What, Was Ralph Nader Busy?

Per Overlawyered:

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is anything but an uncontroversial organization, as the Washington Times, Radley Balko, and our own archives make clear. Among the bad, sometimes awful ideas with which it has been identified are a reduction of the blood alcohol limit to 0.4 (meaning that for some adults a single drink could result in arrest), blanket police roadblocks and pullovers, the 55 mph speed limit, traffic-cams, and the imprisonment of parents who knowingly permit teen party drinking, to name but a few. Of particular interest when it comes to the policies of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it has backed proposed legislation demanding that costly breathalyzer-ignition interlock systems be foisted on all new cars, whether or not their drivers have ever committed a DUI offense; it's also lined up with the plaintiff's bar on various dubious efforts to expand liability.

Now President Obama has named MADD CEO Chuck Hurley to head NHTSA. Drivers, car buyers, and the American public had better brace themselves for a season of neo-Prohibitionist rhetoric, nannyist initiatives, and efforts to criminalize now-lawful conduct. It won't be pretty.

Olson has tons of history linked on his site.


  1. tribal elder:

    Misplaced decimal point, I think- isn't .08 is the current federal cramdown limit, down from .10 ?

    I suspect most of us would be DEAD at .4

  2. Brian Dunbar:

    the American public had better brace themselves for a season of neo-Prohibitionist rhetoric, nannyist initiatives, and efforts to criminalize now-lawful conduct.

    I like how the Democrats seem hell-bent on out-doing the Republicans in every area: they can spend more, they can alienate more people and they can by gosh and golly be better at enacting laws to prevent adults from being adults.

  3. Dan:

    Tar and feathers, people.

  4. NJconservative:

    I remember T-shirts on sale during my college years advertising a mythical organization called DAMM.

    Drunks Against Mad Mothers.

    I liked it then, and I like it now.

  5. Greg:

    No doubt today, if you actually wore one of those DAMM t-shirts, you'd be arrested for hate speech or for being a terrorist sympathiser.

  6. Allen:

    The main problem with .04 is there little actual science showing it is any more safe than .08. We've likely already attained large gains in implementing .1 and cracking down on drunk driving (legally and socially). .08 is a bit more shaking when it comes to improving things. .04 doesn't appear to have any reasoning behind it in terms of how people can drive a car or function in general compared to .08. There doesn't seem to be much reason for it other than someone wants the limit to be lower and that's twice as low. There would be huge costs associated with this.

    Keep in mind the practicality of it. Think of how police pull over drivers for drunk driving and that whole process. The not so secret "dirty" scoop is most of the time most officers take a very pragmatic approach. For example, If the person blows a .083 and it seems likely they stopped drinking an hour ago by the time they get them in for the real test (in states where field PBT isn't evidence) they're going to below the limit. And ya, they could still charge them but what's the point. Especially if it's a busy night why tie yourself up for 4 hours in that process for someone who's marginal at best? .04 would likely make enforcement all the more inconsistent.

    I've never been a fan of drunk driving. But there's a difference between having enough alcohol in ones system to impare ones driving and simply declaring the .04 is illegal. Oh, and BTW, I had short period of time where I lived with my brother-in-law and sister and got to blow in a PBT a few times after coming home from the bars. I can't say I was comfortable with the time I blew .06 but that wasn't so much the control level but as I was just really tired on the way home. I'd be more worried about people with a lack of sleep driving than I would about people driving at a .04.

  7. Bob Smith:

    There doesn’t seem to be much reason for it

    MADD has long stopped being an anti-drunk-driving group and is now an alcohol prohibition group.

  8. Peter:

    The t-shirts at my college said the only four-o I ever got was my blood alcohol level. And yes there were a few that actually achieved the .40 and not only were some of them still conscious but were actually walking around.
    On a more serious note the .04 limit is already in effect for CDL drivers not just when they are driving commercial vehicles but even when they drive their personal car. When I go out for dinner if my wife and I each have one drink I have to have her drive home because she is allowed twice the limit even though I am the "professional" driver.