Thursday, January 1, 2009

Drunks Against MADD Mothers

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).


Jimi5150 said...

Good post. One would think this wouldn't be that difficult. We cannot engage in legislation by emotion, or by oppression. Drunk driving will always be a problem, but there are simple ways to make it extremely unwise to repeat the offense.

Deekaman said...

We engage in legislation by emotion (save the whales), oppression (smoking bans) all the time. This may be no different.

I have long wondered tho, why one is unable to purchase alcohol after 9 pm to get drunk at home, but there's no problem with going to a bar until 2am and having to drive home.

Ordinary Jill said...

Probably because the Tavern League has more power than whoever is representing the liquor store owners.

Seriously, though, there is an interesting laboratory of democracy on Madison's north side. Vic Pearce Wine & Spirits is actually in the Town of Burke (or possibly already in the Village of Maple Bluff - an annexation has been sought), so they continue to sell beer & wine (but no spirits) between 9:00 p.m. and midnight. During that three-hour window, they attract a great many drunk drivers.

I know because I used to live in that neighborhood, and I still occasionally drive by there during the danger hours. Whenever the car in front of me is driving slowly and/or erratically, I assume it is on its way to Vic Pearce (and I am almost always right). When I heard about the fatal car crash into the Tenney Park locks, I guessed before even reading the details that a trip to Vic Pearce was involved (and I was right).

That doesn't mean that liquor stores result in more drunk driving than bars. After all, there are bars all over the greater Madison area, but only one Vic Pearce.

Anonymous said...

When is there gonna be an actual group formed to counter some of the laws that are being proposed and help passsed by MADD? Someone should form a large group. There are several drawbacks and negative repurcussions to innocent family members as a result of these laws.The local governments are happily reaping the monetary benefits to their departments.These spiteful and vindictive mothers should have a glass of wine and get laid. Why should I pay for the mistakes of others. We have gone from a case by case basis to punishing groups of citizens.Stop them in the courts.

Anonymous said...

Did you know in IL, that a first time offender with no previous violations AUTOMATICALLY receives a 6 month suspension, of which the first 30 days are MANDATORY. Then for months 2-6 an interlock device can be installed in order for the 1st time offender with no previous violations can legally drive again.

Oh, and while getting caught driving on a suspended licenses is normally punishable by a slap on the wrist and some fines, for a DUI suspension, it's a Class 4 FELONY, punishable by jail time.

All of this for trying to sleep off a night of drinking, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and blowing a .11 at 6:30AM trying to make it home to get ready for Thanksgiving.

I'll be the first member of Drivers Against MADD Mothers if someone wants to get this going.

Murph said...

I'm Murph from Marlton NJ and I'm ready to join any group that would bring these unfair DWI 1st offense
laws to where your not guilty until proven without a doubt that you were a danger to others while driving. In NJ, a 1st offense you really have no defense in the courts, you lose your license for 7months, you have to install an interlock device right away (they assume you are going to break the law and drive on a suspended drivers license). You are treated like you already ran someone down or caused a major accident. 2nd offense, throw the book at someone. Something has to be done to curb these lawmakers from taking our rights away from us.