I should confess that I am no fan of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. If they focused on legislation like the current proposal to make a third O.W.I. a felony, or other measures that target drunk driving, I would applaud their efforts.
However, they seem to feel that adults should not be able to legally have a glass of wine (by which I mean a standard wine glass, not a super-size Lautenschlager glass) before driving themselves home. There is no scientific evidence that a blood alcohol level of .08% or .09% results in significant impairment. Yet, due entirely to the lobbying efforts of MADD, states have rolled back the legal limit from .10%.
Now, they wish to impose sobriety checkpoints (a monumental waste of taxpayer dollars and law enforcement's time) and cumbersome ignition locks (a major expense and inconvenience for innocent family members who share a vehicle) as well. How long before they push for .05% as the legal limit? Or expand "not a drop" laws beyond minors to other demographic groups (like seniors, or those with speeding tickets)?
With that said, I am very surprised that Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker has publically gone on record defending repeat drunk drivers. He may think the Tavern League has his back, but they have enough to worry about fighting for exemptions from any statewide smoking ban. He should pick his battles and focus on stopping checkpoint legislation.
If he were really smart, he would introduce alternate legislation making three O.W.I. convictions within 10 years, or two within a year, a felony. Or some other measure that would get tough on repeat drunk drivers. How about a statewide registry, so those picked up in different counties don't slip through the cracks? His spokeswoman said he "would support" making a third offense a felony if it occurred within 10 years. But I doubt he will be eager to actively promote such legislation. Instead, it looks like he is campaigning for the leadership of DAMM (Drunks Against MADD Mothers).
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