Should There be Laws Against Drinking and Driving? Flash Animation

Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance, speaking on BBC Radio 4 on the 22nd January 2013.

The excuse for this discussion was a story about an Irish local authority that wishes to relax the drinking and driving laws.

Sean argues these points:

  • That the Libertarian Alliance regards road traffic accidents as bad things.
  • That anyone who causes a road traffic accident should be effectively punished, and that drunkenness should be an aggravating factor for sentencing.
  • However, that the great majority of those punished in England for drinking and driving were not noticeably driving erratically. They tested positive in random stops by the police.
  • That stopping people without probable cause, and subjecting them to some physical test is a violation of their human rights. It is also a waste of the money we are compelled to give the police.
  • That this is equivalent in principle to making people turn their bags out on railway trains on the offchance that they are carrying stolen property.

Sean was asked by the presenter if he thought the current laws had reduced the amount of drinking and driving. Sean answered that shooting drunk drivers out of hand on the roadside would be more effective, but that it would not be done for obvious reasons.

The woman from a charity called Brake came in to say that the right to life is the most precious right. Sean decided, because he would have been silenced, not to make the following reply:

  • That states are not notably concerned about the protection of life. In the past century, thugs in uniform have been ordered by their political or military superiors to kill about 200 million people.
  • This point aside, that there are equally effective means of reducing road traffic accidents that do not require the shredding of our common law protections.

Note: Brake has been called a “fake charity” on the grounds that the majority of its income is from the taxpayers. According to Mark Wadsworth:

Their website screams fakecharity – it uses the same template as all the others, with sub-pages for ‘Home’, ‘About us’, ‘Contact us’, ‘Our supporters’ (as a variant on ‘Support us’ or ‘Donate’), ‘Jobs’ and ‘Links’.
The income in their 2007 accounts (see page 8) was as follows:
Corporate partnership £285,718 Donations £333,057 Road Safety Education £296,984 BrakeCare £75,979 Fleet Safety Forum £66,535 Research £3,360 Investment income £15,759
Their list of corporate partners seems innocuous enough. Donations include “Community Fundraising £236,319” (which might or might not be suspect). Note 3 to the accounts discloses income of about £70,000 from the Department for Transport, the Youth Justice Board, the Office for Criminal Justice Reform and the Scottish Executive. Those government departments are all duly listed on their site, along with Children in Need, which you might argue is not a fakecharity.
So far, so not so bad, really. Where it starts to stink a bit is on their list of Organisations working with Brake, which includes, along with some genuinely interested private groups, the following:
British Transport Advisory Committee Chief Fire Officer Association Child Accident Prevention Trust Community Transport Association Disaster Aftercare Services European Secure Vehicle Alliance GMB The Intensive Care Society Learn + Live Motabillity Pre-Hospital Care Never Away Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety Prospect Public & Commercial Services Union Road Operators’ Safety Council Road Safety Markings Association The Slower Speeds Initiative Transport & General Workers Union Transport Management Association of the NHS University of Huddersfield
All of which appear to be quangos, fakecharities, public sector pressure groups and/or wholly or party funded or arganised by the government (there may be exceptions and I am happy to edit that list down a bit).
So, to cut a long story short, Brake appears to be, to a large extent, a fake.

23 responses to “Should There be Laws Against Drinking and Driving?

  1. I did my bit in the broadcast via Skype, using my USB microphone. Impressive sound quality, I think.

  2. Just listened to a representative of your organisation on the above programme. He was discussing issues around drink driving. He slated the representative from Brake for being emotive. However he made a point that we wouldn’t think it right to shoot people at the roadside for being over the limit. Hardly helping his cause (which I do not agree with by the way) by contradicting his appeal to make laws in England in a rational basis.

    Please have a rethink about the issues around drink driving. Evidence shows the present laws as evolved from earlier ones have reduced collisions and injuries casused from the effects of reduced reaction times as well as his preferred point about driving erratically.


    Nick Hughes

  3. It’s a no-brainer. No one has the right, whatsoever, to act in a way that might endanger others. Responsibilities came before rights. What about gun ownership? Are you in favour of the US situation coming here. If not, why not? In the US it is a civil right. But no mature adult needs to carry a weapon, and no mature adult needs to drink and drive.

    S. N. Baker

  4. I suggest that a better approach would be to return the roads to private control (most major roads were once Turnpike Trusts) – and allow private owners to make rules for how best their property is to be used. I regard government road building as unfair competition against private railways (not that, contrary to what most people have been taught to think, we actually have major private railways in the United Kingdom – Network Rail being 100% government owned).

    As for firearms. Concealed carry is often a good idea (as studies of States in America where it is legal, compared to States where it is not legal, have shown). I doubt that drinking and driving is ever a good idea.

