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Tolerance Happens

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Tolerance Happens Essay, Research Paper

Tolerance Happens

Effective as of November 28, 1995, President Bill Clinton signed legislation that

forces states to adopt a ?Zero Tolerance Law?, to prevent teens as well as adults from

driving under the influence. To the youth of today, it doesn?t really matter if drinking is

illegal. No matter how much we spend on new laws, there will always be a way that the

younger generation will sneak past to continue drinking. The problem shouldn?t be

considered as who is drinking, but should be referred to as who isn?t drinking

responsibly. As in the words of Martin Luther King, ?Nothing in the world is more

dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.?

The spending of our hard earned tax dollars has become sort of an ?obsession? in

the government. In a June of 1995 radio address, President Clinton made a statement

after the signing of the new law saying, ?It is already against the law for young people to

consume alcohol. This national standard will reinforce by making it effectively illegal

for young people who have been drinking to drive an automobile?(?Clinton Takes,?

para. 3). Taking up billions of our tax dollars, in the past ten years lawmakers have

enacted over 2,000 new drunk driving laws and still can?t point to a decrease in the

property or life casualties related to drunk driving (Madder, para. 2). The Zero Tolerance

Law says that states not enforcing the law by Oct.1, 1998 will have 5% of their federal

highway subsidies withheld, and every year prior to that, will be withheld 10%. Tax

dollars are better spent while focusing on more important issues.

There are still no promises of a reduction in the loss of life or property as we

pack 1.4 million Americans in our jails each year (Madder, para. 3). Sharply on the

lookout for drunken drivers, police are letting more and more juveniles committing other

far worse crimes, slip through the cracks daily as we overcrowd our cells with DUI

offenders. More focus should be on criminals committing robberies, dealing crack,

executing homicides, and performing rape. Filtering through millions of Americans at

sobriety checkpoints is just a waste of valuable time. While police stop you to check

your car for an open container, you could be running late for an important appointment,

or worse, somebody might be looking through your house and taking off with your


The criminal justice system should rethink the zero tolerance law. Preventing

underage drinking is impossible as long as drinking is legal at some age. Raising the

tolerance level for the sake of responsible drinkers would prevent the courts from running

their current 1.4 million Americans through the criminal justice system. Doing this

would increase the availability of responsibly sober drivers at parties, and also make it

alot safer for social drinkers to drive home after a night out. Although younger people

aren?t supposed to drink at all, alot of college students like to go out to parties and have a

few drinks, and who?s supposed to stop them? The law considers people to be adults at

the age of 18, which suggests they can make responsible decisions. Responsibility in

knowing when you?re too drunk to drive or knowing when someone else is too drunk to

be driving is a valuable quality in a person, and every person that drinks and drives

should know his/her responsible limits.

In refutation, there are many irresponsible drivers that take their lives and the

lives of others. While this law may discourage the more responsible drinkers from

driving under the influence, many of the irresponsible alcoholics will still get behind the

wheel of their car only to endanger themselves and others. Many college students also

drink to the point of high intoxication, and may try to drive somewhere at the end of the

night. Without responsible decision making, though, one cannot grow to their fullest


With so many loopholes, the zero tolerance law should be completely revised to

suit the responsible social drinking driver as well as taking strict actions against the

disastrous drunk driver. Raising the tolerance level would clear up so much space in the

jails that the police would have room to put the more criminalistic minds behind bars.

People who know their responsible limits should be allowed to go out to a club and have

a couple of drinks and not worry about getting pulled over by the police. After all, a

responsible decision could mean the difference between life and death.

Works Cited

?Clinton Takes Hard Stand on Underage Drinking and Driving,?

NewsBriefs, Sept. 1995, pg.21

Madder– Motorists Against Drunk Driving Enforcement Rip-offs,

?Show Them the Statistics,? http://www.madder.org/page8.html

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