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G asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw & Ethics · 10 years ago

Why is there such a horrible stigma against drunk driving?

Yes, it is dangerous, I will not deny that.

Yes, it should be kept illegal, I will not deny that either.

Yes, it is just an all around bad idea, regardless of what the law says.

Yes, DUI has killed people, including people who aren't responsible.


Studies show that distracted driving (i.e. talking/texting while driving) is equally dangerous. Yet there is no stigma against it. In some states, there isn't even a law against it.

Speeding and reckless driving even in the absence of alcohol also kills people. Yet these are punished much more lightly, and there is little stigma against it. In fact, a lot of young people seem to think speeding is cool.

Smoking cigarettes kills people, even those who don't do it. Granted, the death isn't instantaneous, but it is still a death.

So I repeat the question: Why the high stigma against DUI?


Yes, I agree it kills people. But so do the other things. Why is DUI any worse?

I have a friend who was killed by a sober speeder whom we think was talking on the phone. My friend died because of it and the guy was not charged. How is DUI any worse? These both resulted in death, and could have been easily prevented.

Update 2:

To the third responder. Talking and driving can kill someone TODAY. Why is there no stigma against that? It is your logic that makes no sense whatsoever.

Folks, none of you seem to have read the description. If you are going to respond with anger, the very least you can do is read the description.

6 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Thanks for your question.

    You're correct and not only is texting and talking while driving more dangerous, it's more dangerous to walk home drunk than driving drunk (see the new book SuperFreakonomics for the data on that). The answer is that drunk driving has become a political issue. In my opinion, it's prohibition sentiment leftover from those angry that prohibition was repealed, and some very vocal special interest groups, including MADD, have made DUI the crime, like child molestation, in the public eye, leading to punishment of offenders in this category of law way beyond what you see for similar conduct elsewhere.

    I hope that this helps, but if you have other questions, feel free to use this service to ask. And, all the best to you.

    Source(s): Orange County DUI Lawyer for over 15 years.
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  • 10 years ago

    The stigma is associated with the perception of a lifestyle that is somewhat unacceptable. People who drink are often portrayed as irresponsible degenerates who take their lives and the lives of thers in their own hands by driving drunk when the behavior could be avoided entirely. There is very little mystery about it. If someone slugs five shots of yeagher and gets behind the wheel to drive, they have made a decision to disregard the danger to others on the road. If someone gets a phone call while driving, the deicions to pick the call or respond is more of a reaction than a plan. There is a difference in perception. Which by the way is what stigma is. Perception. MANY people who have drunk driving accidents actually slow down the drinking or are borderline over the limit and make what they believe is a decision not to drive drunk. Also, and this is important, many drunk driving accidents have someone impaired who is driving, but the casue of the accident is not drunk driving. And please note that distracted driving...texting, starting to carry its own stigma. And stiffer penalties.

    Society responds to what it percieves to be society's evils. Driving drunk has taken the lives of millions of people around the world since driving began. There are generations of people who can point to incidents that go back that far. Drunk driving has had the time to earn its place as the number one killer of young people. A drunk driver is stigmatized, rightfully or not...for the sins of those who went before him or her.

    Final shot on smoking. A huge tobacco lobby has some control over the advertising and presentation of the product. The people who smoke may or may not have an affect on those who do not. It's also easy for a smoker to say "well, it wasn't MY smoking that caused damage to that third party." And they would probably be right in most cases. The nexus between smoking and inuries to others is not as clearly defined.

    As for other activities while driving, again, most of those are just in the normal course of living. Talking, turning your head to see something, even the act of driving carefully requires you to move your attention from one place to another. Things that caiuse accidents as a result are the reason we use the word accident. That's just what they are.

    Over the years, I have lost a considerable number of friends and family to accidents of all kinds. I never really much cared about stignma. There have been people who caused accidents who were drunk. Some who were not. I don't remember feeling very forgiving for them one way or another.

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  • 10 years ago

    Your logic is extremely flawed, and you sound just like somebody who is fighting a DUI ticket.

    Sure, smoking kills people, but smoking 5 cigarettes and then going out to drive will not kill anybody TODAY. Drinking 5 drinks and going out to drive may possibly kill an innocent person.

    Most people believe drinking and driving is a horrible character flaw, and you will never convince us otherwise.

    Find help.

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  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    My sister in law was killed by a drunk driver in her mid 20's. You tell me why I shouldn't feel intense hatred against people who recklessly and selfishly put other people's lives at risk through a completely preventable act.

    • Kristy4 years agoReport

      My friend was killed by a speeder. Every time I see someone going above the speed limit I think what a reckless, selfish person who is risking peoples lives !!

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  • 10 years ago

    I have always suspected that objecting to the

    deaths caused by sober driving might be next-

    if the drunks weren't so easy to hate.

    Cars are going to kill people. Public transit will kill way fewer.

    America is divided- but the right keeps them driving.

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  • 10 years ago

    Because it puts the lives and health of others in jeopardy.

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