Drunk driving should be legal.
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With 1 vote and 1 point ahead, the winner is ...
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"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."
This is a normative topic, so burdens of persuasion are equal on both sides. Starting points are equal. Pro must show that drunk driving should be legal. Con must show the opposite.
- First, individuals must consume enough alcohol to reach a BAC of 0.08 or higher. We measure BAC based on the body mass of any individual using multiple quantitative techniques. Then, the drunk individual must take a driving test focused on basic hand-eye coordination, reaction time, and the ability to comprehend severe driving conditions, to determine if the individual is capable of safely driving drunk. The test includes a computerized simulation before any actual driving, and drunk individuals are held to a much higher standard than ordinary driving tests. If the individual passes the test, they earn a drunk driving license.
X Rebuttal: Pro R3: Results of a new licensure test achieve safer roads and better policing.
X.a Pro predicts deterrence by licensure test. The test yields “safer roads,” “better policing.” But Pro offers no further argument to prove the claim. Safer by what measure? Police improvement by what facts? Is it magic? All the benefit Pro offers is to the driver; neither to the road, or law enforcement.
X.a.1 Pro claims, in R1, that deterrence is “…a purpose of criminal law.” However, in rebuttal, Pro claims, in R1, “there's no evidence that adding multiple layers of criminal prohibitions leads to greater deterrence.” Multiple layers, such as a “drunk driving licensure test?” Or Pro’s R2, 2.: “DUI laws don't deter drunk driving.” To which I rebutted with the “lighthouse effect.”
XI Defense: The “lighthouse effect”
XI.a Pro argues against, yet supports deterrence without evidence. My argument is deterrence, with evidence: My R1, I.d, and R2, V.a – V.b.1. Here’s more evidence that a drunk driving test is more problematic:
XI.a.1 Pro’s drunk test has person consuming at least the legal limit of alcohol, and is then tested. First problem: Personally, I do not drink alcohol at all. The government is going to impose a practice I do not engage? Others like me [there are] have a dilemma. Only persons who do drink are allowed to have a driver’s license? On the surface, that is absurd.
XI.a.2 That issue aside, the candidate driver drinks a volume of alcohol. Currently, that person weighs 265 pounds, and, therefore, has a higher tolerance of alcohol by volume than a person 60 pounds less in weight. So, the candidate passes the test, and is issued a license. The person’s doctor advises loss of weight and sets a target of 60 pounds’ loss. The person succeeds, but, in the process, can no longer manage the same ability with the effects of alcohol consumption and causes an accident in which another driver is killed. Regardless of other existing law against taking a life, which would have been charged, anyway, the drunk driver, himself, has not been protected by the very law intended to protect him from criminal action.
XI.a.3 “Generally, the lower your body weight, the less blood and water you have. Weight loss = higher effect of alcohol.”1 What deterrence is achieved by Pro’s new test? Meanwhile, the lighthouse continues, stalwart, always lighted, always there. That some may not pay attention is the very reason we continue to have fatal traffic accidents by DUI.
XI.b Pro expects people who drink and pass his test will know the volume of alcohol they drank, and determine they should not drive. What is the difference between that suggestion, and the current minimum limit of .08? How many know they have exceeded that volume? By how they feel? That's a universal standard? It is why I rebutted that such a test is, in fact, variable in its results.
XII Rebuttals: Con R3: A list of denial
XII.a Pro alleges arguments to which I have not rebutted. Once again, Pro is skimming. My past and current rebuttals:
XII.a.1 “Drunk drivers don’t deserve punishment.” Even if Con’s new test were applied, it establishes a legal limit of alcohol consumption. Breaking it, a driver is still punished. My R2, V.b.
XII.a.2 “DUI laws don ‘t deter dangerous driving…” Refer to the lighthouse effect, my R1, I.d, and R2, V.a – V.b.1, plus R2, V.c – V.c.2, which contradicts Con’s incorrect Balko article.2, 3
XII.a.3 “DUI laws are under- and –over inclusive…” Refer to my R1, I.e – I.e.1. Pro repeats his argument by an absurdity, re-quoted from my R2, V.b.1: “Questionable speculation isn't enough to continue criminalizing acts that don't harm anyone.” Were not 10,428 killed in 2016.4 No harm?
XII.a.4 “DUI laws… overlap with reckless driving laws.” Refer to my R1, I.f.1, and R2, I.e.2 The point Pro misses is that criminal law, by design, applies compounding issues of crime: a drunk driver causes an accident because he is impaired by alcohol, and causes the deaths of people in another car. The driver committed at least three crimes. That is how the law is applied in practice, regardless of the crime; it is not unique to DUI.
XII.a.5 Pro accuses “if Con proved some amount of deterrence (he doesn’t), he fails to quantify any impact. He never says how many drunks stopped driving, or how many lives were saved.” If I have not proven deterrence [anyone remember the lighthouse?], Con argues for the deterrence of his added test, but offers no data on “how many drunks stopped driving, or how many lives were saved.”
