Friday, May 31, 2013

Official response to draconian DUI proposal

Last week I promised I would ask three key lobbying organizations for their official response to the NTSB's proposal to create a new nationwide standard of DUI.

The proposed new standard, a BAL of 0.05, is reached by the average woman after just one drink, according to the American Beverage Institute. If adopted, it could put an end to dining out as we currently know it.

The proposal worries me, so I contacted the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers Association, the National Restaurant Association and the Wine Institute. I wanted to know what their official response is.

Apparently for the WSWA and NRA (not that NRA), it is to ignore the question. They never responded.

The Wine Institute sent me an official statement. Here it is:
Wine Institute supports education and the strict enforcement of laws to address drunk driving. The legal threshold of .08 BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) was established as a safe level of consumption based on science and law enforcement guidance.  Lowering the legal threshold would effectively criminalize moderate social drinking by responsible adults and divert resources that should be used to target drunk drivers.
I asked a followup question, about the Wine Institute's strategy to fight the proposal, but they didn't respond. Which is fine. That answer is an answer: the official strategy, at this point, is to ignore the NTSB recommendation and hope it goes away.

I'm in favor of that result. So I'm putting this post out here on a Friday, the Internet's lowest readership weekday, and I'm going to leave this issue alone after this, unless/until the threat seems more active. If the expert lobbyists say let's just forget about it ... what were we talking about?

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Amalie Robert Estate said...

If citizens in NYC can’t be trusted with 16oz soda’s, then could this new rulemaking eventually find its way into the new healthcare law?

W. Blake Gray said...

An interesting question, but I doubt it. The healthcare law is going to be extremely hard to amend, even though numerous tweaks are needed, and something like this might be more trouble politically than it's worth. But you never know. It will be important to stay vigilant on last-minute amendments, because if something like this did get on a bill that required an up-or-down vote ... yikes.

kschlach said...

Blake, I seriously doubt that this proposal would completely change dining. First, people would be unlike to really limit their drinking at restaurants. Some people might, but the people already getting drunk and driving aren't following the 0.08 standard. You think they'll start abiding at 0.05? Second, would police really pull over that many more people because driving is noticeably different between >0.08 and >0.051?

W. Blake Gray said...

Kyle: This is the Wine Institute's point -- people already getting drunk and driving could be arrested at the 0.08 standard. It's not the standard that needs changing.