By on December 2, 2014

surrey

Can you surry, can you picnic? I’m still trying to figure that one out. But I’ll tell you this: if you drink and drive in Surrey, you’re going to be put on blast, as the kids say. (“Kids”, in this case, means “35-year-olds who listen to Eminem”, btw.)

The occasionally amusing Twitter account of the Surrey, UK road patrol is going to be naming and shaming drivers who are accused of driving impaired this holiday season. I’d be shirking my duty as TTAC’s resident putative wingnut if I didn’t point out that the cops won’t be waiting until the drivers are convicted. What’s the point, anyway, in today’s data-intensive world where Equifax will sell your employers your arrest history? Nowadays when it comes to your criminal history the nomination is the award.

Drunk driving is serious business, no mistake about it, and it continues to kill drivers at a rate several times that of its more popular and trendy younger sibling, “distracted driving”. It’s not something that should be swept under the rug… but should it be put on Twitter?

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37 Comments on “Finally, A Twitter Account Is Shaming The UK’s Holiday Drunk Drivers...”


  • avatar
    bryanska

    With all the tech being applied toward reducing distracted driving, why not apply at least the same amount of tech towards reducing drunk driving?

    I can’t understand why blood-alcohol interlocks aren’t mandated. If we’re really so serious as to suspend due process, terminate the employee, and publicly shame the offender, why not try and prevent the people from committing the crime? In the US, the top cultural behaviors are at constant odds (drinking and driving).

    In my opinion, we’re not really serious about stopping drunk driving. We’re just hoping it stops.

    • 0 avatar
      cwp

      I can’t understand why blood-alcohol interlocks aren’t mandated.

      Potential liability? I can’t imagine any car company would want to be on the receiving end of the resulting lawsuit if a sober driver trying to get someone to the emergency room was unable to disengage the interlock (whether because they were stupid or because the lock actually failed). Since the public at large doesn’t seem to be particularly invested in interlocks as such — they just want the drunk driving problem fixed — politically speaking it’s probably a lot more palatable to just come down hard on people who actually drive drunk.

    • 0 avatar
      usernamealreadyregistered

      “I can’t understand why blood-alcohol interlocks aren’t mandated.”

      Because interlocks would require that I prove, multiple times per day and to the satisfaction of a fallible electronic sensor, that I am not capable of committing one particular crime, when I have never been convicted, arrested or even suspected of that crime.

      • 0 avatar
        JK43123

        Is this any different than making us all go through TSA to board an airplane to keep people from dying?

        John

        • 0 avatar
          usernamealreadyregistered

          The airport screening comparison is a good one that I had not thought of. I do think interlocks present practical problems that the airport screening process does not, especially regarding false positives. If I trip an airport scanner, the human screener can check me out to make sure the object or substance in question does not pose a threat. If I trip an interlock, I’m stuck even if it’s a sensor error.

      • 0 avatar
        anti121hero

        At 6 am in the morning this is the last thing I want to be dealing with. See also; running late for a meeting.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      Police Commissioner John A. Anderton approves of your position and thanks you for your support.

    • 0 avatar
      insalted42

      “I can’t understand why blood-alcohol interlocks aren’t mandated.”

      Because Drunk Driving is a stupid judgement call made by the DRIVER and is in no way, shape, or form the fault of the manufacturers whose cars are driven under the influence. As cwp points out, you can’t just dump the responsibility into the laps of the manufacturers (or, for that matter, the government), when it is a crime committed by PEOPLE.

      Saying the Blood-Alcohol Locks should be mandated to prevent drunk driving is like saying everyone should wear a shirt cam at all times to prevent people from committing murders. Why does a nanny-state have to be the answer to everything nowadays? What ever happened to personal responsibility?

    • 0 avatar
      S1L1SC

      If nothing else they should be mandatory for anyone ever ticketed for DUI. At least for 5 years or so…

      It is those people that have 3-5 prior convictions for DUI, and they are still driving, that are the problem.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    I love Swing Out Sister’s cover of “Stoned Soul Picnic” the best. Especially the strings and wind section at the end. Then again, “Shapes and Patterns” was the most awesome of all their albums.

  • avatar
    7402

    Back in the 1960s and 1970s, in California, my parents used to read the drunk-driver arrests in the local daily along with the obituaries and letters to the editor. It was always funny when the local news got extremely local and we found out our next door neighbor had gone on another bender and been arrested.

    I’ll file this twitter stuff under “nothing new”.

  • avatar
    Number6

    DWI is no different than divorces these days- a hollowed-out money grab in the guise of safety. Here in Buffalo multiple repeat offenders finally make the news when they eventually murder somebody, or get caught on their 7th conviction.

