Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Women pushing car cited for drunk driving

PORTAGE, Ind. -- Drunken driving can also be drunken pushing -- at least to police in Portage, Ind.

Kaylyn Kezy and Melissa Fredenburg both face DUI charges after the car they were pushing crashed into a parked car. Police said the women took turns pushing the non-running car while the other steered.

After the accident, officers said both women tested with a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit.

Prosecutor Adam Burroughs admitted the case might be a tough one to prove in court. But he noted that the women were in effect operating the vehicle -- even though the car wasn't running at the time.

This illustrates an interesting legal principle. The law is constantly expanding incrementally.

I don't know the specifics of Indiana's law on the subject, but in most states, "drunk driving" now has little or nothing to do with either "driving" or being "drunk". Most states have now imposed some rather arbitrary blood-alcohol level, normally .10 or less, as an illegal level. It has nothing to do with whether you are "drunk", and most of these statutes are written so that it has nothing to do with whether the alcohol effects your driving in any way. The state does not have to prove any sort of impairment or erratic driving, simply the blood-alcohol level is a separate offense in and of itself.

For most people in a normal weight weight range, two drinks over a one hour period puts you at risk of failing a "breathalyzer" test. And your blood alcohol level actually continues to climb for an average of two hours after you have your last drink. Have a drink before dinner, wine or beer with dinner, and one after dinner, and you are definitely at risk.

Most states now also do not require that you be "driving". Older laws prohibited driving a motor vehicle on a public highway, but no more. Here in Ohio, people have been convicted of what you would think of as "drunk driving" while riding a bike, plowing a field with a tractor, sleeping in the back seat in a private parking lot, and sitting in a car in their own driveway listening to the radio... without ever having left the driveway.

So these two women shouldn't be surprised if they are in fact convicted.

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