MADD's Political Agenda
MOTHERS AGAINST DRUNK DRIVING’S NATIONWIDE CAMPAIGN TO LOWER STATUTORY BAC LEVELS TO 0.08% IS A POLITICAL AGENDA THAT HAS NO CLEAR PUBLIC SAFETY BENEFIT
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) was founded by a group of California women in 1980 after a 13 year old girl was killed by a hit-and-run driver. The driver was a chronic alcoholic who also happened to be a chronic drunk driver. The MADD founders were outraged by what they perceived to be a lenient sentence handed down by the California judge as part of a plea bargain in the criminal case that arose from the fatal accident. Since that time MADD has developed into one of the largest and most powerful political action/advocacy organizations in the U.S.
MADD’s activities were originally geared towards legitimate educational and victim support oriented functions. MADD’s political focus was geared towards removing chronic/alcoholic drunk drivers from the nation’s highways. Responsible social drinkers who drove home after a wedding or after good conversation with friends at the neighborhood pub were not targets of MADD’s efforts. To the extent that MADD has worked to support victims and to educate the public about legitimate chronic alcoholic/drunk driving issues it should be commended. Unfortunately, in recent years the national MADD organization and most of it’s local chapters have been taken over by ultra-conservative, anti-alcohol extremists who have adopted a political agenda that threatens the second coming of Prohibition.
Instead of focusing on ways to remove the chronic/alcoholic drunk driver from our highways, MADD’s primary focus is upon "drivers who have had something to drink." MADD is undeterred by the fact that government accident and fatality data clearly show that low BAC "drivers who have had something to drink" do not pose a legitimate threat to public safety. The fact that a sleepy person or a person talking on a cell-phone while driving may be inherently more dangerous than someone who has had two or three beers to drink appears to be of no concern to MADD.
MADD’s modus operandi is to use generalizations, misstatements, scapegoating, distortions of the truth and victimization propaganda to force the federal and state governments to pass increasingly irrational and draconian DUI laws. MADD seeks to clone itself onto local governments (in much the same manner as did the National Socialist Party in Germany during the years following World War I ) by entering into government/private sector "partnerships"; by having it’s propaganda displayed in government buildings; by having it’s logo attached to government vehicles and police uniforms; by giving awards and political support to judges and other public officials who are either afraid of, or who support, their agenda; and by working to require citizens who have been criminalized for DUI to attend mandatory MADD propaganda seminars as a condition of probation.
If MADD’s political agenda is ever fulfilled, no person in the U.S. will be able to drive home after drinking a couple of beers at a ball game or after enjoying wine with a meal at a restaurant without violating the law, risking arrest and being subjected to unlimited civil liability. If MADD’s attempts to criminalize low BAC drivers really saved lives it would be one thing. However, all available valid government data indicates that it does not. Even the principal founder of MADD has left the organization, citing a lack of focus on the real public safety issue, that of getting high BAC chronic/alcoholic drunk drivers off the road.
Although MADD steadfastly asserts that it is not embarked upon an anti-alcohol crusade, MADD’s actions belie it’s words. Here are a few features of MADD’s published public policy agenda. If you work in the alcohol or restaurant/hospitality industries you definitely need to read this:
- MADD advocates the imposition of "significant" additional federal excise taxes, particularly on beer and wine. The intent is to tax beer and wine at the same rate as hard liquor. This will make the purchase of beer and wine more expensive, possibly doubling or tripling the price.
- MADD advocates the imposition of "substantial" increases in other federal and state taxation on all alcoholic beverages.
- MADD advocates criminal punishment being imposed upon citizens who have only been charged with, but not convicted of, the crime of DUI.
- MADD maintains an adversarial position against the alcohol industry. Under MADD’s definition, "alcohol industry" includes distillers, brewers, wineries, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, alcohol related trade associations, and any non-profit organization that receives a majority of its funds from any of the entities listed above.
- MADD supports a revision of the federal Transportation Employee Testing Act that would require random, mandatory post-hiring/pre-duty alcohol and drug testing of all workers subject to the act.
- MADD advocates the use of passive alcohol sensors (on flashlights, etc.) by police to detect any use of alcohol. Ostensibly, this is supposed to be used to detect underage drinking. The real purpose is to give police a basis to detect and arrest more and more unimpaired "drinking drivers."
- MADD advocates the use of, and conducts, "court monitoring" as a means of intimidating those judges who lack sufficient moral character to render justice and exercise independent judgment in the face of MADD coercion.
- MADD is continuously lobbying politicians to pass increasingly oppressive, draconian DUI laws that are primarily aimed at low BAC drivers. Indeed, six to eight hundred thousand American citizens are arrested each year for low BAC DUI even thought they were not impaired at the time of their arrests and despite the fact they constituted no threat to public safety. Legislators who stand up for the constitutional liberties of their constituents in the face of MADD’s legislative assaults are publicly ridiculed and defamed.
- MADD position papers advocate the imposition of special alcohol related ‘Constitutional Amendments” and a "Victims’ Bill of Rights" in every state. MADD is actively lobbying for tort reform legislation that would provide for the award of punitive damages and unlimited compensatory damages in civil cases where alcohol involvement has been alleged.
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