Clayton Cramer has been blogging a (to him) local tragedy in which a family was killed when their vehicle was hit by a (probably) drunk driver. His most recent post has an interesting idea for a long-term punishment for people with DUI:


I’ve long felt that a person convicted of drunk driving should be limited to motorcycles for a long, long time. A motorcycle can still do some damage in a traffic accident, but generally much less than a car or a truck–and if you drive a motorcycle while drunk with any regularity, this tends to be self-correcting.

I like this. For better or worse, in most parts of the country driving a car is a necessity for making a living. Suspending drivers’ licenses for DUI convictions just leads to people driving without licenses, and consequently without insurance. In many ways it exacerbates the problem. But forcing such people onto motorcycles would limit the damage they can do in accidents while still addressing their very real need for personal transportation.

And, as Cramer observes, continued drunk driving under such circumstances is likely to result in the death of the drunk. I consider this a feature.

3 Responses to “Now there's an idea”
  1. Luke Davis says:

    An interesting question is implicitly answered in this post; the question is: Should we adjust punitive measures based either on the need of the punished or on what the punished do in response to initial punitive measures? Your supporting arguments for Cramer’s post imply an affirmative regarding both parts.

    But, it seems that a punitive judicial system should not consider the “needs” of the punished in most cases–here, suspension of the license intends to serve a two-fold purpose. The first part is to deter persons considering driving while intoxicated from doing so–based primarily on a concern for the “need” of personal transportation–and the second is to punish those who have driven drunk (a third, one might argue, is to prevent those who have done so in the past from doing so again, by virtue of them not being legally allowed to drive). Allowing DUI convicts to drive motorcycles would virtually negate the first purpose of the punitive system (as there is no danger of losing one’s license; one just loses one’s privilege of driving a car). Most of the deterrent IS the “need.”

    Also, it seems that changing laws in response to their effects is good and necessary in some cases, but not in all. In cases where punitive measures drive criminals to further, different crimes, changing the punitive measures might be a good thing. However, in cases where the punitive measures drive criminals to further crime of the same type, perhaps enforcement mechanisms need to be examined. In no case should the laws be weakened simply because the enforcement mechanism fails; likewise, in no case should more laws be added without a thorough review of the enforcement of existing laws.

  2. Luke Davis says:

    Though, killing off drunk drivers would indeed be a good feature.

  3. angryatinconsideratepeople says:

    I suggest that drunk drivers be treated the way they are in england.Caught drunk while driving no more license ever then eventually people will stop acting like idiots and realize that if they get behind the wheel they can kill maybe a mother in labor on the way to deliver her baby,or a newborn coming home from the hospital, maybe there own family they will kill. Drivers that are drunk desrve no vehicle cause obviously they are to immature for them.Also when I hear about a person that was killed while he or she was drunk behind the wheel I smile and thank the lord for getting rid of that piece of trash that could of killed a child or anyone.

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