The punishment dilemma versus cutting the road toll Norwegian style

Traffic offences are example of the punishment dilemma: there but for the grace of god I as the offender.

DUI

That makes voters, most of who drive a car, reluctant to support strong punishments for crimes they might happen to commit somewhat accidentally rather than through some malicious intent.

Traffic offences are the breaches of the law  where ordinary citizens are most likely to have encounters with the police and the courts.

This is where the punishment dilemma between obeying the law and brute self-interest are at their sharpest. Everyone wants other people to obey the law , but they are not so sure about themselves, especially when the punishments are harsh.

Juries would not convict drivers for manslaughter so new offences such death by dangerous driving and by negligent driving were introduced with lighter prison terms. People would get a few months for killing people when drunk.

That has changed in recent decades with a hardening of community attitudes to dangerous driving and drunk driving.

An important reason is that with rising incomes, more people can afford a taxi so they a less likely to go down the steps because they are less likely to be caught in a situation of drink-driving or dangerous driving.

Norway has the strictest drink driving laws in Europe:

  • The maximum blood alcohol content is equal to a small glass of a weak drink and heavy punishments with few second chances.
  • The blood-alcohol limit for impaired driving is .02, with stiffer penalties for every point over that.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol is punishable by at least 1 day in jail, a heavy fine and the loss of the driver’s license for a year.
  • Driving with a blood alcohol level of over 1.5 may lead to one year of prison.

Many Norwegians take a taxi to parties while others make arrangements to stay over with the hosts.

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