In South Carolina, law enforcement officials have been running a campaign telling drivers that “Buzzed driving is drunk driving.” The idea here is that many people think they’re not drunk, even though they are, and so they get behind the wheel without realizing that it’s a problem.
The issue, though, is that the campaign almost creates more questions than it answers. First of all, are buzzed driving and drunk driving the same thing? Nowhere is “buzzed” actually defined, so it could mean far different things for different people.
Additionally, you are allowed to have a drink and then drive. That’s why there’s a legal limit of 0.08. If you have a beer with dinner and clock in at 0.07, as long as you’re not a commercial driver and you’re over 21 years of age, you’re not in violation of that law.
So, if you feel buzzed at 0.07 and you go for a drive, driving safely and only getting pulled over at a checkpoint, is that still drunk driving? According to the legal limits in South Carolina — and all across the United States — it’s not. In this sense, the campaign is misleading.
The authorities seem to be pushing forward with this idea that any alcohol is too much alcohol. However, that’s simply not true when you look at the state laws. People can be safe drivers and legally be behind the wheel even after consuming a small amount. It’s not all the same thing, as this program would have you believe.
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