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The genius of MADD,
We get many complaints that we're just a bunch of disgruntled drunk drivers and/or alcoholics that are angry with MADD, Inc for trying to spoil our fun. Well those readers will be shocked to read that we agree 100% with using ignition interlocks to get serious drunk drivers off the highways.
Interlocks are a good idea for those drivers with a .15 or over BAC reading--the degree of impairment most often associated with fatalities. There are some bugs that must be worked out with the interlocks, but let's think positive here.
Of course MADD, Inc isn't pushing for interlocks for only the .15 crowd. They want them for all DUI offenders, even low BAC's and first timers. They actually want them in all cars, so you will have to prove you have had little or no alcohol before the car will start. Presumption of innocence has never been MADD Inc's strong suit.
They are simultaneously, albeit quietly pushing to lower the BAC level further to .05 with an ultimate goal of ZERO TOLERANCE. If they are successful, drinking any alcohol and driving will be drunk driving. The result in our highly mobile society will be Prohibition "light", with much of the same intrigue that plagued our country in the 1920's.
These newly defined "drunk" criminals will certainly keep the courts and interlock installers busy while the economy suffers from lost jobs, prison overcrowding and loss of tax revenue on booze that can pretty much only be imbibed legally at home.
MADD Inc's genius? They, with their $50 million yearly budget, plan to accomplish this without ever uttering the "P" word, except to occasionally deny that that is really their ultimate goal.
Hate. (It's not just about dogs anymore)
Attempts by government and special interest groups to influence our thinking is not a new phenomenon. In the 50's, we were convinced that there was a Communist under every bed just waiting to enslave us and our families. The Commie hysteria went on to justified the Vietnam war in the 60's. In the words of Bob Dylan, "I learned to hate the Russians all through my whole life."
Think about words or phrases that make your blood boil. "Communist" has lost its magic, but how about "drunk driver"! Twenty-five years and hundreds of millions of dollars spent by our government, MADD and other anti-alcohol groups has rendered us unable to view every drunk driver as anyone other than a vile, child killer: Public Enemy #1. Read any MADD press release. There is always a reference to a specific family member killed and the continued grieving of the mother or father. But with deliberate motivation the killer drunk driver morphs into any and all drinking drivers, who we are told are just as dangerous; statistics be damned. You can't help but feel sympathy and yearn for justice and/or revenge, but against whom?
This social conditioning is similar to Pavlov's experiments with his dog. Ring the bell, offer Fido some food and watch him salivate. After a while, just the ringing of the bell causes the dog to salivate. Sound the alarm, mention a dead child and watch the public demand tougher laws against all drinking drivers.
If he is a killer he should be severely punished, and today's laws ensure that he will be, unless he's a politician or policeman. Why is the same hatred not expressed toward a speeder or red light runner who kills someone? Because we have not yet been conditioned to hate these killers. Our laws even mandate lesser punishment if alcohol is not involved.
What happens when the thought control groups reach their goal that it's not drunk drivers but all drinking drivers that are the scum of the earth? It used to be "Don't let friends drive drunk." Now it's "You drink, You drive, You lose." What does that mean? Is it illegal to drive after drinking? If you have a beer and get behind the wheel are you, in MADD's words, the same as a "drive-by shooter?" Say it on TV for 25 years and, the public subliminally gets the message. "It must be true, why would they lie?"
MADD is determined to convince us that Prohibition was a good thing, it was just done the wrong way. They are doing it through hysterical unverifiable claims that tens of thousands of innocent people are killed by drunk drivers each year. They are doing it by exploiting and highly publicizing only those tragedies that involve alcohol. They are doing it through media coverage that loves the sensational story and never checks the source or the verifiably phony statistics.
we are all conditioned to their alarm bell, there will no longer even be a need for them
to feed us their lies.
MADD at the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety
For those who feel that MADD is all powerful and the NHTSA is their lap dog, read on.
CHANGE #1: Since we have been offering the $20,000 reward, there have been subtle changes to the statistical reporting of the NHTSA. They began publicizing the much lower ''drunk driver" deaths (12,874) as well as MADD's favorite, "alcohol-related" deaths (16,694). Congratulations to us at getMADD for our fine work! MADD has not followed suit, of course and always chooses the highest number possible and then mis-labels them all as drunk drivers. The new NHTSA blurb reads:
In spite of the tireless efforts of thousands of highway safety advocates over the past 25 years, drunk driving continues to be a major problem in this country. Nationwide, one person every 40 minutes, approximately 35 people a day, or nearly 13,000 people each year die in traffic crashes involving a driver or a motorcycle operator with a BAC of .08 or higher. Their bogus numbers still include numerous ''unknowns'' who are labeled drunk with no proof.
