Driving under the influence
For a criminologist, drinking and driving is a particularly interesting phenomenon. Large numbers of people admit to doing it, yet it arouses emotions of a similar intensity to crimes against children. Even the terminology we use betrays the contradictions inherent in our thinking. In the U.S. the most common term is drunken driving, which suggests that the real problem is, in the words of the American sociologist Joseph Gusfield, "the killer drunk," the grossly inebriated reprobate who recklessly disregards the welfare of others to indulge his own pleasures. In many other countries, however, the problem is construed more in terms of driving after drinking, with even the consumption of small amounts of alcohol - perhaps one or two drinks - constituting an offense if it is combined with driving. In these countries the most common term used is drinking and driving.
Encyclopedia of criminology
© 2005 Routledge. Self-archiving of the author-manuscript version is not yet supported by this publisher. Please refer to the book link for access to the definitive, published version or contact the author for more information.