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Author Topic: Discuss "Double Standard" Here  (Read 12601 times)

Darth Xanith

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Re: Discuss "Double Standard" Here
« Reply #20 on: August 19, 2010, 09:12:17 AM »


Do you ever hear about the blood caffeine content of a driver who's just slid into a family of 6?  Of course not, but be damned sure if the driver of a car that hit the family of 6 had a thimble of gin, it will be all over the evening news.  We don't evaluate whether or not the driver of a car was a good driver or not, but we'll go over the situation with a fine tooth comb to find the narcotics we love to hate.  It's wrong, and we ought to have the mental and emotional courage to examine it and address all the things that are wrong with it.

Oh yeah, I forgot, life is hard.  So, serve me up two fifths of prozac with a coffee chaser, so I can forget about how bad my life supposedly sucks.

Well to be fair there are 2 good reasons why alcohol is subject to the crusade against it that is:

1. It's very easy to test, since alcohol content can be measured in a person's breath in moments (although it does have a margin of error, but good breathalizers will be calibrated to account for this) allowing drivers who appear to be driving eratically to be stopped and tested within a moment. I agree with you 100% that other drugs should be similary gone after but the sad fact is that without a portable instant method of blood testing/the legal ability to allow law enforcement to use such a device it simply isnt possible to go after them for prevention's sake.

2. Alcohol can affect balance, hand to eye coordination, concentration and cause drowsyness. All of which are massive contributors to road accidents. Some statistics from the UK side on the effects of it in our country can be found here http://www.drinkdrivingfacts.com/drinkdriving/drink_driving_facts.aspx The bottom line is - alcohol has been noticed as a primary contributor to accidents for a long time now, the best driver in the world almost passing out from drinking too much is many times more likely to cause an accident then the average driver sober.

Also 2 of the drugs you mentioned, caffine and nicotine would have limited effect on an ability to drive at best. The only time I could see caffine actually causing an accident is if someone on a long road-trip is depriving themselves of sleep and thinking they can simply use caffine to keep themselves awake. But in that paticular case, stupidity as opposed to a drug is what will lead to his dumb ass falling asleep at the wheel.
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Rhapsody

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« Last Edit: August 19, 2010, 11:35:25 AM by Rhapsody »
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Darth Xanith

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Re: Discuss "Double Standard" Here
« Reply #22 on: August 19, 2010, 01:23:01 PM »

What I get for relying on wikipedia's sources I suppose, still the statistics on that 2nd link for the uk are even worse then the site I linked by pure numbers, the numbers of fatalities and serious injuries is about 1k lower but the number of minor injuries are huge (figures not mentioned in my link).
I had read the breathilizer accuracy concerns elsewhere, 20% was the figure I saw too, New Zealand actually has their calibrated to account for this (I dont know about the UK or USA's calibrations I couldnt find info on those).

Exploring that link you put up first it seems the common level of alcohol content is about .16 in those involved in fatal accidents attributed to drink driving, so the logic of testing for .08 is sound.
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Daz

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Re: Discuss "Double Standard" Here
« Reply #23 on: August 19, 2010, 10:23:48 PM »

Another point:
The law only affects you if you chose to use the road while under the influence of the narcotics. The law doesn't affect your ability to buy the alcohol, drive it home, and drink as much as you want when you get home. Once you get home, your no longer a hazard to me and everyone else on the road. The laws are not intended to restrict your intake of the legal narcotic, they are designed to keep the roads safe on Saturday nights when "Mr. Important" decides to speed after downing three glasses of wine.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2010, 10:26:54 PM by Daz »
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tardcore

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Re: Discuss "Double Standard" Here
« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2010, 03:52:14 AM »

We absolutely do pick and choose.  That's why we laugh at sitcoms that portray office workers as husks until they get their coffee, and heroin addicts as homeless, jobless, freeloading criminals.  That's why you'll never see the sitcom about a stock trader that does a couple of lines of coke before heading into the office.  Do you ever hear about the blood caffeine content of a driver who's just slid into a family of 6?  Of course not, but be damned sure if the driver of a car that hit the family of 6 had a thimble of gin, it will be all over the evening news.  We don't evaluate whether or not the driver of a car was a good driver or not, but we'll go over the situation with a fine tooth comb to find the narcotics we love to hate.  It's wrong, and we ought to have the mental and emotional courage to examine it and address all the things that are wrong with it.

