Welcome to Seattle Washington, land of Grunge, Starbucks Coffee, Microsoft
and the Space Needle. At one time, it was known for individuality
and personal responsibility. Not any more.
Washington Democratic legislator Mike Heavy is proposing two new bills.
One is that drivers
caught with a blood alcohol level between point-zero-two and the legal
limit of point-zero- eight lose their licenses for a month. The other
one proposes that an
establishment that doesn't cut off someone who is obviously intoxicated,
and causes either herself, or someone else, to be killed or be maimed,
can be sued for damages.
He told KIRO he's braced for opposition
from the liquor industry, and in his words, "everyone who thinks
they [sic] have a right to stop for a few drinks on the way home from work."
The bill is scheduled for its first hearing Friday.
That's .02 people. That's less than a can of beer! A goddamn cheap Budweiser
beer will get your driving privileges taken away for a month!
To make matters worse, I sent out an alert to many friends who I thought
would be be interested in this. Their reaction was one of supporting these
I was thinking about this on the way home tonight. Why would they support
these ideas? Well, I have come to several conclusions that I'll now share
As for those people who think this is a good idea, I couldn't understand
why they would support this. Then it occurred to me: in this area a whole
generation has become accustomed to having its rights and privileges taken
away. So, here comes along two proposals that will take a couple of more
freedoms away (more than they realize). What the hell, they keep people
safe and they won't affect me, right? Wrong. As it was pointed out, gargling
mouthwash will give you a high alcohol reading, as will drinking cough
syrup. Still go to church? You can add communion to the list. Are you
a diabetic? Want to explain to a cop why your breath has an alcohol-tint
to it? In all cases, you won't get to drive for a month. It also goes
on your record. And guess what? It'll also qualify you for higher insurance
But hey, you happen to be a person that doesn't drive or doesn't drink.
Well, let's look at those bills for a second...
SB 5871 - DIGEST
Declares that, in any civil
action brought for damages for the injury or death of a patron of a
commercial establishment, when the injury or death is proximately caused
by the selling of alcohol to that patron, the trier of fact may consider
(1) The person's appearance
at the time the intoxicating liquor was furnished to that person including
but not limited to slurred speech and physical impairment;
(2) evidence of the amount and type of alcohol consumed; and
(3) the length of time the person remained in the establishment consuming
What this means is that a bar/nightclub/any place serving alcoholic beverages
can be sued, if it doesn't cut a person off if she obviously looks or
acts fucked up, because she might kill/maim herself, or someone else.
The problem here is this: How many times have you ordered more than just
one drink at a concert, show, or an any event for your friend or your
mate? Most people have at one time or another. Let's say that the person
that you bought the drink for is plowed. And while you agreed to drive,
this person decides she wants to go for a drive to some place else on
the other side of town. She gets into an accident, and kills someone.
Since that person had a drink at the club, the establishment may
be sued for not cutting her off (despite her not even being served by
a bartender). It'll be dragged into a costly court case, which will in
all likelihood cause the club to close. And even if the club wins, it'll probably
have to pay more in insurance, which means either higher door and beverage
prices, or it just won't bother doing anything that will set it up for
a higher chance of being sued.
Now, let's move on to the next bill.
SB 5872 - DIGEST
Provides that it is a traffic
infraction for a person to drive or be in physical control of a motor
vehicle after consuming alcohol if the person operates or is in physical
control of a motor vehicle within this state and the person:
(1) Is age twenty-one or over;
(2) has, within two hours after operating or being in physical control
of the motor vehicle, an alcohol concentration of at least 0.02 but
less than the concentration specified in RCW 46.61.502, as shown by
analysis of the person's breath or blood made under RCW 46.61.506.
Directs the department to
suspend for thirty days the license or permit to drive, or the nonresident
driving privilege, of a person found to have committed a violation of
The other causes of a .02 reading have already been pointed out, and
documented. Here, it would be a great excuse to shut an establishment
down. Here's how: Let's say I'm an ambitious city attorney who hates
rock and roll or any general form of fun. I would like nothing more than
to shut a club down (regardless of whether it's all-ages or not). But how can
I do it? Let's start with an all-ages club. All I would have to do is
get a few cops. Perhaps one or two sets to set up checkpoints around the
club. I do this randomly for two or three months, and I'll have the club
shut down two ways:
- If you've lost your license to drive, and aren't able to get someplace,
it's less revenue for clubs. And as most people with a car will attest,
they usually bring more than themselves in said vehicle. Fewer licenses,
fewer patrons. This means the club can't pay its bills.
BOOM the business is shut down.
- I can have the club shut down due to it being the source of so many
violations of this law. All I would have to say to a city council meeting
is, "Look, here's the proof. We've busted all these people." And show
them the stats.
As far as over-21 places, it's far simpler; all you need is two cops
to follow patrons to their cars, and wait until they try to drive.
In conclusion, both of these laws have good intentions. But by now, we
all know that good intentions make building material for a slippery highway
to hell. The long-term effects are just too evil to ignore.
This will not stop anyone from drunk driving any more than the current
laws do. The only thing it will do is make the government and insurance
Do you really want or need the government or another corporation
effecting your life?