The Joy Police on Patrol

"If you get behind the wheel of a car with any measurable amount of
alcohol, you will be dealt with in D.C. We have zero tolerance. . . .
Anything above .01, we can arrest."

So says Dennis Fair, police officer in the District of Columbia quoting Department policy.

.01 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

Debra Bolton, a DC lobbyist, found about this ludicrous, time wasting, money wasting and resource wasting policy when she was arrested for being way over the DC Lime: .03 BAC. Here story was recently outlined in a Washington Post article that highlighted DC’s anti-alcohol policy.

I’d be willing to bet my own Blood Alcohol Content hasn’t slipped below .01 since 1989.

Yet since the 1980s municipalities, States and the Federal Government have worked to lower the BAC that legally defines "drunk" For years that level had been .10 in most areas. In the 1990s the Feds passed a law that allowed states’ highway funds to be taken away if their measure of intoxication was not lowered to .08. This is sensible. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been exposed in one way or another to the kind of decimation that can occur as a result of too much alcohol in someone’s system.

But .01?

This amounts to a single glass of wine over a one hour period. Actually, it amounts to less than that. Check for yourself. For those of you who remember wine writer Jerry Mead you’ll recall that he spend a good amount of time ridiculing and denouncing all those willing to push the idea of zero tolerance for drinking. He thought it was stupid, a waste of time, anti-alcohol and he said so. And he was right. I tremble just at the thought of the kind of words Mead would have tossed DC’s way had he lived to read about a .01 BAC drunkenness standard.

The practical implications of such a policy are obvious and intended: They deter people from having a glass of wine or beer at a restaurant or a meal cap of cognac perhaps. Publicity surrounding this arrest of Ms. Bolton only makes the DC police and the Joy Police happy. They know that if the .01 policy is publicized less alcohol will be consumed. Less joy will be felt. And less civilization will be encountered by the public at large.

Posted In: Culture and Wine


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