Many people are troubled by the expanse of the state in the enforcement of laws against driving under the influence of alcohol. There seems to be something wrong with this picture for a number of reasons. The law is arbitrary and shifts with the political season. The perpetrators can’t really be sure if they are over or under the limit. And we all have vast experience with people who drink surprising amounts of liquor and drive all the time, but never get in accidents and do not seem to be driving in an unsafe way.
Then there are the frequent cases in which cops arrest people for DUI who are stopped for something else, like a burned-out tail light. I’ve known of people who have been arrested in their own driveways, having gotten home safely and harmed no one. They are arrested and imprisoned, a humiliating and terrible experience for anyone to go through.
Clearly, this DUI enforcement has been a boon to the police but has it really curbed drunk driving? You might consider staking out your local bar, following how much people drink, and observing how many get in cars after. I’ll just state what most everyone knows but hardly anyone says: drinking and driving is a national sport in the U.S. In the vast, vast majority of cases, no harm is done.
Murray Rothbard once told me that he thought drunk driving should be legal. I was stunned and shocked that anyone would say such a thing. But over time, I began to see his point. It is not outrageous at all. He was exactly right.