Thursday, February 10, 2005

American Beverage Institute Says MADD's Solutions Don't Address the Real Drunk Driving Problem

The American Beverage Institute (ABI), which represents many of America's favorite family restaurants, challenged a lobbying push by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to implement sobriety checkpoints in Texas, saying that the group is pursuing tactics that target responsible adults, not drunk drivers.

"By calling for increased roadblocks and PR campaigns, MADD is studiously ignoring the root cause of today's drunk driving problem -- hard core product abusers," said ABI executive director John Doyle.

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that the average blood alcohol content (BAC) of a drunk driver in a fatal car crash is 0.19% -- more than twice the legal limit. The NHTSA administrator said that today's problem is "by far and away" made up of "those who have alcohol use disorders." And a NHTSA study found that "specific deterrence strategies, like roving patrols that 'hunt down' DWIs, might be the optimum means for targeting the hard core drinking driver."

"The number of DWI arrests made by the roving patrol program was nearly three times the average number of DWIs made by the checkpoint programs," NHTSA reported. "If making a large number of DWI arrests is an objective of a program, [the data] clearly suggests that roving patrols would be the preferred option."

"While the problem at the root of drunk driving has changed, our strategies to address it have not. Unfortunately, instead of focusing efforts on the chronic drunk drivers, many in the traffic safety community are targeting the millions of responsible Americans who choose to drink responsibly before driving with expensive PR campaigns and sweeping roadblocks," Doyle said.

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