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DUIs and passengers?(12 posts)

DUIs and passengers?mickey-mac
Jan 12, 2003 2:53 PM
I just read that Japan recently passed new drunk driving laws that include penalties for passengers riding with drunk drivers. My initial reaction was that the law seemed ridiculous. On further reflection, however, the law does make some sense. Imagine you and a buddy are at a pub. He's driven and has had a few too many. If you're also drunk and need to get home, wouldn't you be more likely to find an alternative means of transportation for you and your friend if riding with a drunk carried potential penalties? Assuming you stayed sober, wouldn't you be even more likely to insist that your friend let you drive? This certainly doesn't seem like a cure-all for drunk driving, but wouldn't such a law result in at least a minimal reduction in drunk driving?
re: DUIs and passengers?tao
Jan 12, 2003 5:30 PM
I'm all for laws that discourage drunk driving. But this puts an incredible burden on all passengers, not just people you were drinking with. What about the soccer moms, and other so-called "functional" drunks, that fool most people. If you bum a ride home with your neighbor after the kids' ball game should you be accountable if they'd been sneaking "drinks"? Or imagine you're getting a cab ride home and the cabbie runs over some guy, are you charged with manslaughter if he'd been drinking?

In a majority of the situations it seems reasonable to assume the passengers are somewhat cognizant of the drivers sobriety, but there is also a distinct set of cases where it's not only unreasonable, it may be impossible. Most police stations have officers with special training in identifying drunks, and then they resort to breath/blood tests. I don't think it's reasonable for the common person, without testing aids and training, to be more adept at identifying drunk drivers. But I could be wrong...
re: DUIs and passengers?mickey-mac
Jan 12, 2003 6:52 PM
Although I haven't read all the details, my impression is that the law is intended to punish those who knowingly accept rides with intoxicated people. I can't imagine the law is intended to punish those who end up as a passenger with a drunk driver without any reason to suspect the person is under the influence. Obviously, if you spend the entire night going pint for pint with the guy who's driving you home, that's a different scenario.
Af first blush I say, yeah, in the typical scenarioeyebob
Jan 12, 2003 8:24 PM
where you and a close friend have a few and then drive home (both drunk) that you should be cited if you too knew that he shouldn't drive, but again, that's going to be tough to prove. I'm all for getting drunks off the road. And their friends too.

We already assess fines for non seat belted passengersAlpedhuez55
Jan 13, 2003 7:14 AM
I was wondering what the penalty was there for being a passenger with a Drunk Driver. I would not think a jail term would be appropriate. I could see a civil fine being assessed though.

In Massachusetts, if you are an adult passenger in a car that is pulled over and you are not wearing a seat belt, you are issued a citation and a fine. I would have little problem with a fine being issued if you are caught in a car with a drunk driver. THey can appeal that in a hearing just like they would a speeding ticket. I would have a problem with a criminal charges which could effect things like employment though. If the passenger is a chld, maybe additional child endangerment charges should be added to the drunk driver.

As for a passenger in a a cab or bus, I think stiffer penalties should apply to someone who is caught driving drunk if they are transporting passengers. I would not put the responsibility of determining the sobriety on the passenger.

I think it is a reasonable law as long as it is enacted and enforced responsibly.

Mike Y.
Why stop there?mohair_chair
Jan 13, 2003 7:37 AM
Let's penalize everyone who was at the pub and their parents, too. And whoever sold the car.

I don't see the point of this law. If you as a passenger are drunk enough that your driving would be impaired, wouldn't that automatically mean your judgement is impaired as well? Somehow, as a drunk passenger, you are supposed to be wiser than the driver?

And what is the real point anyway? Because of this law, I choose not to ride with my drunk friend, who drives off anyway. I guess I'm safer as a result, and certainly out of legal danger because I'm not a passenger, but what has changed? There is still a drunk driver on the road.

This is idiotic.
Dram Shop Acts, Palsgraf, causation and a weird result- maybe128
Jan 13, 2003 7:59 AM
Dram acts say establishment is strictly liable if intoxication causes harm. Causation of harm extends to server doing bad thing: not stopping serving.

[Paslgraf: the a famous text book legal case that discusses the extent of harm when a person negligently causes a problem. Like if I accidently set this house on fire and next door burns, and that next door burns, and so, how many burned homes am I resonsible for?]

So if the 'passanger' does NOT stop the driver s/he is liable. Causation of harm extends extends to person NOT doing something: stopping the driver.

If the 'passanger' DOES stop the driver, and the driver dies walking into a construction trench or over the 3rd rail at the train station while walking home from the pub, is the'passenger',liable for the death?? NOT stopping this drunk friend/walker from walking?

If in the first case we're going to punish the passenger for what the driver does and the psngr doesn't do, then in the second case, where the passenger didn't stop the walker from walking home where by way of walker's intoxication he is forseeably harmed, passenger is again liable. Solution? Drink alone.
Jan 13, 2003 8:18 AM
So if the passenger really is liable for NOT stopping the driver, how much force is said passenger allowed to use to stop the driver?

Furthermore, to be considered a passenger, don't you actually have to get in the car? Just because someone promises me a ride, doesn't mean I have to accept it. If the drunk kills someone, gets arrested, and says "Joey was supposed to ride with me, but he didn't get in," do the police go arrest Joey?
and: why are there parking lots next to the bars? Decor...?128
Jan 13, 2003 8:40 AM
Hey!Captain America!! I'm getting mixed messages here! >:/

Good questions you ask there.

As to force: reasonable force I suppose. But in Japan, hmm. Why am I reminded of that lyric or commedian who asks: "Why did kamakazis wear helmets??" (what's that from??) Ok, you can use nun-chucks for 3 non-fatal blows to the head, or several incapacitating punches to the abdoman. Offering to the buy the next round is out of the question.

Furthermore: A humorous and good complication of the issue. And what's a "friend" or how is this person defined if they didn't get in the car, but should have stopped you! Now your friend is responsible. "Do you know why I pulled you over?" "Yeah, umm, Joey didn't get in the car? Right?" "That's right son. Now tell me where to find him and I'll let you go, or you're looking at 5 years."
You're absolutely correct...sn69
Jan 13, 2003 10:11 AM
Drink alone.
In the dark.
As a means to cope.
As a way to start your day.
As the only way to get to sleep at night.

...And then remember that you don't have a problem until you start going to meetings.
You're absolutely correct...128
Jan 13, 2003 10:21 AM
those meeting are the real cause: you make friends there, and the whole cycle of madness begins again.
interestingDuane Gran
Jan 13, 2003 1:22 PM
This is an interesting law. It sounds like the idea is to spread the liability of drunk driving to all occupants of the vehicle. This could have the benefit of stigmatizing drunk driving moreso, which is a good thing. The application of the law could be tricky, but I would support a law like this.

If more people had their licenses revoked then possibly bike commuting would be on the rise? Or... the general public would see cyclists as recovering drunks. ;)