Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Political Fiction: War On DUI

We're all outraged by DUI accidents. We believe we know the source of our outrage, but few of us can articulate that source to another person. For the vast majority of people, their angst at DUI is just something they know they should be angry about—end of story.

Well, the facts about DUI may surprise you. Let’s take the government’s position (which in reality is the most common source for our outrage):

1. Government exists to protect the people.
2. Alcohol-related accidents kill people. Thousands of people die each year.
3. DUI is the scourge of society and an epidemic that must be stopped.

Is that a fair enough description of your viewpoint as well? It is for most people.

Oh, if only it were true, but there are no facts to support such a protest. In fact, the facts say that the opposite is true. The facts clearly show that government:

1. Government preys on the people they are chartered to protect.
2. Happy Hour kills people more than any other alcohol-related activity
3. DUI is encouraged, created, promoted, and protected by government.

Outrageous? Unbelievable? Read on…

These facts are supported by the government, as a matter of fact, they come from the government. You see, alcohol-related deaths are the collateral damage of a campaign to create and promote as much DUI as possible.
Absurd!! No, unfortunately not.

Fact 1: On average 1.5 million people are arrested for DUI and 17,000 people die in alcohol-related accidents. In 30 years these numbers have varied only a few percentage points around these historical averages. Despite improvements in automobile safety, despite laws that are draconian in their harshness, and despite publicly shaming these criminals, nothing changes. Except once.
These numbers did begin to trend downward at the turn of the century, but the law was changed in 2001, lowering the threshold of intoxication from .10 to .08, and the numbers of arrests and deaths returned to their historical norms.

Fact 2: For every family that buries a loved one innocently killed in a DUI auto accident, three to four families bury a loved one killed in a single-car DUI accident. Sixty to eighty percent of people who die in an alcohol-related accident have alcohol in their blood. This is another 30 year historical norm.

Fact 3: Government has grown the number of licensed establishments that dispense alcohol-laced liquids exponentially in the past 30 years. There are even 130 gas stations in America that are licensed by government to have a bar in them.

So far the government has told us that there is no improvement in the DUI numbers, that the majority of people killed have alcohol in their blood, and that they are growing the problem by licensing ever more restaurants and bars to serve alcohol-laced liquids. Still, there’s more—a lot more.

FACT 4: Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) spent less than two-percent of its revenue lobbying government between 1998 and 2004. As a matter of fact the Correctional Vendors Association spent more money lobbying Congress during that period than did MADD and both lawyer associations and the for-profit prison industry spent exponentially more money lobbying legislators. Source: Center For Public Integrity, Lobby Watch

FACT 5: The biggest single contributor to MADD is the government. The 2nd largest contributors is the auto industry. Which makes sense when you realize that MADD’s marketing message of fear drives people from small low-profit automobiles into larger high-profit trucks and SUVs. Source: MADD’s annual reports.

FACT 6: If all the alcohol-laced liquid consumed in 2002 were put into tanker trucks, it would make a convoy over 9,500 miles long. Source: The alcohol industry.

Now, that you know the war on DUI is an illusion. I'll tell you what purpose it serves in my next blog. If you can't wait you can read about it under the Political Fictions menu selection on the Accidental Felons Website.


PS: 2,000 to 7,000 of those 17,000 people who die each year are truly innocent victims killed by someone driving drunk. This post doesn't lessen the pain of their loved ones. Speeding, trucks and SUVs are the major killers of people in auto accidents. As sad as it is, innocent people killed by a drunk driver is 20 percent of the people killed in auto accidents. Add in the people who law would argue were not innocent, those with alcohol in their blood, and we still capture only 50 percent of the total. Speed and steel hurling down the highway at 70 mph kills the other 50 percent of people.

No comments:

Post a Comment