Barron Lerner, MADD, and other musings

In a piece on Thursday(see ‘U.S. Behind The Curve In Drunk Driving, Author Finds), public radio interviewed Barron Lerner, a doctor who’s plugging his new book called “On the Road,” about drinking and driving.

Lerner said he tried an experiment on himself to see how many drinks it would take for him to get drunk. He said it took five glasses of whiskey. Other sources, easily located with search engines, say you can have a .08 percent blood alcohol concentration(BAC) after drinking 3 or 4 drinks in two hours. What about one hour? Of course, it all depends on how fast you drink, your gender, your weight, whether you’ve eaten and how strong the drinks are.

Lerner was trying to make the point that we here in the United States have overly lenient drunk driving laws. What he would like to see is a cutoff of .02 percent BAC as the standard for drunk driving, which is what’s in place in Norway, he said. He would also like to see devices in cars that force people to blow into a tube in order to drive, much moreso than what’s in place now.

But at least Lerner admits that people here are less tolerant of government having its head up their asses than in some places, and seems to admit that his fantasy of driving out the scourge of demon beer will never happen. But that won’t stop them from trying. Lerner, his comrades at Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and its funders at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are all going to work tirelessly to keep people from getting even mildly buzzed, whether we like it or not.

The Center for Consumer Freedom, run by lobbyist Rick Berman,aka Dr. Evil, has another story to tell about the likes of Lerner and in particular his compatriots at MADD.

According to Dan Mindus — an analyst at CCF — once upon a time MADD really was about getting drunk drivers off the road, but then something happened. Over time, MADD accomplished a lot of its mission, and what it was about needed to be redirected. According to Mindus, real drunks don’t listen to campaign ads about the evils of drinking, because maybe they have a serious problem.

The people who listen to such campaigns are regular people who are not drunks and who do not kill people on the road, at least not any more than people who drive too fast, don’t wear their seat belts, or who simply are not careful drivers. But in order to remain relevant, MADD had to change its focus, and thus MADD was slowly transformed from a citizens group to basically a money machine. In fact, MADD has become so extreme that its founder has broken ties with the group:

“MADD founder Candy Lightner has broken ties with the group. In 2002, she told the Washington Times, “[MADD] has become far more neo-prohibitionist than I had ever wanted or envisioned … I didn’t start MADD to deal with alcohol. I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving.”

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