Misleading The U.S. Public
The Continuing Story of MADD and NHTSA
The NMA has been the lone objector for some time now of certain parts of the assemblages known as SADD, DADD, BADD, RADD, MADD, etc. and their campaigns waged against drunk driving. (We’re not in favor of drunk driving, remember). Certainly, our position regarding these topics have been fairly extreme, e.g. law enforcement types should have probable cause to stop motorists and test their BAC level., the blood alcohol content baselines should be reasonable, and that there should be access to a fair trial when people have been charged with a DWI.
We’ve also opposed the use of certain terms and figures, statistics that are contrived to mislead the general public and ensure support for the political and economical benefit of key groups and organizations. One of our front-runners is the NHTSA’s “alcohol-connected deaths.”
This misnomer of statistical origins insinuates that practically any recordable quantity of alcohol in a suspect’s body is apparent proof that alcohol was the source of the fatality. A person walking on the street, after consuming a single drink, run over on a sidewalk by a driver who has NOT been drinking becomes an alcohol-connected death. At the point MADD is finished building the message, “Alcohol-connected” has become “Mowed down by drunk driver.”
Is there something amiss with applying this hyperbole, this exaggeration and outright falsehood? After all, it’s addressing weighty roadway safety issues. There’s plenty wrong.
Back in the ‘50’s the National Safety Council began the same kind of measures with the “Speed Kills” movement. Speed was essentially the foe set against all of society. It was the hysteria associated with this campaign that set the scene for the public legislatures that made high-speed driving tantamount to reckless driving. “Speed Kills” warranted the intervention of radar enforcement, speed limit underposting, insurance surcharges, large fines, and increased the presence of speed traps to the ridiculous high we all have to cope with today. It’s the underlying reason the 55 mph speed limit became fixed in stone and the reason this flawed law is still on the books today. “Speed Kills” is the principle philosophical rationale for fixing and maintaining unreasonable speed limits.
A Crusade to Reduce BAC’s
The mutual groups of “…ADD’S” and the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration have plunged into a crusade to cut legal BAC, Blood Alcohol Content, levels to the .08% mark. This process is being executed even though the people with BAC’s under .1% – .08% are not overly demonstrated in accidents, that the majority of true alcohol-connected accidents involve much more significant BAC’s, and that anyone demonstrating impaired driving abilities can be detained and convicted of drunk driving, regardless of per se BAC baselines. [A per se law makes it simpler for the allegation to be prosecuted successfully.]
There’s some opposition to cutting the BAC baseline to .08%, as might be expected. In general, it’s the owners of premises distributing alcoholic beverages, bars and restaurants, who have a warranted interest in the result that embodies opposition. There is a scattering of plaintiff lawyers, however, judges, district attorneys, and expert treatment practitioners who have articulated opposition.
From a realistic standpoint .08% BAC’s equal 2 to 3 alcoholic beverages within a period of an hour and the individual in question is likely to receive a drunk driving citation. Until now that’s what all the charts and statistics have said for years, but there may be change in the air.
Coming from the NHTSA and MADD, a new chart is being released. This one states that a 180 pound person requires five alcoholic beverages to reach .08%. That definitely seems like a reasonable standard. But why the variation between this new chart and the accepted one? This is why.
Law makers are more than a touch reluctant to come to terms with a BAC baseline that practically outlaws drinking in social situations and then driving, especially when the suggested baseline will put them in the “drunk driver” group. The advocates fix is to distribute another series of charts that illustrate people can absorb more alcoholic beverages before reaching the illegal limit for driving. What they don’t mention is that the period of consumption is now extended to three hours, up from one hour, and the alcohol content volume drink volume quantity, per drink is significantly lowered!
This is fine for political angling reasons, but it really does an injustice to drivers. This convention carries forward a systematic design of misinformation and deceit that deserves to be exposed and condemned. Sadly, to even propose the motivations behind these alcohol-opposing organizations are less than honest is akin to implying speed doesn’t cause fatalities.
Originally posted 2016-04-02 14:21:28.