Oh yeah, I forgot, life is hard.  So, serve me up two fifths of prozac with a coffee chaser, so I can forget about how bad my life supposedly sucks.

How many times have you seen coffee addiction ruin a persons life? Sure the withdrawal symptoms can sometimes be a little ugly but its hardly on the same scale as heroin, or even alcohol, in terms of negative effects. Comparing coffee to alchohol in terms of drugs is quite frankly like comparing apples and oranges. They're both drugs but the similarities end there. They are completely different drugs with completely different effects. Sure, in some (rare) situations caffiene overdose may be the cause of accidents, but the frequency with which this happens would mostly likely pale in comparison to alcohol related accidents.  Consuming alcohol WILL cause you to drive worse, even if it is a tiny amount.  Coffee is just not in the same league as alcohol and illegal narcotics.  In some people the amount of opiates contained in a simple cold and flu tablet cocktail could be enough to cause worse negative effects on driving than multiple cups of coffee, and these are tablets that dont even have enough of the active ingredient in them to warrant the addition of a drowsiness ancilliary label in Australia.

If a drug with a side effect profile like alcohol was discovered today it would be made illegal before you could even finish your beer. Governments are usually very good at covering new drugs.  Its the fact that alcohol is such an ingrained part of society and the economy that stops it from being illegal now. The best they can do is try stop people from operating heavy machinery and doing stupid shit in public while your under the influence of it.  I will readily admit the system is flawed, but changing it is no easy task regardless of how much 'mental and emotional courage' you have. Yes, getting a DUI while riding a bike is kinda stupid. Yes, its even stupider that this can affect your ability to drive a car. However, alcohol is demonized for a reason, its a legal drug with effects as bad or worse than some illegal drugs. It is simply not feasible to test for every drug that could have an effect on your driving ability.  In Australia there are over 130 drugs that need to have a label 1 on them when sold in a pharmacy. Label 1 pretty much says this medicine makes you drowsy, dont operate heavy machinery while taking it. Can you imagine getting tested for that many drugs every time you got a RBT? It would be nigh on impossible, not to mention that many of them would require blood tests, and thats just the legal drugs.  There are simply far too many, so police choose to focus on the illegal ones which, in a better world, would include alcohol. 

Also, don't make light of antidepressants. Granted, they are a very overprescribed drug class, but in the instances where they are correctly prescribed they change lives. People with actual physiological neurotransmitter inbalances that can cause them to be unable to function normally. As opposed to people that are feeling a little down cos its rainy outside.
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Vaulisel

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Re: Discuss "Double Standard" Here
« Reply #25 on: August 20, 2010, 04:52:05 AM »

As an amusing aside, my father runs an EQ monitoring laboratory, and I remember him telling me that the only bench chemical he needs to show authorisation to restock on is ethanol. Naturally, this is to stop people from trying to purchase it for drinking.

Incidentally, a small amount of alcohol will actually help elevate the level of high density lipoproteins in your plasma, which increases your ability to scavenge cholesterol/cholesterol esters from macrophages, thereby slowing the development of fatty streaks and atherosclerotic plaques in your arteries. Or at least that's what I think the lecturer was trying to say yesterday. It's all a bit hazy.
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Octale

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Re: Discuss "Double Standard" Here
« Reply #26 on: August 20, 2010, 12:28:35 PM »

Another point:
The law only affects you if you chose to use the road while under the influence of the narcotics. The law doesn't affect your ability to buy the alcohol, drive it home, and drink as much as you want when you get home. Once you get home, your no longer a hazard to me and everyone else on the road. The laws are not intended to restrict your intake of the legal narcotic, they are designed to keep the roads safe on Saturday nights when "Mr. Important" decides to speed after downing three glasses of wine.

Explain to me the existence of bars then.  Clearly, I'm supposed to also be able to use alcohol from remote sites.  Also, you do realize all the laws passed to restrict how we use the road are a drop in the bucket compared to solving the real problem by getting all the stupid people off the road by not giving them driver's licenses in the first place.  If everyone on the road was a good driver, you wouldn't need to tack on superfluous charges for using a cell phone while driving, DUI, etc.
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Tak

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Re: Discuss "Double Standard" Here
« Reply #27 on: August 20, 2010, 01:39:54 PM »

Explain to me the existence of bars then.  Clearly, I'm supposed to also be able to use alcohol from remote sites.

