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DUI, MADD and the "New Prohibition"

DUI, MADD and the "New Prohibition"

Information courtesy of Lawrence Taylor - DUIblog

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is a well-organized (over 600 chapters), well-funded (IRS Form 990 shows revenue for 2002 of $48,051,441) and dangerous group of well-intentioned zealots -- the very same folks who gave us Prohibition decades ago. For many years now, MADDs agenda has been clear: apply political pressure to get ever-harsher drunk driving laws, law enforcement and punishment. But what is the final goal? When will we have reached a state when MADD is satisfied that the drunk driving laws are sufficient? The answer is simple: zero tolerance. No drinking and driving. And, eventually, no drinking.

Exaggeration? Paranoia? Lets look at a little DUI history.....The original drunk driving laws were simple and fair: Dont drive under the influence of alcohol (DUI). Then, years ago, law enforcement came up with crude devices to measure alcohol on the breath of drunk driving suspects. But what did, say, a .13% blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) mean? They turned to the American Medical Association which, in 1938, created a "Committee to Study Problems of Motor Vehicle Accidents"; at the same time, the National Safety Council set up a "Committee on Tests for Intoxication". After some study, these two groups came up with their findings: a driver with .15% BAC or higher could be presumed to be "under the influence"; those under .15% could not.

Thats right, .15%. And that recommendation lasted for 22 years. But certain groups of "concerned mothers" were not happy with the low DUI arrest and conviction rates. Under increasing political pressure, the committees "revisited" the question in 1960 and agreed to lower the presumed level of intoxication to .10%. Had the human body changed in 22 years? Had the AMA been negligent in their earlier studies? Or were politics and law trumping scientific truth?

Well, the arrest and conviction rates shot up, but there were still too many people escaping the DUI net. Then MADD was formed by Candy Lightner (later to quit the organization and become a spokesperson for the liquor industry). Soon after, legislation began appearing in

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