    Not too long ago, an MD here was drunk, killed a teen on a skateboard, and got a single year. Mind you, he cleaned the fleshy bits off his car and was still legally drunk many hours after the wreck, while he was hiding from the cops.

    His lawyer found the 12 dumbest people in western NY.

    Spend enough and you get away with murder. Just like Ted Kennedy.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    “the cops won’t be waiting until the drivers are convicted”

    British cops don’t have breathalyzers?

    I thought we started giving them to ’em back in Lend Lease.

  • avatar
    mikey

    In Ontario, if they so much as smell, booze on you ,they can pull your ticket,for three days, and impound your car. Then they drop the dime to your insurance company. That will cost 10 percent on your premium. All, at the officers discretion.

    Look at this way..A young person takes a 8 week course at the police academy. In a heartbeat, he can smoke a Lawyer, an acountant,a truck driver, or a Doctors career, for no other reason than he takes a dislike to you.

  • avatar
    mikey

    @petezeiss….don’t get me wrong. Drunks drivers, regardless of thier position in life should be taken off the road. personally, I carry three credit cards, and a fifty dollar stash in my wallet, to cover cabs.

    I just don’t agree that we should grant Police that much power.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      “I just don’t agree that we should grant Police that much power.”

      Only in emergencies, and a drunk driver is as much an emergency as shots fired in a public place. Only sheer luck or LEO intervention can secure the situation.

      And at least fired shots give warning to bystanders to hide or flee. Drunks come out of nowhere to kill and maim.

    • 0 avatar
      ect

      mikey, I agree with you about the police.

      “Drunk driving” is more nuanced. When I was in law school, I was asked a few times to assist friends & relatives who had been ticketed for impaired driving or blowing over. When I went with them to court, almost all the defendants were regular folk who’d made a mistake, not at all the raging alcoholics that get conjured up by the MADD and others witch hunt mentality. For them, one conviction was typically enough to make them more careful going forward.

      At least at the time, there were two separate offences in the Criminal Code – impaired driving and blowing over .08 on the breathalyzer. Both carried a mandatory licence suspension and fine, plus points off your licence.

      Typically, the cops would charge a person with offences. At trial, to encourage a guilty plea, the Crown would offer to drop the impaired charge if the accused would plead to blowing over. From what I could see, it worked very well for them. But it doesn’t promote respect for the justice system.

  • avatar

    Here in CT the Southington police post everything on their facebook page even speeding tickets etc.

  • avatar
    korvetkeith

    The cops won’t have any supporters left soon, if they still have any. Even the “tough on crime” types are getting tired of the money grab. I’d like to see politicians starting to run on the platform of eliminating police and useless dead weight government employees.

  • avatar
    MrBostn

    Revoking a license is nothing. A piece of plastic doesn’t keep habitual drunks from driving.

    Light sentences for a drunk injuring/killing someone is crazy. Let em out when the victim heals.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Why only drunks? They should do that for any driver who harms someone else, regardless of the chosen form of negligence that caused it. Most collisions are caused by people who are not drunk, but just like a drunk driver they still made decisions that jeopardized the safety of others.

      I’d prefer that they focus on the results of negligence rather than the cause, and seriously punish those who have actually proven they pose a safety risk to others, at least in terms of driving privileges/rights. Serious criminal charges should only be necessary for those who ignore suspensions.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Can we have someone from the UK chime in? An acquaintance from the UK (I don’t see them often) has mentioned that it is one and done for life in the UK. I am not sure this is true, can we have someone that lives there substantiate? I was told that is why many go to the pub on bicycles so as to not risk an OUI.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    JB — I’ve always been a sucker for Laura Nyro’s unique (admittedly, an over-used adjective) compositions, but as the song says, you have to be stoned to surrey on down to the stoned soul picnic.

    In other news, perhaps the commentariat is mostly too young to remember the disastrous US experience with seat belt interlocks in the mid-1970s. The idea seemed simple enough: the engine won’t start unless the driver’s seatbelt is buckled. The execution, however, left a lot to be desire as many frustrated motorists were unable to get the cars moving. Popular revulsion killed the idea in a couple of years, if memory serves.

    I believe that the stats show that the drunk drivers who cause accidents, injuries and fatalities are those who are seriously drunk and, no doubt, chronic offenders. Thus, the ever-lower BAC advocated by folks like MADD is going to have little or no effect on drunk driving accidents, fatalities, etc. It will, however, be a boon to local revenue and to insurance companies.

    The issue is not, at what BAC you are “impaired.” Hell, you are impaired when you’ve been up 18 hours straight, when you’re having an argument with your spouse, either in the car or on a mobile phone, when your kid is screaming in the back seat, or when your bladder or bowels are about to burst. The issue is judge’s unwillingness to get repeat offenders, caught with high BAC’s off the road, in particular to jail people caught driving with no license or a suspended license that’s been revoked because of multiple DWI convictions.