As has been said before, using cabs/busses/trolleys/whatever or designated drivers.

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Also, you do realize all the laws passed to restrict how we use the road are a drop in the bucket compared to solving the real problem by getting all the stupid people off the road by not giving them driver's licenses in the first place.  If everyone on the road was a good driver, you wouldn't need to tack on superfluous charges for using a cell phone while driving, DUI, etc.

That's like saying teaching everyone proper gun control would take away gun violence. It wouldn't, and drunk driving is still illegal and dangerous. Talking while on a cell phone...yeah, that's a little iffier, but I still agree with that one as well. I don't even bother trying to answer my cell phone while driving (it's a Droid and you've gotta do the finger slide thing to answer, which I can't quite do blind).
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Darth Xanith

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Re: Discuss "Double Standard" Here
« Reply #28 on: August 20, 2010, 02:18:16 PM »

Explain to me the existence of bars then.  Clearly, I'm supposed to also be able to use alcohol from remote sites.  Also, you do realize all the laws passed to restrict how we use the road are a drop in the bucket compared to solving the real problem by getting all the stupid people off the road by not giving them driver's licenses in the first place.  If everyone on the road was a good driver, you wouldn't need to tack on superfluous charges for using a cell phone while driving, DUI, etc.

Well you live in America, short of the overly metropoliton areas *everything* is spread out and remote -making that first point somewhat mute. Over here in the UK and from what travelling I've done - europe too things are more compact, and you are more likely to find bars and pubs in town/city centres or in the middle of populated areas for conveinience as opposed to out of the way places. Manchester esspecially because of the proximity of multiple universisites has a ton of bars/pubs/clubs in the city centre and provides public transport into the early hours with lots of taxi firms operating for this reason. The safety risks and law are both widespread knowledge so designated drivers and transport arrangements should be thought of if going to a place out of your way.

Your last point strikes me as somewhat strange, do you truely think a "good driver" is capable of performing under any weather condition while distracted by his mobile phone (and possibly driving one handed) or with judgement impared by alcohol or medicines which cause drowsyness? In such a situation how do you think this good driver would fare if something unexpected happened such as someone breaking ahead of him unexpectedly or a person stepping into the road who he had not noticed until that moment? Traffic laws are there for a reason, and while sometimes DUI laws and speed limits might seem excessive - they exist to ensure drivers are focused on the task of getting from A-B in a way which doesnt endager other road users or themselves.
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Octale

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Re: Discuss "Double Standard" Here
« Reply #29 on: August 21, 2010, 09:01:17 AM »

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How many times have you seen coffee addiction ruin a persons life?
Dunno.  Coffee addiction is socially acceptable, so we'll never get an accurate data on its ability to inhibit productivity, or its contribution to road rage, or to what level it inhibits a driver's ability to focus on hazards etc.  Until all addictions are created equal, making a bunch of claims about which is worse is pure posturing.

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Consuming alcohol WILL cause you to drive worse, even if it is a tiny amount.
Funny, I always found that alcohol calms me down and makes me focus on the driving task instead of 50 other things that have nothing to do with driving.  I'm far LESS distracted when driving a car after a couple of drinks.  Since they tell us now that the #1 killer on the roads is distracted driving, seems like the mandate ought to be to do whatever it takes to be focused  and calm on the road.

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Coffee is just not in the same league as alcohol and illegal narcotics.
Actually, they are in the same league.  We put them in different leagues due to the psychological discomfort that comes from picking and choosing the drugs and addictions that are funny to people and the ones that are 'destructive' enough to become reality TV shows.  All of this is done for the sake of convenience (and to make the "right" people rich, of course).  Imagine if someone had an intervention on the overbearing, prozac junkie Soccer Mom. 

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However, alcohol is demonized for a reason, its a legal drug with effects as bad or worse than some illegal drugs.
Yep, a bad driver who had a couple of drinks slid into a school bus one winter's evening.  The Mothers of those kids blamed the alcohol, instead of looking at all the contributing factors (the driver, the car, the road conditions, etc.) of the collision.  Poof, a witch hunt organization is born.  The shame is we and our lawmakers are weak willed enough to go along with it.

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As has been said before, using cabs/busses/trolleys/whatever or designated drivers.
It's unacceptable to ruin one person's night just to be compliant.  Bars exist.  I should have the ability to travel to them, consume alcohol, and then go home.  If the goal is to get people to not go to bars, then shut them down.
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