the time to actually go and look for them, but I know they're out there, and plus it's common sense -- shows that DUI laws don't prevent drunk driving. People still do it. They do it a lot. Most of the people I know who drink drive after drinking. And they're usually way above .08 but they drive fine and they get home safe. I suppose Yraelz might argue that the problem is we need bigger punishments for drunk drivers so that people will stop doing it. But I bet even then, people are still gonna drive drunk. And, there's also something wrong about that. Are you gonna punish drunk drivers the way you punish rapists? The moral culpability of a rapist ain't equivalent to the moral culpability of a drunk driver. Punishing them the same doesn't compute. And, even if you punish drunk drivers the same way you punish rapists, there's still no evidence that it's gonna prevent drunk driving. You're just hoping for the best.

== Implementation ==

Besides the fact that laws against drunk driving don't further the goals of criminal law, there's a bunch of practical concerns about the laws. First, there's no way for someone to know if they're blood-alcohol level is .08 or above. It's all guesswork. Punshing people for a miscalculation about their own blood-alcohol level is fvcked up. These people aren't morally culpable; they haven't done anything wrong. They just misjudged their blood-alcohol level, based on how they felt. Tons of people feel a slight buzz when they're at .08 because their tolerance is huge. If you drink even a couple times a week, then your tolerance is gonna be at the point where .08 feels like a slight buzz. And those folks are criminals when they get behind the wheel, even though they're perfectly capable of driving, all because they thought they weren't drunk (i.e. they thought they were below the limit).

Second, how are police supposed to stop drunk drivers? If they're driving bad, punish them for driving bad. We already have reckless driving laws, so the drunk driving laws are completely unnecessary. If they're driving fine, then police have no reason to stop the drunk drivers. And if police have no reason to stop the drunk drivers, then they're effectively letting tons of criminals just get away. In fact, most drunks drivers don't get stopped, because they drive perfectly fine. And, if police stop a drunk driver for bad driving, how are they supposed to determine if the driver is drunk? It's guesswork. Practically-speaking, there's tons of problems implementing these laws. And laws that leave lots of holes are ripe for police abuse -- and we know there's tons of police abuse already -- so adding drunk driving to the list of crimes just gives police an excuse to stop someone and abuse them, based on the idea that they're drunk.

== Overinclusive ==

This is a huge impact. There are tons of drunk drivers who drive safely. And tons of drivers who aren't drunk who drive recklessly. The idea behind punishing drunk drivers is ultimately -- at its core -- to punish bad drivers who make the roads unsafe. But there's tons of drivers out there who drive badly, and who drive recklessly, and who aren't drunk. And there's tons of drunk drivers -- the majority of them -- who drive perfectly safe. It's crazy to enact a criminal law that's so ridiculously overinclusive and underinclusive. And note, drunk driving is strict liability. There's none of that "reasonable doubt" stuff that applies to murder and rape. If you drive drunk and your blood-alcohol level is above .08, you're fvcked. There's no worry about punishing the innocent -- and let's be real, drunk drivers who haven't harmed anyone are fundamentally innocent. And, unlike murder laws or rape laws, drunk driving laws are underinclusive: they don't punish the problem, which is reckless drivers. Also, the real irony of DUI laws, is that they're totally unnecessary. Reckless driving laws already punish the bad drivers, so we don't need an extra layer of regulations punishing people just because they have some alcohol in their blood.

NOTE: I'm writing this round up after driving home from my local bar. I had multiple drinks. I don't know what my blood-alcohol level was but I felt a good buzz. Yet here I am, home, safe, alive.
Yraelz

Con

Much obliged FourTrouble, as always.

The Burden of the Opposition:
To be clear readers my burden in this debate is not to argue that "these are good laws" which currently govern drunk driving. Quite to the contrary my only burden, as the opposition, is to discredit the proposition position: that drunk driving should be purely legal. Any position which contradicts the legality of drunk driving or conditionalizes it, in any way, is valid.

You're probably thinking, "what does Yraelz mean by conditionalizing the legality?" Let me offer a simple yet effectively topical analogy. In the United States driving is neither legal nor illegal. Consider the statement, "driving is legal in the United States", is this a true statement? Broadly speaking it's neither true nor false; driving is absolutely not legal if you are 12 years old. Driving is not legal while under the influence, and driving is not legal without a licence. But driving is legal with a licence, and it is legal insofar as certain conditions are met (i.e. speed, direction, signaling, intoxication, etc...). Which is to say that the legality of driving is a purely conditional proposition; thus, if I can effectively prove that drunk driving should be conditionalized, and not purely legal, then I will have won this debate.