CHANGE #2: The head of the NHTSA has changed. Dr. Runge saw the worst side of alcohol abuse as an ER doctor and had no problem pontificating about its dangers. The new boss seems to be just a D.C. bureaucrat. Perhaps Bush, a convicted drunk driver, felt a change was needed to protect the partying Bush daughters. Convicted drunk driver Cheyney certainly wouldn't object.
CHANGE #3: The new NHTSA slogan, "Over the limit, Under arrest," has MADD publicly fuming. How can their former buddy tell people it's ok to drive as long as they're not over the limit?
CHANGE #4: The NHTSA now verifies what we have been saying all along. Drivers who drink do kill 2,381 innocent people, but the vast majority killed are 2,763 drinking passengers, 1,969 drinking pedestrians and most of all, they kill 9,463 of themselves. These numbers would be lower if they isolated the ''drinkers'' from the ''drunks'' and determined whether alcohol was really the cause of the crash. Maybe next year. You'd think MADD would rejoice over the deaths of these ''violent criminals'', but they are too concerned with ridding the country of alcohol to respond. We still have a long way to go.
Figures from: www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd-30/NCSA/RNotes/2005/809_904/809904.htm
MADD gets another D
The American Institute of Philanthropy ( www.charitywatch.org ) just gave MADD a ''D'' rating. They consider salaries, money spent on programs and actual costs to obtain donations. They don't fall for the ruse that a telemarketer is dissemenating information when in fact they are soliciting funds, which is another MADD trick. A worthy organization, The National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence received a B+.
In other news, MADD continues it's quest for more money: The Mothers Against Drunk Driving franchise in Canada has obtained exclusive sales rights to roadside memorials for people killed in alcohol-related traffic accidents in the province of Ontario.
He might kill somebody:
Goshen, NY resident, Fred Travis, 42, is going to jail again, this time for 25 years to life, if DA John Geidel has his way with the judge. Well you know he must be a drunk or he wouldn't appear in this column. Can you guess his crime. How many innocent souls did he kill, maim or injure? Well, in 19 years of driving, none. In fact, his only arrests are for DUI. Now let's be frank, this guy has a major drinking problem--this is his fifth DUI arrest. Specifically, #1: May 1988. #2: Nov 1988. A two year lull and then #3: Sep 1990, (sentenced to 3 years in prison). A 6 year lull till #4: June 1999, (four years in prison). Finally #5: Sep 2005, with sentencing to be on Halloween. Does he need AA or just lock him up? Apparently the DA sees him as a potential murderer, so why not give him a murderer's punishment before the crime. The reality is that the man needs treatment for his alcoholism, which MADD and our courts treat as a crime instead of a disease. So, untreated and uncured, he'll serve a few years until the overcrowded prison paroles him to make way for more DUI arrestees, and be back on the highways, just like the last two times.
'I told you so' News Flash: MADD Canada is heavily lobbying to lower the blood alcohol number from .08 to .05. Here is the line of bull to reassure the social drinkers that they need not worry. Andrew Murie, head of MADD Canada, quoting a report from the U.S. National Institute of Highway Traffic Safety, said a 200-pound man could drink 6 beers or a bottle of wine in two hours and still not be legally drunk under current Canadian law. Right. Try that next time you're stopped: "Officer, I only drank a bottle of wine. I'm not drunk."
Compare the crime to the punishment. From Clovis News Journal (New Mexico) Aug 7, 2005 (abridged)
Robert Cordova, crime: two counts of aggravated battery on a household member with a deadly weapon, robbery. punishment: 5 years supervised probation.
Toni Gonzales, crime: conspiracy to commit distribution of controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance. punishment: 3 years supervised probation.
Francisco Bustos, crime: embezzlement over $250, extortion. punishment: 2 years and 9 months supervised probation.
Vincente Davila, crime: forgery. punishment: 3 years supervised probation.
Ryan Ramos, crime: two counts of possession of a controlled substance. punishment: 3 years supervised probation.
Georgina Trebing, crime: two counts of possession with the intent to distribute. punishment: 3 years supervised probation.
Anthony Gutierrez, crime: failure to stop upon striking an unattended vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident, punishment: 90 days supervised probation.