    This morning I saw the Lt. Governor of Missouri complaining about the fact that no one was standing up for — or taking — the cops’ point of view in the Ferguson shooting. And I think the reason for that is not that everyone thinks that Michael Brown was a “gentle giant” who did nothing to provoke being fatally shot, it’s because most people’s interactions with the cops are increasingly unpleasant, not necessarily because of the cop’s deportment but because of the interaction itself — like finding your photo or name publicly posted as someone arrested or charged (rather than convicted) of an offense.

    One of the problems with policing of high crime, usually non-white, neighborhoods is that they are seen as an occupying force and residents are unwilling to cooperate with them.

    If this perception becomes widespread, policing will be less effective everywhere.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      “they are seen as an occupying force”

      I think you’ve cut to the bone with that. While I am every liberal’s idea of a cop-loving, racist bastard I also think you have *precisely* the dynamics of an occupation army amid permanent hostiles in large, non-white urban areas.

      Gone is the ’60s pretense of ever helping the denizens up & out of poverty and “integrating” them in mainstream American culture and industry. There *is* no more mainstream culture and industry here nor is there any hope that ghetto schools could ever adequately prepare them if such still existed.

      Having created true 3rd world conditions in our large cities we need to be cognizant of just how their inhabitants view armed representatives of the vestigial dominant culture. There will only be more of “them” and fewer of “us”.

      I don’t care about “them” but I greatly care about those of “us” who must wade into the hellholes to maintain order and protect property. Fortunately, cops at all levels are smart enough to prepare for eventualities in spite of whining from the current admin about “militarized” police forces which are exactly what we need if the violence is to be contained.

      It’s ultimately a losing game, population pressure assures that, but vital for the short run, i.e., our lifetimes.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        Deep post. Too much truth for comfort.

        Two kinds of people in the world from a law and order standpoint. The people who pay the cops and the people who are why they pay the cops.

        It was all very black and white and pleasant until, like every other organization, policing centralized, consolidated, nationalized, and suddenly the guy standing between Mike Brown and your wife home alone was also working DUI for the teetotallers, seatbelt checkpoints for Helen Lovejoy, double nickel enforcement for the peanut farmer, and we started to hate the guy too.

        Weird world.

        • 0 avatar
          Charliej

          I am an old guy and I have never liked the cops. Too many run ins with them as a youngster. Not doing anything wrong, just hanging out and being rousted becasue they thought that all young epople were juvenile delinquents. That said, the police have changed greatly in the past fifty years. When I was in college, I hitchiked home every afternoon. On the interstate. I often was given a ride by the local police. They never threatened to arrest me. I was a tall blonde white kid going to college. I was one of the good guys. If I had been black in the same circumstances, the police reaction would have been different. Today, same town, same police, white college kid gets caought with marijuana. He gets a ticket for one hundred dollars for possession. Black kid gets caought with marijuana. He gets three to five in the state pen. A felony conviction ruins a person’s life. In my home state, Alabama, a convictd felon can never get the right to vote restored without paying a very high fee to the state. I have known a lot of cops. My brother in law was a cop, until he shot and killed an unarmed kid. I know how cops are, and that is why I have no use for them at all. I know that they are necessary. A necessary evil, if you will, but they need to be reined in a bit. Too damn many civilians are being killed by cops and notheing ever happens to the murderers in blue. That has to change. There must be real punishment for murderous cops, before they will stop killing innocent people.

  • avatar
    stodge

    “Finally, A Twitter Account Is Shaming The UK’s Holiday Drunk Drivers” …. until a high ranking politician is caught DUI!

  • avatar
    Beachbunny

    A few things:

    1) If we’re serious, let’s be serious about it. Do a DUI checkpoint outside a football stadium after a game, or on a stretch of road near bars at closing time.

    2) DUI charges need teeth. Why are people getting 2+ DUIs? I hate mandatory sentencing laws and believe judges have brains (if they don’t, we need to remove them), but there should be a push for harsher penalties. First time, maybe I’d cut someone a little bit of slack. Second time? No driving for 3 years, minimum. If someone’s caught driving during that time, they should spend the next 3 years behind bars so they can’t drive or drink.

    3) TSA is a joke. Pure PR, detrimental to actual security. I say this having quite a bit of knowledge of TSA/DHS’ inner-workings and the security field. Case in point: I’ve never had to remove my shoes to enter a federal building or military installation, even in areas where security clearances are required. I’ve also been able to carry in as much water/coke/whatever. I’ve also never had a security officer at these places bark/yell orders out like the TSAholes do. There’s plenty of behind-the-scenes stuff which I can’t discuss publicly, but it’s frightening.

  • avatar
    50merc

    BMW police cars? The UK police must have too much money.

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