  5. What road building! firstly of course they has to be laws against drunk driving, but when they want to being in laws for eating a sweet containing
    alcohol it al gets a bit rediculous in every sense, jail for sherry trifle!

  6. Well sean, these nut heads you refer to would shoot anyone for anything,
    ask the woodentops, actually went they can’t find a legal way to kill humans,
    they normally spend much of the time inflicting diabolical cruelty on animals.

  7. The law as it is, should be left alone, lowering the limit to zero, will have an
    adverse effect on the economy, lock the looney tunes up who keep making
    these rediculous law’s, feed them a diet of bread and water.

  8. Dear Sir,
    I heard your effete and supercilious representative on Radio 4’s PM last night (Tuesday 22nd January) and was disgusted by his high-handed, quasi-Edwardian tone. His dismissal of the human aspect of his sensitive subject (road traffic casualties) appalled me. Is this reprehensible character typical of your outfit?
    Geoffrey Liptrot

  9. If “Geoffrey Liptrot” is a real person, his language is more “quasi-Edwardian” than Sean’s is.


  10. Why waste time with the “comments” from the show Sean?. We already know the country is full of whipped dogs who can’t wait to feel the collar around their neck.

    • Mr Ecks – Why not give some of them? Most are too illiterate to bother reproducing. But it’s worth now and again hearing the voices of those who listen to the Beeb and have been depraved and corrupted by it.

  11. It’s probably true to say that driving while under the influence of chemicals that your liver is designed to remove and detoxify and which probably impede proper nerve function in high concentrations, is probably a bad idea. Just like trying to repair the AC mains circuitry of one’s house while three-parts-sozzled.

    However, the point about libertarianism is that one might conceivably do as one pleases, so long as no harm or hurt or loss is caused to uninvolved third parties. Thus, if a drunk driver injured or killed someone, even accidentally (it’s usually the case that accident are accidental, and not deliberate like some we have “heard about” but which the police “can’t find evidence for”) then the penalties would be enormous, as is right.

    What people also forget is that in any year, about 70% of “alcohol-related fatalities” on the rods involve drunk pedestrians, or drunk cyclistNazis*, falling into the paths of moving vehicles.

    *Sorry for my continuing campaign against Nazicycling: but the current state-forced-craze for “cycling” will have to be terminated somehow, eventually: for this activity has no place in a functioning modern civilisation. The bastards don’t even need to “carry insurance”, they pay no “road tax, they go with impunity through red lights and onto pavements when they please (for you can’t just accelerate after the bastard and run him down or you’ll get fined and endorsed)…
    …and worst of all, now they go gaily along, texting with both hands off the handlebars, and often with headphones implanted so they can;t even hear you coming. (My point is that they’ve been tacitly encouraged to be like that, by the state, through nazi “helathy living programmes”, together with no sanctions on their behaviour coupled with loads against “the motorist” – as though there’s only one.)

    • I am an occasional cyclist myself. But they do, as a class, get on my tits.

      Re AC power, I once decided to wire up a lighting circuit without turning off the ring. I was quite sober – just too idle to go to the fusebox. Let’s call it a learning experience.

  12. Alway’s make sure you cut the power when working on electicity, particulary
    DC this can cause very nasty burns, this I witnessed when at colleage doing
    course on HVG mechanics, where a circuit is damaged replace the whole
    circuit from the source, repairs to circuits are often a big mistake, I hope
    sean you have learned from your experience.

  13. These cycle ginks, do indeed make me angry, what is the speed of these
    things anyway, can’t help noting when riding a motorbike in a 20 mph
    limited they have a bad habit of overtaking on the inside, like those bastard
    sinclar C5 things, alway’s trying to take shortcuts on the inside of articulated
    trailers. thank god they never caught on, the grave yards would have filled
    up quickly. Why are cycle ginks exempt from speed limits.

  14. Good idear.

  15. Switch Off
    Dump and
    “On the Safe Side”–BBC2 Trade Test colour film–can still find it on Youtube

  16. Now, Now, sean, believe me, switching off is better thn getting fried, however
    if you insist, wear Rubber Boots, not the type made in china.

  17. Surely well out of date by now, where did they get that from one might ask.

  18. Dear Sean, I’m sympathetic to your cause, but your claim that Brake is largely a fake charity needs qualification. Yes, much of its funding comes from government and quangos, but a substantial proportion comes from individual donations, largely from the families and friends of people killed by speeding or drunk drivers. That’s £333,057 hard-earned money raised by real individuals.
    I guess most of them support of lower speed limits and stricter drink driving laws. But I bet quite a few also support, what i take to be the libertarian position, namely harsher penalties for causing death from careless driving.

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