Sandy Spell, crime: aggravated DUI (second offense). punishment: 90 days incarceration followed by 274 days supervised probation, pay all fines and fees, attend a MADD victim impact panel, allow an ignition interlock device be placed on any vehicles he may drive, perform 48 hours community service and complete a 28-day inpatient treatment program.
David Jones, crime: DUI (fourth offense) is adjudged to be a habitual criminal offender. punishment: 6 months (less two days) in the Department of Corrections followed by 2 1/2 years (less two days) of supervised probation, pay $5 for the domestic violence offender treatment fee, pay all fines and fees, attend a MADD victim impact panel, allow an ignition interlock device be placed on any vehicles he may drive, submit a DNA sample and pay a $100 testing fee.
Teresa Anthony, crime: 3 counts of forgery, unlawful receipt of property, 2 counts of fraudulent use of a credit card.. punishment: 6 months imprisoned, 2 1/2 years supervised probation.
Johnny Gutierrez, crime: four counts of forgery. punishment: 1 year less 36 days imprisoned followed by 2 years supervised probation.
Albuquerque: home of schizophrenic cops
Scenario #1. Bride-to-be Jennifer Wilbanks files a false police report saying she was kidnapped, causing a massive manhunt at a cost of over $100,000. Police in Albuquerque doubt that they will press charges: "We have feelings and we are professional at the same time," said a police spokesperson. The aviation police chief gave her a teddy bear. This was all after Wilbanks admitted that it was all a hoax because she had second thoughts about getting married. She plans to name the bear "Al" for the city that befriended her.
Scenario #2. Albuquerque police will begin seizing vehicles from all drivers arrested for suspicion of DWI, including first-time offenders. The seizure takes place immediately upon arrest, no waiting to see if there is a conviction. Mayor Martin Chávez signed the bill at MADD headquarters. Terry Huertaz, MADD executive state director, applauded the mayor for signing the measure. "We will use this tool every night in the community, and we will use it aggressively," said the police chief. No teddy bears.
SAFER STREETS: The traffic death toll has remained fairly constant for the past 5 years. To save lives, sober drivers have to start pulling their weight. It's time to get revenge for the 25,000-35,000 people killed each year by sober drivers. The laws are already there, we only need to make the punishment the same as for the drunk drivers. For example, red lights exist to keep people from smashing into each other. The sober red light runner knows the consequences of playing Russian roulette at an intersection and yet he does it anyway. Running a red light is as dangerous as driving drunk and may be even more so. The punishment for a first time red light runner should be the same as the first time drunk driver: typically 2 days in jail, a $300 fine and a 30 day license suspension. Cell phone use is equated to a BAC of .10--higher than for being legally drunk; inattentive drivers cause more than 25% of fatal crashes. The list goes on. Arrest all of these drivers and the death toll will go down. Impound their cars, like in Albuquerque and we will all be safer as we walk along the deserted highways.
Can you match the crime with the punishment? It's easy: "You drink, you drive you lose."
Crime #1. Two motorcycles were racing on highway 61 in Minnesota. Sam Tilley, was arrested for reckless driving, driving w/o a motorcycle license and driving 140 MPH over the speed limit--he was clocked at 205 MPH! The other racer was not charges and neither were charged with drag racing on public roads. Sam was ticketed and allowed to drive away.
Crime #2. A first-time .08 BAC (the new definition of "drunk") driver is stopped at a police roadblock. He is arrested, his car is towed.
Punishment #1. One year probation, 200 hours of community service. No loss of license.
Punishment #2. $1000 fine, up to 90 days in jail, loss of license for 30-90 days.
We assume MADD is relieved that Sam is still driving and not that dangerous drunk driver. Remarkably, there was little media hysteria concerning the speed racer. No lobbying for tougher sentences for speeders. No interviews with mothers who lost their kids to speeders. In fact, most of the press was from people disputing whether the bike could really go that fast. Listen to the NPR interview with the policeman involved: CLICK HERE for link. Note the lack of hatred and indignation that would have been there if Sam had been drinking.
Why is DUI different?
Why is the punishment for vehicular homicide greater just because you were drinking?
Why are you not allowed a jury trial in a non-fatal DUI case?
Why are police roadblocks allowed to sniff for alcohol and not look for weapons or terrorists?
Why is your license shredded on the spot without a hearing, only for refusing a breath test?
Why does the Supreme Court consider a DUI conviction with 6 months in jail a minor crime?
