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I'd agree with you about repeat offenders, but making the first offense a felony is not going to help. First, drunk people are not exactly known for making the best judgment. Second, how many immature 20 year olds (probably demographic most likely to have the first DUI) will be branded felons for life for making a mistake? Third, driving drunk without causing other offense makes no harm, and while it is irresponsible and should be punished, it doesn't compare with other felony crimes. Fourth, I'm fairly sure I've driven tired enough to the point of being highly impaired on more than one occasion. It's about as irresponsible as drunk driving, yet there is no punishment. The gap between no punishment and felony for pretty much the same kind of behavior is simply too big. Fifth (and this is more about stigma rather than laws), I'm yet to see a convincing argument why society considers that people aren't accountable for having drunk sex (can't give consent), but are accountable for drunk driving.
You can find counter-arguments to each of these points fairly easily, but taken together they build a strong case.
Maybe US has more DUIs because virtually everyone drives here, and starts driving way earlier than in other countries? Maybe other countries have better public transportation for the drunks to get home after parties?
also increase the stigma of DUI
This is probably the first time I've heard that DUI is not stigmatized enough.
looking for shortcuts
Also known as "being efficient." You shouldn't make blanket statements like that.
For truly well rounded self educated people, they should be a breeze.
Even if you're not "truly well rounded" or are afraid to fail the test, here is what you should do (I passed some CLEP tests this way):
0. Make sure CLEP tests are accepted (some engineering programs/colleges don't accept certain tests).
1. Find related college course at a decent university that has lecture notes online.
2. Buy the book that this course follows, read it and read the notes. Often course notes will hint at which parts of the book are most important.
3. Pass the test, submit a form to get credit for an equivalent class.
power users will be able to tweak it to a great extent
Right, so I installed a bunch of extensions to make Firefox look and behave like version 2.0... and still haven't upgraded to 5.0 because I'm afraid these extensions will break. "Power users" or "geeks" may be able to tweak their browser, but it doesn't mean we want to (especially as we get older and have more work / less time). It looks like there is at least one new extension that I need to install with every major release of Firefox to bring old 2.0 appearance back. It's not just corporations that want some stability with their software.
The same can be asked about media piracy! You might as well just say it: you're all equating MP3 downloads to terrorism or treason.
I thought it was obvious to everyone that downloading mp3s is treason. After all, when you pirate mp3s, you're downloading communism.
I have a similar deal with AT&T DSL. Home phone / DSL package was actually $5-10 cheaper than DSL alone (~$45). In fact it makes sense, as the landline was a negative value for me - way too many marketing/donation soliciting/incorrect calls.
This bundling practice is annoying as Internet connection pretty much makes all other services redundant.
I agree that the whole concept of a speed limit is stupid, because actual safe maximum speed is highly context-dependent. There are so many factors that even enumerating them is pointless. Speed limits only may somewhat make sense in certain areas in the city (school zone, residential zone, shopping area).
Show me a highway where the majority of the traffic drives at or under the speed limit on a nice day. Similarly, I lost control and totaled my last car when I was going 25 mph under the limit on an interstate. While driving through a residential neighborhood or a shopping area, safe speed at night is actually higher than during the day - exact opposite of a highway. Everything depends on the context.
People will drive at the speed they deem comfortable and safe. Speed limits exist only to make everyone guilty like the parent said and to generate revenue.