MADD uses bogus stats to chip away our rights

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MADD uses bogus stats to chip away our rights

by James Nesci

MADD is using bogus statistics to push its agenda of prohibition. It first tried to make people register beer kegs like guns. Now it wants all first-time DUI offenders to be required to have ignition interlock devices.

The group’s intermediate goal is to have all new cars equipped with devices from the factory. Ultimately, MADD would have us repeat the failed social experiment called Prohibition.

Don’t believe the hype. MADD falsely claims that there are 13,000 yearly "drunk driving" deaths. MADD uses statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which recorded over 13,000 "alcohol-related traffic fatalities," not drunken-driving deaths. An "alcohol-related traffic fatality" includes drunken drivers, drunken pedestrians run over by sober drivers, and traffic fatalities with any measurable amount of alcohol in the deceased’s system. A measurable amount is 0.002 percent, which is one sip of light beer for a 175-pound man.

MADD attributes an average yearly decrease in drunken-driving fatalities to strict enforcement of DUI laws and ignition interlock devices. While this may be partially true, these are not the only reasons. Vehicles have become progressively more safe.

Thus, what would have been a true drunken-driving fatality years ago may now be a non-injury accident due solely to a more safe vehicle. The collective reasons for the statistical drop in fatalities cannot be separated.

The original intent behind drunken-driving laws has been lost with the advent of arbitrary laws that make it illegal to drive with a particular blood alcohol concentration. The original limits were lowered from 0.15 percent to 0.10 percent, then to 0.08 percent. Some states, such as Colorado, have a 0.05 percent limit for DWAI — driving with ability impaired.

MADD is pushing to make it illegal for one to consume any amount of alcohol, then drive. Ignition interlocks will not let you drive at a 0.03 percent blood-alcohol concentration — that’s less than one glass of wine for a 110-pound woman.

Ignition interlocks will drastically increase the cost of a new vehicle. The device may only cost about a thousand dollars, but when we shift the responsibility of sober driving from the driver to the car manufacturer and one of these devices fails, who will be liable?

Will your insurance company raise the rates for any car that does not have a device? Will MADD send a taxi and a bottle of ice water to you when you are stranded halfway between Yuma and Gila Bend in late July because the device malfunctioned and shut down your car for no reason?

The bottom line is that MADD is attempting to make legal behavior illegal with no rational basis for doing so. It is pushing for its goal of complete prohibition by chipping away at our constitutional freedoms by using bogus statistics and emotional arguments.

If you think that you have had too much to drink to drive, then don’t drive. The danger to ourselves created by drunken drivers on the road pales in comparison with the danger created by the loss of our constitutional rights at the hands of MADD.

DUI Attorneys


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