Why do states praise the new BAC .08 limit as fair & then arrest people for BAC levels as low as .015, or even .00?
Why are DUI suspects named in the local papers while red light runners and speeders are not?
Why do some states issue "Scarlet Letter" license plates for DUI & not other dangerous drivers?
Why do states specifically outlaw plea bargaining only in DUI cases?
Why do some states allow no challenges to possibly inadmissible evidence only in DUI cases?
Why do these states demand that juries view DUI evidence, "in a light most favorable to the prosecution"?
Why do only DUI convictions count for 10 years with harsher penalties for 2nd offenses?
Why can you be arrested for DUI if you are only sleeping in your car?
Why do only DUI convictions require you to sit and listen to victim's tragic stories?
Why do judges who proscribe this sentence sit a BAC .08 person with a DUI felon who killed someone?
Why do some states substitute "reasonable suspicion" for "probable cause"only in DUI investigations?
Why is scientific fact that disputes breathalyzer accuracy not allowed in DUI courts?
Why is the efficiency in manpower, money & arrests not questioned in the use of police roadblocks?
Why must you take incriminating tests before you are allowed to call a lawyer only in DUI?
Why are there organized "court watchers" only at DUI hearings?
Why are there no organized groups fighting for laws against inattentive drivers who are involved in 25-50% of traffic deaths?
Why does our government say that it is illegal to drink and drive, when it isn't?
Why is an underage person considered drunk at BAC .02?
Why do underage drinkers lose their licenses even if they weren't driving or don't even have a license yet?
Why does the state revoke your license when a doctor tells them that you binge drink at home?
Why is a blood test taken 3 hours after you were driving considered accurate?
Why does no one question "non-profit" MADD, which make $3.5 million/year profiting from laws that they lobbied for?
Why has no one evaluated the economic & social effects of 1.9 million DUI arrests/year?
How serious was the crime that caused no death or injury, committed by 1.4 million of those 1.9 million?
Why does MADD continue to equate social drinkers with the pie-eyed drunks that do the real killing?
How much money did MADD reap after lobbying to raise the drinking age to 21?
If drinking at 18 is unsafe, why can you still smoke at 18?
What other restrictions are there on an 18 year old adult except the prohibition of alcohol?
How many 18-20 year-olds have had their future's compromised for doing something that is legal in the rest of the world?
Why are drunk driving victims given so much press, gov't access & money when other victim's groups aren't?
Why are government studies routinely ignored if the do not support an anti-alcohol agenda?
Why does the press continue to parrot MADD's assertion that drunk driving is a violent crime?
Why does the press never question MADD's false statistics or deliberately misleading statements?
The answer to: Why is DUI Different? (See commentary above)
After 18 months of research, getMADD is finally convinced that the real target of MADD is not the drunk driver and not alcohol abuse. MADD'S enemy is the advertising, the sale and the use of alcohol and they have $45,000,000 each year to push this cause.
Joe McCarthy had his list of 200 Communist infiltrators. He used fear and propaganda to convince us that there was a Communist under every bed. MADD has us believing that there is a drunk driver at every intersection. MADD compares beer to heroin and drunk drivers to drive-by shooters and terrorists. Say it enough and have it repeated by morons in the media and it starts sounding reasonable. Lawmakers reacted to the lies and hype. First battle won: The public thinks drunk drivers are Public Enemy #1, more laws passed.
Next target: Impaired drivers. You don't have to be drunk to be dangerous do you? MADD says any alcohol will impair your driving. "Impaired drivers killed 17,419 in 2002." Say it 1,000 times. Never mind that it is a lie. Set up police roadblocks. MADD's goal: Stop 93,000,000 motorists each year. Oh no!, resistance from those damn freedom lovers? Arrest them if you can or at least make them think twice about having a drink and then driving.
Finally, the Stalin strategy: "Educate" the kids: "Alcohol rots the brain." "Your dad drinks beer, he's a drug user." "Support MADD, save the children."
Meanwhile, MADD illegally lobbies for higher taxes on alcohol, restrictions on its sale & advertising, labeling any drinking driver as a drunk, etc. And we haven't even mentioned the quarter-Billion dollars spent by MADD's buddies at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to influence public policy with anti-alcohol propaganda. The money is working and that's why DUI punishment is harsher than it is for many violent crimes.
