<%@ Page Language="VJ#" %> Drivers Against MaNiacs

Drivers Against MaNiacs

Drunks Against Mad Mothers (DAMM) Strike Back

It doesn’t matter if you’re a water buffalo, canary, house pet or person, chances are favorable that you are aware of the use of statistics in our lives. Whether you’re being born, voting, living, or dying you are personally involved with statistics. I was forced to take (and pass) a Statistics class prior to receiving my college diploma, even though I claimed to be a conscientious objector.

If you’re wondering what I could have possibly been conscientiously objecting to, it was the whole concept of statistical methods. You see, I’ve watched these little bits of information be used in ways that just are not right. With the correct wording, sentence structure and a little well placed inflection, the results of a study or survey can be, and usually are, manipulated to portray whatever you want them to.

I’m going to use drunken driving statistics to show how this is accomplished. Before everyone starts trying to lynch me let me state that I do not advocate drunk driving in any way, shape or form. I’ve done it hundreds of times and I have finally concluded it’s stupid. Without adequate research and personal knowledge, however, I would not be able to say with any authority how stupid it is. (Disclaimer: The author no longer drives drunk.)

In 1980 an organization called Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) was created. Since then, MADD has grown from a small grass roots effort to a national phenomenon and they’ve done it by presenting data about drinking and driving in a manner that renders the population without a means of contesting their claims.

For instance, http://www.madd.org/ quotes information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that says in 2005, 39 percent of all traffic fatalities were killed in alcohol-related crashes. That’s 16,895 out of 43,443 people killed in accidents that involved alcohol. That is comparable to one person every half-hour.

This is true. What they don’t tell you though is what I have a problem with.

The term "alcohol-related" doesn’t say the fatality was caused by the presence of alcohol. If a drunk guy is walking down the street and a sober driver runs over him while swerving to miss a herd of penguins, that’s considered an alcohol-related fatality. If a drunk driver in a car gets hit by a sober guy on a bicycle, that’s reported as an alcohol-related fatality. An NHTSA Highway & Vehicle/Safety Report estimated 12 percent of alcohol-related traffic fatalities involve an intoxicated bicyclist or pedestrian and not a drunk behind the wheel of a car.

The NHTSA has also declared “a motor vehicle crash is considered to be alcohol-related if at least one driver or non-occupant (such as a pedestrian or pedal cyclist) involved in the crash is determined to have had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .01 gram per deciliter (g/dL) or higher.” A BAC of .01 is a long way from the .08 that is considered legally intoxicated in the United States.

So when MADD cites statistics saying 39 percent of traffic fatalities, or 16,885 people, were killed in alcohol-related crashes, we now know that 2,024 of those deaths weren’t the result of someone drinking and driving an automobile. