By on March 27, 2010

Quick: Which country will have the world’s toughest DUI laws? You won’t believe it.

Despite the MADDening work of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the average inebriated American driver usually gets away if he or she passes a field sobriety test without bursting into loud laughter, or if caught with a blood alcohol content below 0.08 percent.

Russia, a country that – according to popular wisdom – runs on vodka, soon will join the growing league of zero tolerance countries. According to Der Spiegel, Russia’s President Dmitrij Medwedew introduced a law that lowers the allowed BAC in Russia from currently 0.03 percent to the nyet level of 0.0 percent. Russia will join many Eastern European countries which (surprise, surprise) already demand tea-totaling traffic participants. Most of the EU allows 0.05 percent, says Wikipedia. In the U.K. you can have a pint more: 0.08 percent.

China, the country with some of the world’s highest accident rates, will also impose stiff penalties, says China Car Times. As of April 1, drivers caught with any alcohol in their blood will lose their license. China has an odd points system that gives you 12 points to start with, and then points will be subtracted. Once you reach zero: No more driving. Don’t buckle up for safety: Your points go from 12 to 10. Driving drunk will cost you 12 points – you are out. Driving with a fake license or a fake plate did cost you only 3 points, as of April 1, this will also increase to 12 points. Your fake license will be taken away.

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19 Comments on “Tovarishchi Don’t Let Tovarishchi Drive Drunk...”

  • avatar
    Cammy Corrigan

    “demand tea-totaling traffic participants”

    I suppose drinking tea is an alternative to booze. But being “tee-total” is better.

  • avatar

    China and Russia share your affliction for a cuppa ….

    I have one right in front of me.

  • avatar

    This will merely raise the thickness of the wad you need to the notoriously honest Russian cop when he stops you. Sorta like Mexico, save for the accent.

    Of course, study after study after study shows that the average person alcohol related crash has a BAC of .014 as opposed to the .008 standard now common in the US.

    Zero-tolerance is only necessary when the government wishes to have yet another law to use against its citizens.

    • 0 avatar

      You are off by a digit. For more info, see here.

    • 0 avatar


      I realize the popular terminology is 1 decimal different. However, 30 years ago when I learned the reference points, that was the way I learned them.

      Scroll down to the chart on that link. Several countries still use the units I learned.

      To me it’s like vacuum – I learned on PSIA and kPa so I’m accustomed to them. I can convert to Torr, but I don’t think in Torr.

    • 0 avatar

      I hear ya, I gott’a buddy that talks about $150 USD can of beer. Two beers in Cancun $300 USD. By the time they sorted it out he must of sobered up,cause the cop let him drive back to his hotel.

  • avatar

    …drivers [in China] caught with any alcohol in their blood will lose their license.

    Hmmm…not a bad deal for China. Better than losing one’s life. Wonder what Boris Yeltsin would think of it?

  • avatar

    This is ridiculous. Allowing any presence of alcohol in the blood to turn into a DUI will just lead to the police turning ordinary traffic stops into DUI busts to boost conviction rates just because someone who failed to signal had a BAC of .01.

    While I obviously think driving sloshed is a bad idea all around, I think the limit should have been left at .1 BAC, and that DUI should only be enforceable as a secondary offense, i.e. someone needs to break a traffic law (such as weaving between lanes, blowing through a stop sign, speeding, whatever) to be pulled over and tested in the first place. DUI checkpoints should be outlawed, and the judges who are upholding convictions for people who weren’t even driving (just got in to turn on the heat, sleep it off in the back seat, etc) need to be disbarred, or at least brought under review.

    Between draconian DUI laws, traffic and red light cameras, outlawing of trans-fats in street food, and all of the other bits of surveillance becoming commonplace in society we are giving up too much freedom in exchange for safety. There are those who will not be happy until the only cause of death in society is ripe old age. The world can be a dangerous place, as a people we need to accept that freedoms come with certain risks and stop being so pro-actively cautious before the world becomes anymore intolerably boring.

  • avatar

    Most countries in the Middle-East (Gulf) have a ZERO tolerance on BAC.
    This means that no blood test is necessary. If a Police Officer …smells….alcohol on your breath, there is a mandatory 28 days prison sentence to be meted out. I might be mistaken, but in Saudi Arabia there is also a good lashing to be have on top.

  • avatar

    In Ontario, over .05 first offence =3 day suspension and a call to your insurance 30 days for a second 90 for a third.

    Over .08 One year suspension $1000 or more fine, mandatory retraining $500, and a one year ignition interlock, $1200 to install $100 a month monitor fees. To say nothing of what havoc it may cause to your electrical system. Insurance will double or triple for five years.Second offence, double the above plus 2 weeks in the can.

    On the US roads the cops are everywhere I usually go with the flow,but no more than 10 MPH over the limit. In Ontario the cops are few and far between. On the four laners if your not doing 75 to 80 you are hindering trafffic.

    When I was a reciever at GM, I had seasoned US truckers,tell me they had never seen anything like it in the states. “Where are all your cops”they would say

    Well I’ll tell where they are. They will have six OPP cruisers, and a mobile breathilizer set up on the off ramps,tow trucks on standby stopping all vehicles. Its called a ride program [Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere}

    The Regional Police set up on city streets, 7 or 8 cruisers 10 cops. They will sit in unmarked cruisers watching the bars.

    Meanwhile we have breakins,home invasions,street racing,drug dealers,rapes and gun fights[only the bad guys have guns in Canada]
    Due to our totally enept system of justice,that allows real criminals to walk away with a slap on the wrist. I could take an illlegal hand gun hold up a store and be in less sh– than an impaired.

    • 0 avatar

      In real terms violent crime is down** across Canada (and the US, and much of Europe), which is why we ought not to be throwing dollars at enforcement and incarceration. At the same time, incidence of drunk driving has more or less flatlined and isn’t budging save for by attrition. It’s also noted that the spectacular and usually fatal accidents are always related to alcohol.

      What’s missed, too, is that most people’s judgement (especially small men, who metabolise alcohol slowest) is impaired at 0.05, and physical impairment at 0.08. So what do you do? Do you trust that “people can handle it”? How do you do that? Bust them only after they’ve gotten into an accident?

      ** interestingly, this has been theoretically attributed to ambient lead levels dropping since the legislation of unleaded fuel.

  • avatar


    “This is ridiculous. Allowing any presence of alcohol in the blood to turn into a DUI will just lead to the police turning ordinary traffic stops into DUI busts to boost conviction rates just because someone who failed to signal had a BAC of .01. ”

    The objective has never been to make the streets safer. It is to dis-empower the average citizen by getting us all out of our cars and onto the city bus.

    • 0 avatar

      Oh, come on!

      If you don’t want to get busted for drinking and driving, don’t drink and drive. This isn’t like hidden speed cameras or New Rome-style speed limit jiggering, it’s really easy to avoid.

      This isn’t some “the gubmint gonna come make me take the bus” issue. Drunk driving is uniformly dangerous. Sucks if you live in a rural area and have to arrange a DD, but perhaps a little responsibility would be in order regardless?

    • 0 avatar

      Under the old system, don’t get drunk, and you won’t have a problem. I’m with you and I’m not advocating any Hunter S. road trips.

      It’s the whole “zero-tolerance” scenario that generates the concern.

      Have a coupla beers after work? Stay where you are for the next 3 hours.

      Dining out? No wine for you.

      Don’t have the tiramisu for dessert – there’s rum in that. you’ll never know it, but you will not be at zero.

      In fact, contrary to the old saw, all alcohol doesn’t cook out of anything. Even baked goods. ‘Most’ yes. ‘All’ no.

      “Zero-tolerance” policies inevitably lead to selective persecution, err, prosecution. Casting a net that wide always gives lots of by-catch, thereby forcing inconsistent application on the ground of said law/rule. Which is silly, since the old system worked as well as any system could.

    • 0 avatar

      Well said porschespeed.

      As I said earlier, I don’t think drinking and driving is a good idea, and I don’t advocate driving drunk, but presence the of alcohol in your system does not mean you are drunk.

      We need a limit that makes sense, around .08 to .1 seems to do the trick as that is where most people start to lose enough reaction time to make things dangerous, and we need to apply the law in a way that makes sense, but pulling people over who are driving dangerously, and if they test over the limit, arresting them. Zero tolerance and arresting people for DUIs when they aren’t even driving doesn’t many anyone safer.

    • 0 avatar

      Your right Psar, I don’t want to get busted for impaired. Cabs are cheap compared to the cost of a DUI. And I love to walk. However this zero tolerance thing is IMHO overkill.

  • avatar

    By the way, that video is too funny. But I question whether or not it’s real. No matter, I laughed anyway.

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