House Rep. Andrew J. Kandrevas (D) proposes to reduce the legal limit on ORVs from .10 to .08. Meanwhile, House Rep. Dave Pagel (R) proposes to reduce the legal limit for snowmobiles from .10 to .08. I have repeatedly asked why this is necessary for years, and I have never received an answer aside from "but the legal limit for driving a car is .08."
The real reason why these stupid laws are proposed is to earn credit with voters. "I was tough on crime. Vote for me again."
Last year, I wrote about an attempt to lower the legal limit for boating in Michigan from .10 to .08. At that time, I wrote:
I have repeatedly asked lawmakers who propose to reduce alcohol limits for boating to produce evidence that it will make Michigan waterways safer. Senator Rick Jones, while serving as a house representative, admitted that there was no statistical data available to support prior versions of his bill that would have reduced the legal limit from .10 down to .08 for boaters. At that time, Jones told me that it was my responsibility as a private citizen to present him with evidence that his proposed law would not benefit the state by lowering the bodily alcohol content (BAC) of boaters. As a drunk driving defense lawyer who stands to benefit from a law that nets my firm more business, I do not support this bill.
Keep in mind why we reduced the legal limit from .10 to .08. I have addressed this on many occasions. It was about money.
We reduced the legal limit on roadways to .08 when the federal government threatened to cut federal highway funds, despite overwhelming evidence that most people are not intoxicated at that lower level. The .08 debate was tenuous at best, relying upon accident statistics that did not unequivocally support lowering the legal limit for motor vehicles but promised to “save lives.” Most automobile accidents occur at high BAC levels, and that remains true today even after the .08 standard was adopted. Nonetheless, the debate ended with a lower alcohol level for drivers imposed by federal compulsion across the fifty states. Recently, the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) recommended reducing the legal driving limit even further to .05 because European countries have lower limits, a move that has met widespread criticism even from organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
Predicting the future, as I like to do, I also wrote this last year:
Michigan outdoor activities are not enhanced or made any safer through anti-alcohol bills being pushed by big government lawmakers who want to give police more expansive arrest powers. These lawmakers also intend to include snowmobilers and off-road ORVs without any smoldering issue that needs to be corrected. The new law is intended to be a revenue-generating device, with thousands of dollars in fines and costs being raised through the courts for each arrest. Keep in mind that these are sober people who enjoy mixing alcohol with outdoor activities, and lawmakers intend to reclassify these folks as drunk criminals. [Emphasis added.]
Nothing has changed. These are laws that are being proposed to solve a problem that simply does not exist.
It looks like these proposed laws will pass this time around, and there is little that we can do to prevent these lawmakers from magically creating more criminals through the stroke of a pen. So here is what I propose: Don't give these pandering politicians the credit that they are eagerly seeking. Call them out and tell your neighbors that you're disappointed by Andrew J. Kandrevas and you are disappointed by Dave Pagel. When they come around for little coffee meetings, ask them how they fixed the roads, produced jobs, and addressed education while they were busy vote-seeking by passing unnecessary laws.