To be perfectly fair to my opponent, I will offer one final caveat. In the United States if something were to suddenly become legal, that would generally mean that it was legal with regard to previous conditional legal realities. For instance if McLarens became street legal tomorrow it would still be true that driving under the influence would be illegal, and it would also be true that driving as a 12 year old would not be legal. And yet this would be considered, via normal means, the complete legalization of McClarens. By contrast McClarens could become conditionally legalized in the United States, for instance they could become street legal but only for professional formula one drivers. This later case, quite obviously, would not be considered "the legalization of McClarens", instead it would be a conditional legalization.

Now let's address a few specific points that FourTrouble has discussed.


The Subjectivity of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC):
I will simply state the following points. FourTrouble is aware that I am a chemist pursuing my PhD at this current point in time. I believe he will take my statements at face value, though I will discuss the quantitation (if needed) in future rounds.

1. I absolutely agree that BAC is subjective and qualitative from the individuals perspective. Individuals will attain a tolerance based on consumption and a variety of personal factors. Individuals are also very poor at predicting their BAC.

2. However, BAC is extremely quantitative when using instrumentation. Breathalyzers do not have a significant error associated with them. Additionally individual can, and do, purchase personal use breathalyzers. There are other methods for quantitatively determining BAC.

3. The kicker: Most everyone reading this will agree with the anecdotal statement that alcohol has varying effects on different people. This is a statement that is independently true of concentration. For instance if we take 10 random people from the population and get each of them to a BAC of 0.08% they will all be effected differently, to some degree. The reason that they'll be effected differently has to do with neuro-inhibition processes associated with consumption of ethanol. Put succinctly, ethanol with disrupt balances between a series of neuro-inhibitors and excitatory transmitters in the human brain. How the human brain reacts to this disruption is generally dependent on the initial chemical environment of the brain and hormonal factors. For many, or even most people, the effects of alcohol (especially after the brain becomes decent at reacting to this disruption: a.k.a tolerance) are quite moderate, but for some the inhibitory effects are substantial. And for those select people the inhibitory effects may significantly decrease functionality typically required for driving, such as: reaction time, depth perception, and visual comprehension. This of course is why drunk driving remains a leading cause of death within the United States.


The Case: A Conditional Legalization of Drunk Driving:
It is already true that U.S. citizens must pass a driving test to gain their licence. I will simply suggest that they must also pass a drunk driving test to gain their drunk driving licence. The test is simple. Requisite BAC can be accurately estimated based on the body mass of any individual; actual BAC can be verified using multiple quantitative techniques. For the drunk driving test individuals of legal driving age will be required to consume the amount of alcohol required to reach a BAC of 0.08. After a period of time each applicant will then take a computerized simulated driving test (a.k.a a video game) to determine if they deserve a drunk driving licence. The test will focus on basic hand eye coordination, reaction time to realistic driving situations, and ability to comprehend severe driving conditions.

And lets just be clear here. I'm not saying that drunk driving should be legal. I'm not arguing that the legality of drunk driving is not true legality based on already existent conditionals. I'm literally stating that drunk driving should conditionally be legal for individuals who can pass a basic simulation.


Wrecking FourTrouble's Case:
There are only a few things here I need to discuss and only the first one of them is a new topic.

1. Due to the nature of alcohol, that of an inhibitor, it is not always clear to people how they are individually effected. I'll propose that many drunk driving accidents are caused by people who thought they were perfectly capable driving under the influence but it turned out that they were significantly effected. Moreover I agree with FourTrouble: in many instances drunk driving laws do little if nothing to dissuade potentially risky drivers. Thus the advent of a conditional drunk driving test is supremely useful. It offers the individual a quantitative measure of their capacity to drive under the influence. For responsible citizens this test serves as an educational indicator of what they should and should not do while under the influence. Additionally, from an empirical standpoint individuals are much much much more likely to follow laws when the difference is a simple test (read: getting a licence vs. underage drivers).

