From Today’s Truth-Driver Commentary on WKZO Talk Radio AM 590 (Commentary mp3 file; full interview with Dr. David Hanson mp3 file):

Thomas Jefferson said, “It is always better to have no ideas than false ones; to believe nothing than to believe what is wrong.” In my quest for truth, however, I’ve found that there are some questions so politically incorrect that you can’t even ask them; but if we want truth, we need to have the conversations. One is so-called drunk driving at low levels, and the increasing push for zero tolerance. What if I told you that there are sociologists and researchers who make a very compelling case that modern hysteria about low-level intoxicated driving is based more on fear than facts? That data are mangled by emotion-driven crusaders against alcohol rather than good science and evidence—and that truly bombed drivers, distracted drivers on phones, and drugged drivers are much bigger problems than someone who’s had a glass of wine or two with dinner and blows a .08 BAC? Dr. David J. Hanson is a retired sociologist from State University of New York, Pottsdam:

We have a common fallacy in our society that a person who has a drink and then goes out and drives is a great risk to him or herself as well as to others, and that’s simply not the case. Most people who drive intoxicated and have serious accidents have a BAC typically of about .17, which is dramatically higher than the .08, essentially twice as high.

So Dr. Hanson says it’s the people who get bombed and drive the wrong way down the highway at 90 mph who kill people and break things, not the person who had a pint after work. For clarity, Dr. Hanson would NEVER advocate drinking and driving; nor would I, and that’s not the point. The point is to ask what is true and what is not, and what are the costs of career-ending, reputation-destroying, financially devastating prosecutions for driving with as little as one drink in some US cities.

Dr. Hanson’s web site is, and you can hear my extended interview with him in my archives at, or at the iTunes music store.

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(Stephen L. Gibson is the author of  A Secret of the Universe, a critically acclaimed, citation-rich novel about the intersections of science, reason, and faith. Still an emotion-driven thinker in recovery, Steve shares his journey in search of ever-elusive truth with thousands via his Truth-Driven Thinking podcast, and his Perspectives blog. © 2009, Truth-Driven Strategies LLC.)

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