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Dear Shredder: You're wrong about DUIs 

It would seem to me that The Shredder’s own blood alcohol level is far above the legal limit when he wrote his unbelievably uninformed column, “Quota Pie” (May 21), on driving while intoxicated.

Here are a few easy examples:

1) “It [legal limit for blood alcohol while driving] was lowered to 0.10, which many considered ridiculously low.” Really? The only group of people who would object to this level as being too low would be the irresponsibly impaired idiots who want to drink and drive. The 0.08 alcohol threshold is based on hard science. At that level, a driver’s judgment and motor control are significantly impaired. Perhaps The Shredder doesn’t consider himself intoxicated when he drinks and drives with a blood alcohol level above 0.08, but that doesn’t change the reality of its being true.

2) “The level now is so low that if you have one drink at dinner, you could be considered too intoxicated to operate a vehicle.” Wrong again. It takes an average of two to three drinks to jump over the 0.08 threshold. And, although, there are many variables that contribute to an individual’s blood alcohol level, the facts remain—regardless of what you consumed or when you consumed it, if your blood alcohol level is greater than 0.08, you cannot safely drive a car.

3) “Obviously people shouldn’t drive intoxicated—EVER—but … ” No buts Shredder. If you drink and drive and get caught, you deserve every punishment handed out. Jail, fines, classes, loss of license—all part of impressing upon you and our society that it’s not OK to risk killing and maiming people simply because you are too selfish to not drink and drive.

I worked 25 years as an emergency physician. I treated thousands of victims of drunk driving accidents. Far too many times, I took the long, painful walk into a room to inform a family that their loved one had died. That they died needlessly, that they died an easily preventable death, if only drinking drivers were not so incredibly selfish.

So Mr. Shredder, next time you choose to ridicule law enforcement, realize that their enforcement of the sensible drunk driving laws save lives. Then, feel free to have some Diet Coke with your pizza.

-- Dr. Steven Sainsbury - San Luis Obispo

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