XII.a.6 Pro claims “Con fails to distinguish between different levels of impairment.” Refer to my R1, I.e.1.B, and R2.V.b. Further, “A DUI arrest can be made on someone who was found to be driving or having the intent to drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of . 08 or higher.”5 This also demonstrates the fallacy in Con’s accusation that “Con never shows that all (or even most) drivers with a BAC of .08 cause traffic accidents or drive unsafely.” The citations of my earlier arguments, plus my cited data from NHTSA adequately raise the curtain on that claim.
XIII Rebuttal: Con R3: If you drink, don’t drive
XIII.a Con wonders if this is law. Refer to my R2, I.e. Do I cite a statute? No. Is it common sense? I do cite two examples of it being just that, regardless of law.6, 7
XIV Rebuttal: Con R3 Lighthouse deterrence
XIV.a Con accuses that the lighthouse has naught to do with the debate, yet uses an example of his own to explain his new test: a CDL [commercial driver’s license]. Would Con like to withdraw his example as not germane to the debate? I didn’t think so, and that is what the lighthouse is: an example.
XIV.b Con accuses the lighthouse effect is ineffective. Refer to my arguments, R1, I.d, and R2, V.a – V.b.1, anddefense, R3, XI, all paragraphs.
XV Defense: Recidivism
XV.a Con says recidivism is not demonstrated by current DUI law. The claim was offered by citation, NBER, which was criticized by Con as a “working paper.” However, Con ties his argument to the data I cited from NHTSA that demonstrated a reduction in traffic deaths caused by DUI.8 When .08 BAC was initiated in 2000, that year’s total deaths by DUI were 4.6 per 100,000, according to the NHTSA/FARS.9 Since then, the data indicates a leveling, and a slight rise during the next 5 years, as noted in my R2, and then a decline in 2006, which has been the general trend since then, contrary to Con’s unsubstantiated claim that vehicle deaths have increased since 2000. Deterrence and recidivism are, therefore, demonstrated.
XVI.a Con’s final argument, repeated from his R2, that, “criminalizing acts…don't harm anyone,” says, “drunk driving doesn't by legal definition involve anything dangerous.”
XVI.a.1 “Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle – car, truck, motorcycle or any other motorized vehicle – after consuming alcohol is a serious crime… Some drivers may not even show warning signs of being under the influence, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less dangerous.”10
I rest my case for this debate. The Resolution is a failure. Vote for Con.
Thanks for the debate.
We'll see what the voters think now.
Here are my sources for R3:
Right now the phrasing risks the special licensing as an exception with it still generally being illegal for the vast majority of drivers. It needlessly risks an unfavorable interpretation of the resolution against you.
Take marijuana as an example. In a state where it is criminal to use recreationally, if someone proposes legalizing it, no one says 'but it's already legal, since cancer patients may use it medicinally.'
If someone argues the right to bare arms should apply when visiting the white house, that secret service may carry loaded weapons, hardly means said weapons are generally legal there for any normal civilian.
I don't follow what you mean. "Path for legality" (presumably you mean licensing?) is not "opposed" to "general legality." It's how the regulated space of driving already works.
If doing this again I advise clarifying the resolution, as you seem to be arguing for there to be a path for legality, as opposed to general legality.
I don't assume he's correct, merely that it is a good topic. Even more so since the status quo is he's wrong.
Thank you. I should advise that, during a debate, I tend to avoid comments so that voters are not influenced by any commentary outside of the debate, itself. Strictly a personal rule b y which I mean no offense. The only exception I try to make is if I need to add my sourcing outside of the debate to conserve all characters/spaces needed within the debate, for the debate, which is allowed by DArt policy.
not really, please see my other debate with him to see why it's wrong from all angles.
My RFD is linked above.
However, to summarize: PRO argues essentially that: (1) DUI laws don't serve any interest of our criminal justice system, because (a) they lack a legitimate retributive purpose, (b) do not deter drunk driving, (c) are over- and under-inclusive and (d) aren't necessary; while contending that (2) regulation mitigates harms better, and proposing that "an additional licensing test for drunk driving" be implemented that would "mitigate a number of problems" such as actually deterring "bad drivers, which is the relevant group that we want to deter" as distinct from merely drunk drivers and would more efficiently allocate resources ("police could go back to focusing on reckless drivers rather than drunk ones").
CON, on the other hand, contends that: (1) PRO simply "assumes that criminal law serves but one purpose: retribution, or punitive justice. Criminal law actually serves three public, or social purposes: punitive, curative and preventive." (Note: I removed the Oxford comma from that quote because it irritates me. I will not, however, deduct points from CON based on his Oxford comma usage, for reasons I can discuss if the debaters are interested.) Further, CON argues that: (2) society is protected by DUI laws because DUI laws deter drunk driving (this is the most charitable and least incoherent rendering of the point CON struggled to make).
PRO wins all points other than the drunk driving license, based on the fact that he demonstrated that DUI laws lack any legitimate retributive purpose (i.e., drunk drivers don't deserve punishment); DUI laws don't deter, and the distinctions make no difference in the outcome (or if they do, CON has not established a causal nexus between those distinctions and the societal benefits he alludes to); and DUI laws are unnecessary b/c they overlap with other driving laws, such as reckless driving. Drunk driving license point is won by neither side. There are too many problems in such a test's potential application, as noted by CON. But, this point was mostly superfluous/tangential to the resolution anyway. Even if CON won this issue, PRO still wins the debate overall.