It is important to keep in mind throughout this discussion that awareness and acknowledgement of the existence of a problem, even a very serious problem, should not make us overreact and thereby accept an unworkable solution in our zeal to do something. The imposition of punitive damages is, for the most part, just such an unworkable solution. More specifically, I will attempt to demonstrate that, with the possible exception of the case of the recidivist, non-alcoholic defendant, the imposition of punitive damages simply cannot be justified. That being the case, we must look elsewhere for a solution to an admittedly severe problem.

Section II will analyze the case law pertaining to the imposition of punitive damages for unintentional torts generally and for drunk driving specifically. Section III will discuss the various rationales commonly asserted for the imposition of punitive damages. Section VI will examine some of the major objections to and problems created by the imposition of punitive damage liability against the intoxicated driver, and section V will propose a standard.