2011 Aug. 29: Alcohol Industry targets MADD (Mothers against drunk driving)

2011 Aug. 29: Alcohol Industry targets MADD (Mothers against drunk driving)



Over the years, ABI has fought MADD on nearly every alcohol-related issue, from liquor taxes to sobriety checkpoints. Often, the merits are debatable. But ABI doesn’t argue for moderation. Like the National Rifle Association, it opposes any restriction, no matter how reasonable. Consider interlocks, which can prevent a car from starting if its driver’s breath, as measured by a sensor, exceeds a proscribed blood-alcohol limit. ABI opposes the use of these devices not just for the general public but even for “first-time DUI offenders.” ABI complains that “legislatures are steadily approving legislation aimed at first-time offenders, often drivers who are only one sip above the limit. … This legislation is the first step of anti-alcohol groups toward their long-term goal of universal interlocks.”

This extremism is part of a broader pattern. In addition to MADD, ABI is waging PR wars against the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, and other organizations with “very radical agendas.” ABI’s executive director, Rick Berman, runs a network of lobbying groups that oppose regulation of animal welfare, soda, corn syrup, indoor tanning, and mercury in fish. Berman’s Web sites condemn the Humane Society of the United States and claim that the “anti-cancer benefits” of tanning “far outweigh the risks associated with over-exposure.” In defense of public smoking, Berman asserts a “lack of evidence that second-hand smoke causes cancer.”

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