The latest issue of AAA World, published by the American Automobile Association states that 25-50% of all crashes involve distracted drivers. Keep in mind that Triple A got this figure from the same government agency that deliberately inflates the drunk driving statistics, the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). If their numbers are accurate, they rival the drunk driver statistics for deaths and injuries on our highways. Two questions come to mind:
Question 1. The NHTSA has the drunk driver death toll at 42%, exactly 17,013 deaths. Why is the "distracted driver" range a very broad 25-50%? ANSWER: The raw police data is available, but only alcohol-related deaths are scrutinized, manipulated and publicized by the NHTSA. This policy of sensationalism against an easy target justifies the need for their existence and their survival. MADD's symbiotic relationship and the routine swapping of employees with the NHTSA promotes MADD's anti-alcohol dreams of a neo-Prohibition era. The carnage caused by distracted drivers may be sad but does not fit MADD's definition of a "violent crime", like drunk driving does.
Good morning, Im James Fell. I am a national board member for Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Director of Traffic Safety and Enforcement Programs at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation [PIRE]. Before joining PIRE, I spent 30 years at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Question 2. MADD boasts of their role in passing 2,300 drunk driving laws resulting in jail time, fines and license revocation, even when there is no accident or injury. How many laws does MADD support that address the apparently serious problem of the distracted driver? ANSWER: None. Cell phone use while driving is equated to a BAC level of .10 (legally drunk is .08). In the few states where it is illegal to phone while driving, the punishment is merely a small fine.
"Mr. Howarth, how many fatal accidents do cell phone users cause every year versus drunk drivers?" "I have absolutely no idea, nor do I care."---Brian Williams & MADD lobbyist Tom Howarth. MADD does support mandatory seat belt laws so police have another reason to stop motorists and check to see if the have been drinking.
CONCLUSION: Being killed by a drunk driver is no better or worse than being killed by a distracted sober driver. Dead is dead. Let's punish both killers equally and severely. Let the police patrol, observe & arrest other unsafe drivers and see them punished according to their degree of danger to others. Finally, respect the Constitutional privacy of those drivers who show no visible signs of impairment or unsafe driving.
MADD board member and PIRE researcher Robert Voas admitted, "Drivers in the .08 to .09 range often do not exhibit the blatant erratic driving of higher BAC offenders, so that the evidence for probable cause may not be present for stopping a vehicle."
Chalk up some more Constitutional abuses courtesy of the lawgivers of Pennsylvania.
#1. The police may now pull you over for "reasonable suspicion" rather than for "probable cause" if they suspect you are driving under the influence. This language is so broad that until it is challenged in court, PA drivers are subject to random stops at any time. Sort of your own personal sobriety checkpoint.
#2. Keith Emerich had his day in court to try and get his driver's license back. CLICK HERE FOR THIS DISTURBING CASE. His accuser did not testify against him, but he lost anyway. His Constitutional right to face and question his accuser is missing in PA's law. In fact, the doctor who claimed Keith is unsafe to drive remains anonymous--protected by state law. Keith Emerich needs your support for his appeal. Donations may be sent to him at 410 Chestnut St., Lebanon, PA 17042.
Here are 4 new quotes from the lobbyists responsible for laws that fly in the face of our Constitution:
1>"We still have hundreds and hundreds of people out there that drink and drive daily and think they have a right to do so," said Andrea Rehkamp, of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). (It is still legal, by the way. No mention of drunk driving, which is illegal.)
2>MADD argues that "there is merit in revoking licenses of diagnosed alcoholics, even if they do not have DUI convictions." (AA members beware.)
3>The President of the Ross County, Ohio chapter of MADD preaches that alcohol is a threat to society. In other words, the real problem is the substance of alcohol itself rather than its abuse.
4>A United States Court of Appeals has overturned a PA law that prohibits paid alcohol ads in college newspapers. The Court said the prohibition violated First Amendment rights to free speech guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. MADD says the courts decision is irresponsible and a step in the wrong direction.
In other news:
>San Juan County DA Gregory Tucker is working on legislation to restrict people who have been convicted of DUI from buying booze for 5 years. Tucker said drinking is a privilege -- one that should be taken away if it is abused. The NM governor thinks it is an interesting, solid proposal.
>Also in New Mexico, deaths from alcohol-related crashes were down 10% last year, while DUI arrests were up by more than 25%. Good news? Hardly. The Legislature is meeting in a specially called session to deal with the governor's top legislative priority: tougher DUI laws.
>Officer Stephen Roach of Evendale, OH received an award from MADD for making 70% of his police department's DUI arrests. Roach is a former Cincinnati officer who shot a fleeing black suspect in 2001 sparking riots in that city.
Remarkable Parallels: Prohibition in 1900 vs. MADD in 2000
The Anti-Saloon League (ASL) and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) were responsible for the 18th Amendment that prohibited the sale of alcohol. After a 60 year struggle the country went "dry" in 1920. Both of these early groups targeted a specific Bad Guy: the "sordid and hellsoaked" saloons. Today MADD targets the "criminal" drunk drivers. All three groups, then and now, evolved into anti-alcohol/Prohibition groups. CLICK HERE FOR MORE.
The old groups distorted facts and statistics to further their cause. CLICK HERE FOR EXAMPLES. MADD continues the tradition as exposed on the getMADD WebPages featured below this article.
Organized letter writing to Congress and extensive lobbying were popular then and MADD has it down to a science with pre-printed letters on its website and canned press releases spoon fed to gullible journalists. CLICK HERE FOR ONE EXAMPLE FROM A MADD ALLY. MADD regularly appears at Congressional hearings to help draft and influence legislation.
All of these anti-alcohol groups passed laws of which the public had little understanding. Recently. the Attorney General of Wisconsin was arrested after crashing her car and didn't understand that the alcohol test was mandatory before she could speak to her lawyer. The headline for the Prohibition Amendment was not even front page news and most people assumed it meant only hard liquor, not beer and wine.
Politicians continued to ignore the Prohibition laws knowing that they would rarely be punished. President Harding used and served liquor in the White House. Today politicians, unless they crash their cars have little fear that they will be charged with DUI.
Prohibitionists and MADD-inspired police enforced the laws with great disregard to Constitutional guarantees, like search warrants, fair trials & privacy. The courts were overwhelmed with Prohibition cases causing major modification in the normal due process system. Many people charged were pressured to plead guilty with a promise of light punishment to alleviate the court backlog. Today, even with the vengeful MADD court watchers, many DUI charges are changed to reckless driving to persuade the drivers to plead guilty and speed "justice" along. Flying in the face of the 6th Amendment, costly and time consuming jury trials have been legislated out of existence in most states.
Prohibition was about as tough as you could make a law against using alcohol, but it didn't stop the proponents from ever increasing the penalties to try and force compliance. In 1927, the fine was raised to $10,000 for a first offense. MADD continues to push for tougher DUI and anti-alcohol laws, causing the social drinker and eventually all drinkers to be labeled as criminals. CLICK HERE FOR ONE DISTURBING CASE
Foes of Prohibition and DUI laws were labeled un-American, anti-woman and anti-family in 1920 and the trend continues.
It's not a Roadblock, It's a Checkpoint
Pennsylvania just released DUI arrest numbers for the first six months following the passage of the .08 BAC law. The change was either up 0% or 4% depending on the period of comparison. One newspaper expressed surprise that the arrest numbers weren't much higher. They guessed that the public suddenly got smart and changed their drinking and driving habits. A more realistic reason is PA's minimal use of sobriety checkpoints compared to some other states.
As Robert Voas, MADD spokesman says, "Drivers in the .08 to .09
range often do not exhibit the blatant erratic driving of higher BAC offenders, so that
the evidence for probable cause may not be present for stopping a vehicle."
Without the checkpoints, these drivers don't look like violent criminals, as MADD calls
them. Also, unlike many states where you can be arrested at even very low BAC readings, in
PA you cannot be charged with DUI if your breath test reading is below .05: No arrest, no
Missouri is another story. Arrests are up 14% and two-thirds of the increase are drivers with BAC levels in the newly illegal range of .08-.10. Credit the widespread use of checkpoints for ferreting out these "violent criminals" who do not drive erratically.
Unfortunately, the number of alcohol-related fatalities in Missouri has risen. So much for the claim, again by Robert Voas, this time as a researcher for the Pacific Institute for Research & Evaluation (PIRE), that deaths would drop by 600 with the new .08 law. Although the report from this Maryland based company has been discredited by the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) and other, it is still quoted in the press as factual. This month, Delaware Governor Ruth Minner cited it as her state became the 50th to pass the ".08 is now legally drunk" law.
NHTSA Factoid: Only 532 of the 210,646 PA drivers who were stopped in
2003 were charged with DUI. Query: Isn't Maryland on the Atlantic coast, not the Pacific?
Balanced News Coverage?
Over the Memorial Day weekend, the TV show Cover to Cover updated an earlier episode dealing with a tragic drunk driving case. A 19 year old idiot with no insurance and with a blood alcohol level about 3 times the legal limit killed one man and injured three others. The case was perfect for promoting an anti-drunk driving campaign and aired over a weekend when sobriety checkpoints are prevalent. Example: New Mexico had 72 checkpoints over a 72 hour period. A truck crashed into a house at 11 PM near Santa Fe and the police didn't investigate it until 10 the next morning. One man died after being trapped in the truck all night. Apparently the police were manning checkpoints and missed the call. No matter, he was probably a drunk anyway. See a similar incident: All of Our Police Are Busy Right Now (It is about halfway down on the page.)
MEANWHILE, back at the TV show. All of the very appropriate disgust and indignaties were brought to bear on this drunken idiot. Frustration was expressed from interviews with MADD, police and prosecutors. Their feelings were that no one takes any DUI case seriously enough and the punishments are never harsh enough. Hopefully everyone watched the ending of the show when the verdict was pronounced: 60 years in jail.
getMADD applauds the sentence--get this moron away from us!--but we were shocked at the first 50 minutes of the show which suggested that all DUI killers only receive a slap on the wrist for their deeds.Interesting aside: Notorious killer, Joel Steinberg was just released from prison after serving 17 years of a 25 year sentence for beating his young daughter to death. He described her as a "brat". (The Cover to Cover show was aired while on the road and all numbers are from memory. Some may be slightly off, but the purpose of the show is accurately described.)
The Wheels of Change.
A Literary Career In 1933, Prohibition was repealed after 13 long years. It had taken Carrie Nation and the Temperance movement even longer to make Prohibition the law of the land back in 1919. And the long struggle between the ''wets'' and the ''drys'' continues as we speak.
The title of this article is meant as an inspiration to the thousands of DUI "criminals" who have lost their driver's licenses and therefore lost their jobs. Your primary concern has to be making ends meet and keeping your families together. Hopefully you'll get through it without too much anger and frustration.
If you have any free time, getMADD suggests that you spend it writing letters, lobbying, protesting; whatever you are able to do, to bring attention to the irrationality of many of the DUI laws. Sympathy and empathy are abundant in America if you tell your side of the story. (If your DUI resulted in death, injury or property damage, please seek help in straightening out your life. Forget the letter writing--yours is a whole different issue.)
Some congressmen actually read their mail. One getMADD reader is having quite a detailed dialog with her senator. It may not change his mind overnight, but it may influence his next vote. If you can site specific injustices, economic burdens, and government bias (lies), you may just sow the seeds needed to change the laws. MADD has done much through their tragic stories to influence congress and the public. Now it's your turn. Letters to your local newspaper are also a good forum.
This promises to be a long battle, but we have truth on our side. Please feel free to
use the factual statistics on the website and anything else that will expose the economic
and social consequences of over zealous laws and the hidden anti-alcohol agenda of MADD
and their partners at the NHTSA.
Equal Justice and Appropriate Punishments
Two snippets from the newspaper. First, an emotional appeal to put drunks away for 5 years or more who would kill innocent victims. Second, the actual sentence of a former governor who killed an innocent victim. The lack of emotion and moral outrage regarding the governor's slap on the wrist is puzzling. He wasn't drunk and it was called an accident, not a "crash", so maybe this death was not as tragic. Incidentally, we could find no news article confirming the death or accident (it happened in Santa Rosa, CA) in the Dear Abby letter. It was certainly tailor-made for the plug and accolades that Abby gave to MADD in her reply.
#1: DEAR ABBY: My 19-year-old son was killed by a drunk driver as he got out of a disabled vehicle that had been blocked by a flatbed tow truck with its lights flashing. The drunk driver went around the tow truck and never slowed down. He already had a prior DUI from 7 years ago. From my research, the laws are too easy on these people. Offenders are getting 5 years, often reduced to one or two or community service, for taking an innocent life. This should be second-degree murder, not manslaughter. How can we get the laws changed?...---Dear Abby column. (Dear Abby is a member of MADD's Advisory Board. "Abby" is short for Abigail Van Buren-- an invented name. Apparently it makes the column seem more believable. He real name is Jeanne Phillips)
#2: Former South Dakota Governor Bill Janklow was
released from jail after serving 100 days for an accident that killed a
motorcyclist. A jury convicted him in December of manslaughter and reckless
driving. Sheriff Mike Milstead said Janklow was given no special treatment behind bars,
except that he was kept away from other inmates who might want to seek revenge for his
years as attorney general or governor.---Fox News
How To Avoid a DUI
Our friends at MADD and the traffic safety people at the NHTSA think they know the answer: "Don't drink and drive". If you've read the articles Daytona arrest and drivers handbooks-SEE Tennessee, you'll see that following their advice is no guarantee that you won't be charged with a DUI anyway. Therefore the only foolproof way to avoid a DUI is "Don't Drive."
For those of you who refuse to give up your state's generous privilege of allowing you to drive, here is a list of suggestions for the responsible drinker and for all drivers.
1. If you or anyone with you have even the slightest doubt in your ability to drive, don't attempt it. You may hurt or kill someone, especially yourself. Inability cancels your privilege. Prescription drugs, drowsiness, depression, rowdy friends, unruly children, cell phones, anger, etc. can affect your driving as much as drinking. (But since only alcohol is the target of MADD, these behaviors don't have 2,300 special laws written to discourage them.)
2. Enter the Real World. Driving is always serious business. Check to see that your car is safe and legal. Use common sense. Concentrate. Obey all the traffic laws and watch out for bad drivers. Remember, if you have been drinking and the other guy hasn't, the accident will be blamed on you.
3. Help the police arrest the dangerous drivers. See this list of drunk driving characteristics. If you cannot drive without exhibiting these traits, then don't. The cop on patrol is looking for drunk drivers. Don't waste his time and yours by emulating the sloppy driving of a drunk.
4. Racial profiling is illegal, but drunk profiling is encouraged. To avoid fitting the profile means an extreme lifestyle change. First sell the pickup or low rider. If you are a man, get a sex change operation and use makeup so that you look over thirty-five. Stay off of the main roads. If you are also Black, avoid the N.J. turnpike.
5. Change the laws. Write to your congresspeople. Tell them that you are concerned
about the other 35,000 highway deaths, not only the drunk driving deaths. You
are concerned about the economic consequences of hundreds of thousands of those
arrested for DUI where there was no accident and no injury. You are concerned about
the loss of freedom associated with the DUI laws, especially at sobriety
checkpoints where there is no probable cause to stop you. You are also concerned that
our government's slogan "You drink, you drive, you lose," sends a disturbing
message that up to half of our citizens are "losers".
A DUI Proposal: Revoking "Drinking
Here is a new approach to alcohol abuse and in particular, the problems associated with drunk driving. It retains all of the current punishments for a DUI conviction, except one. A person would receive a restricted drivers license instead of having his driving privilege suspended. Here is the novel idea: The person would not be allowed to purchase alcohol for one year. To enforce the restriction, everyone would be required to show his drivers license to purchase alcohol anytime, anywhere. The seller of alcohol would be subject to prosecution for serving anyone using a restricted license for ID.
If all DUI
convictions were for alcohol abusers, the concept would have merit. Unfortunately, MADD
and other Dont drink any alcohol and drive groups have
caused many a social drinker to become a drunk driver per se. Drunk driving arrests are up in every state that
has adopted the new lower .08 BAC limit. Most of the new arrestees are in the now
they are drunks too category of .08-.10 BAC.
A stronger case would be made for the proposal if the websites quoted statistics were accurate. Instead they just parrot MADDs exaggerated numbers and the pseudo-scientific studies conducted by the interconnected anti-alcohol groups.
See: How to Lie With Statistics.
The author of the new proposal laments the fact that DUI cases are clogging the court and prison system. If drunk drivers are all truly violent criminals, as MADD suggests, then we must be patient and make sure these criminals are locked away for a long time. If the clogging is the result of people who have caused no accident or injury, then its time to rethink the punishment. Or build very large prisons.
For the proposal,
Hardly a week goes by without another sports figure, entertainer, politician or law enforcer going down for drunk driving. Even "top cop" Peggy Lautenschlager, Wisconsin's Attorney General was busted after her car landed in a ditch. At first glance, it gives us hope that at least no one is above the law. If you examine these arrests closely, however, you'll find that the politicians and law enforcers are only arrested when they have crashed, killed or injured someone. In other words, when it is difficult for the cop on the scene to look the other way. Perhaps if the law makers and the police knew they would receive the same punishment as the common folk, we would have laws based on reason rather than manufactured hysteria. "Police officers have discretion whenever they stop anyone, but they should particularly extend that courtesy in the case of other police officers and their families," Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association president Jeff Frayler---Newsday. At least he's honest enough to admit it.