Libertarians against drunk driving laws?

3 min readOct 29, 2013

Jeffrey Tucker has written an article on the laws and enforcement of driving under the influence of alcohol. He would like to see driving under the influence scrapped as a crime, and believes enforcing rules against reckless driving to be sufficient.

He writes:

“With laws against DUI, what’s being criminalized? Not reckless driving as such. Not aggression against anyone. What’s being criminalized is the chemical make up of the blood in your body. That itself should be no crime. To make having a certain blood content illegal is essentially totalitarian.

But you say that drinking is associated with bad driving. Well, enforce the laws against reckless driving. Many more people drink and drive than drive recklessly. Some people drive even more safely after a few drinks, correcting for their delayed responses. We do this all the time, e.g. after a workout, when we are sleepy, when we are angry, whatever.

... the law has no business criminalizing associated peaceful behaviors rather than real crimes against person and property.”

Tucker recognizes the legal category of ‘endangerment’. He quotes another author who states that repeated swerving is an example of such. I would agree with that. What Tucker fails to mention is that being able to drive in your lane, at the appropriate speed and following the road rules, is not sufficient for being a safe road participant. Situations arise regularly that require quick, multifaceted, reactions. The danger of these type of situations can also be mitigated, to a large extent, by good observational awareness.

Tucker calls for the enforcement against reckless driving, which is something the state does a very bad job at, and is something they don’t appear to really care much about, or more specifically, is something that is completely impossible for them to accomplish. Public roads are a gargantuan central planning disaster. The roads are not in the right places, they are not evolving as they could be as far as rules and technology, nobody pays for how much they use it, swaths of people are driving who shouldn't be, and no matter what your professional reputation is you are free to roam any public road in any neighborhood you wish.

Whether driving under the influence causes danger or not is a biological, empirical, and most of all entrepreneurial matter. To argue that the state should manage the roads in one way or the other is a pretense of knowledge, and is not a good position to take for libertarians. The problem of transportation can only be properly approached decentrally, through property rights.


Jeffrey has written to me:


Good piece. Like a part two of mine.”