Applause for op-ed's criticism of MADD

Posted: August 13, 2008

THE OP-ED "Phony Drunken Driving stats" by Sarah Longwell was long overdue.

In January 1994, I wrote that MADD's credibility was in question since its emphasis on arrest numbers seemingly overshadowed the real goal of highway safety. It seemed that MADD was upset because, in '92, there was reported a 12 percent drop in the number of "drunken driving offenders."

In an August column, I expressed outrage over MADD's campaign to lower the BAC from 0.10 to 0.08. I also condemned the MADD-supported and unconstitutional ALS (administrative license suspension) proposal.

As Ms. Longwell reports, the dwindling of DUI arrest numbers have caused local and state police authorities to revise their accident report forms with a new category - "alcohol-related." This again is MADD's attempt to inflate the numbers so that it maintains its unauthorized sway.

As Ms. Longwell so eloquently details, checkpoints (a politically correct term for the unsavory "roadblock") now garner the majority of their arrest numbers from unsuspecting social drinkers who happened to have a glass or two of wine or beer at dinner.

As recent as this past April in Upper Darby, more than 1,100 people were stopped, resulting in 20 under-the-influence violators being cited.

These numbers certainly do not reflect the dire drunken epidemic MADD professes. But it does provide foreboding evidence as to the death of that Fourth Amendment cornerstone of probable cause.

How can we make our highways safe? Realistically, it's impossible. But the way to eradicate the so-called menace is not by prosecuting the social drinker based on some arbitrary blood level.

Abuses from this well-intentioned effort must be corrected.

Jim Bowman, Ormond Beach, Fla.

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