The right solution, however, is not to push the artificial line back farther.
Instead we should get rid of it entirely by repealing drunk driving laws.
By contrast, a driver who is impaired when he's pulled over, but who stopped drinking an hour or so before, benefits from the delay, since his BAC is falling by the time he arrives at the hospital.
Many states have tried to solve this problem by claiming another invasive power: They are now allowing police to forcibly take a blood sample on the side of the road.
Perversely, the time lapse can have the effect of protecting guiltier motorists.
Imagine a driver pulled over or stopped at a checkpoint after having "one for the road," knowing his house is a short drive away and the last drink won't kick in until he's sitting on his couch.Last week Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo advocated creating a new criminal offense: "driving while ability impaired." The problem with the current Texas law prohibiting "driving while intoxicated" (DWI), Acevedo explained, is that it doesn't allow him to arrest a driver whose blood-alcohol content (BAC) is below 0.08 percent without additional evidence of impairment."People sometimes focus on how many drinks they can have before they'll go to jail," Acevedo told the Austin-American "It varies….A person may be intoxicated at 0.05, and you don't want them out driving." Acevedo wants to be able to arrest people with BAC levels as low as 0.05 percent, and he may have support for that idea in the state legislature.These ever-expanding enforcement powers miss the point: The threat posed by drunk driving comes not from drinking per se but from the impairment drinking can cause.That fact has been lost in the rush to demonize people who have even a single drink before getting behind the wheel (exemplified by the shift in the government's message from "Don't Drive Drunk" to "Don't Drink and Drive").If our ultimate goals are to reduce driver impairment and maximize highway safety, we should be punishing reckless driving.It shouldn't matter if it's caused by alcohol, sleep deprivation, prescription medication, text messaging, or road rage.In 2009, according to a recent study by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley, 1,600 sobriety checkpoints in California generated million in fines, million in overtime pay for cops, 24,000 vehicle confiscations, and just 3,200 arrests for drunk driving.A typical checkpoint would consist of 20 or more cops, yield a dozen or more vehicle confiscations, but around three drunk driving arrests.So police began setting up roadblocks to catch them.But every cop manning a roadblock aimed at catching motorists violating the new law is a cop not on the highways looking for more seriously impaired motorists.