Pubdate: Wed, 30 Dec 1998
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Copyright: 1998 Mercury Center


THE nationwide push to criminalize operating a motor vehicle with a .08
percent blood-alcohol content is an unfortunate result of the demagoguery
of organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (Page 1B, Dec. 28).

Most traffic crash fatalities involve sober people. Government statistics
show that persons with low blood-alcohol levels (.01 percent to .09
percent) were involved in 5.8 percent of all fatal crashes, while 76
percent of fatal crashes were listed as non-alcohol-related.

But despite these facts, MADD continues to fan the flames of political
hysteria, leading the president to call for further erosion of motorists'
rights, already limited by implied consent laws, license suspensions, the
use of road blocks and punishments that far exceed the offense.

It's time to focus our efforts against drunk driving where it will really
make a difference. Not on enacting harsher and harsher penalties for social
drinkers, to the point where leaving the scene of an accident becomes a
less serious crime than being caught driving with a .08 blood-alcohol
content, but on the high-blood alcohol drivers and repeat offenders who
make up the majority of alcohol-related traffic fatalities.

Michael Pelletier
San Jose 
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Checked-by: Richard Lake