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Washington Watch

Liquor Lobby Declares Being A Little Drunk: An American "Tradition"

Effort to Prevent In-Car Breathalyzers Leads to Full-Page Propaganda

What’s Next? Accountants Defending the American Tradition of Tax Evasion & the Phone Companies Defending Texting While Driving?

Apparently, it is now required that when attending a baseball game, a real American is required to have a few beers.

So indicates The American Beverage Association in a full-page ad published in USA Today this past week. The association, known more informally as the "liquor lobby", is trying to block attempts to install breathalyzers in cars. The liquor lobby says that it would mean "no more beers at a ballgame". (Funny, The American Beverage Association's name doesn't appear in the ad.)

On the website www.interlockfacts.com, the lobby further argues that while drunk driving fatalities declined over the last 30 years, speeding and distracted driving deaths have increased to the point where negligent driving is the main cause of deaths on American highways.

The liquor industry decries the fact that speeding contributed to 13,113 fatalities in 2005, supposedly more than any other factor. It also sees hypocrisy in the fact that "most 2008 vehicles continue to boast top speeds well over the highest speed limits (some as fast as 200 mph). Even though recent studies show that 80 percent of crashes result from driver distraction and distracted driving is the number one killer of teens, the number of electronic gadgets available for use during commutes continues to skyrocket. For instance, the number of Americans on cell phones has grown by almost 200 million since 1995."

Of course, if that’s the case, the industry should be joining the rest of us to do something about these issues, not trying to let the inebriate drive. But no, they just want to set the priorities for highway safety advocates: "These deadly habits continue to claim lives on American roadways each day, but "traffic safety" activists aren’t calling for mandatory speed governors (devices that limit a car’s top speed) or for technology to disable mobile phones once a car is running. Those who are committed to preventing the most accidents should be focused on these problems."

But it's not clear that the alcohol companies have their facts straight either. On the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration site, there are reports that indicate that more people died from drunk driving than from speeding. Further, drunk driving is the #1 killer of teenagers.

In fact, drunk driving has been the #1 cause of traffic fatalities for years. Now that's an American Tradition that we need to stop.

This page was created 05-09-2008, however the content may have been pre-existing on a different page.