First of all, would like to say. It’s my first post on these boards as I peruse the web for a nice new community that’s both tolerant and impassioned. And as such, would like to start with a post that’s one of my biggest pet peeves.
I’ll start off by admitting my biases. I’m a bartender, and I formerly worked at a liquor store. I am an avid drinker. I was raised by parents that worked as distributors of wines in Texas. Alcohol, and the appreciation of it, runs through my veins.
That all said, I can fully respect the anti-drunk driving movement that has swept the US over the last 30 some odd years. Anti-drunk driving laws are a nice thing, and when enforced I believe can actually have quite a positive effect.
However, MADD states their apparent goal as to oppose drunken driving. A noble cause, surely. But are their proposed remedies attacking the root of the issue? I would submit that they are, in fact, doing very little to further their cause but instead simply furthering the temperance movement.
If their actual goal was to reduce drunken driving, and not to further restrict the consumption of alcohol, would it not make more sense to lobby for increased mass transit hours after bars close? Would it not make sense to reduce cab taxes after hours? Would it not make sense to oppose a state-wide bar closure time so all the drunks aren’t on the road at once?
MADD is, for whatever reason, a reasonably strong lobbying organization. They’ve got some political power, but they choose to use it in ways that don’t work towards their means. They choose to oppose increasing bar working hours, they choose to lobby for speed limit decreases, they choose to lobby for lowering the BAC limit while driving, they choose to be in favor of increased alcohol taxes, they choose to oppose the package store sale of alcohol later.
And while their tactics-in theory-work in rural situations (although I rarely see less people willing to drive drunk, instead more people carpooling with a single drunk driver), they’re ineffective towards their ends for an urban one.
Seems to me, the best solution to drunk driving is to provide an alternative. Telling people there’s a 1 in 500 chance they’ll get stopped for DWI (which realistically, is what it amounts to) is not horribly dissuasive. Telling people they can’t buy beer after 12am, liquor after 9pm. but can go to a bar and drink until 12a or 2am (depending on their country, in Texas) in my mind encourages them to go away from home to drink. Increasing the alcohol taxes does little but fill government coffers and squeeze out businesses, as does increase fines for DWIs. Decreasing the BAC rate does little but squeeze businesses out of alcohol sales (a huge profit) and screw over customers that wish to drink, but not get drunk. Do you realize how little alcohol .08% BAC is? Hell, .1% is so little as well.
I just don’t understand why MADD can’t actively advocate graveyard mass transit shifts that work from bar districts to denser residential ones. I’d love to get drunks off the road, but their current means are simply not working. In (Paris)France, the non-US nation in which I have the most experience, they run busses (close most metro routes) on a very scaled back level late night, allowing the drunks a ride home. You’ll have to walk a few more blocks than usual, but all in all it’s worth it because you’ve both prevented the ticket, but also prevented the risk you didn’t want to take in the first place.
And I’ll leave it at that for now. Cheers.