2. FourTrouble argues, "There are tons of drunk drivers who drive safely"; I absolutely agree. But there are many who don't drive safely and are potentially unaware of the gravity of their choices. FourTrouble argues, "drunk drivers who haven't harmed anyone are fundamentally innocent"; I also agree. This is why a drunk driving test is so very important. It allows the driver to know their capacity as a drunk driver which moves the moral responsibility of these situations into their court. By analogy, if you were told to press a button while blindfolded you would not be morally culpable for the outcome. But if your blindfold were to be removed and you realized that there was a 25% of killing four people you become morally culpable for pressing the button. At this point I absolutely address FourTrouble's case, "drunk driving laws are underinclusive: they don't punish the problem". The drunk driving test not only identifies the problem, but it then offers a precise venue for punishing that problem. Meanwhile the majority of people, who are fully capable of driving while under the influence, are not adversely effected.


Honestly I'm too drunk to continue debating. I'll have to rest my case until the next round.
Debate Round No. 2
FourTrouble

Pro

I stopped reading Yraelz's argument after he said "drunk driving should conditionally be legal for individuals who can pass a basic simulation." That's a good idea and I agree completely. It's also a concession, so the debate's over. I kinda feel bad for Yraelz, because it's a clever idea that deserves some merit, but it just can't be a winner in this debate.

The resolution doesn't qualify the word "legal." It doesn't say drunk driving should be legal "conditionally," nor does it say drunk driving should be legal "unconditionally." There's no indication either way. The language is ambiguous. Generally-speaking, when there's an ambiguity in a definition, and the debaters haven't agreed to a specific definition, the word should be construed with its common understanding.

I think the common understanding of "legal" includes "conditionally legal." When people say something's "legal," they usually include things that are "conditionally legal." For example, in common usage, we say that driving is "legal." Yet driving is only "conditionally legal," since it requires a license, which requires a test proving competence. Another example: practicing medicine. It's legal to practice medicine, but it requires a license. The same goes for practicing law, as well as a host of other professions. In common usage, when we use the word "legal," we usually include things that are "conditionally legal."

So, I think you should go with my definition because (1) the word "legal" includes "conditionally legal" in common usage, and (2) Yraelz accepted the debate without my approval, precluding the option of agreeing to definitions before the debate started. Ultimately, it's Yraelz's fault that he didn't clarify the definitions before the debate. He should have asked for clarificaiton before accepting. I had intended to discuss definitions with interested challengers, but Yraelz's premature acceptance precluded that option. So unfortunately, now I'm left arguing definitions instead of drunk driving, and that's simply not the debate I intended or wanted.

That's all I have to say on that matter.
Yraelz

Con

Yraelz forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
FourTrouble

Pro

You should vote me the conduct point because Yraelz accepted without approval and forfeited.
Yraelz

Con

It is obvious that FT has destroyed me.
Debate Round No. 4
70 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by FourTrouble 2 years ago
FourTrouble
Let's see it.
Posted by Yraelz 2 years ago
Yraelz
Fvck I'm going to beast mode you in round 4, you b1tch.
Posted by Yraelz 2 years ago
Yraelz
And now you get thrown into the firey abyss of directionality. R.I.P.
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
Lol, I also wrote my round up after driving home from a bar with over .08 BAC.
Posted by Yraelz 2 years ago
Yraelz
Whatever, lets tie it?
Posted by FourTrouble 2 years ago
FourTrouble
Nah. I think my arguments are better. I just don't think I have the time.

I'll tell you what. I'll do this with you under one condition. We call it a win for me lol... Or a tie at worst. I'm trying to gain Elo, cause nobody respects my debating these days, so... I gotta get on the front page with you.

And, I don't have the time to really make my arguments THAT good. Probably only gonna put in 10 or 15 minutes a round.
Posted by Yraelz 2 years ago
Yraelz
Just steal wylted's argument , but then make it better. XD
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
I couldn't steal from you. You're a little slow on the trigger.
Posted by FourTrouble 2 years ago
FourTrouble
We can do this but you jumped the gun on acceptance -- I'm not ready for it yet lol...
Posted by Yraelz 2 years ago
Yraelz
Are you sure? It's such a fun topic though... what if I don't like the other topic?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
FourTroubleYraelzTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
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Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
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Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture
Vote Placed by CookieMonster9 2 years ago
CookieMonster9
FourTroubleYraelzTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro gets conduct points because Con accepted even though Pro said that the Con needs approval before accepting the debate. Pro gets source points because he had one debate source while Con had 0 (if Con has sources bring it too my attention). Pro gets argument points because it's really hard to give Con points after he says quote "It is obvious that FT has destroyed me". Personally for me as I have said I can't vote the other way after this is said, basically the debate ended there, which it really did. If you have any questions about my voting you can contact me at cookiemonster9ddo@gmail.com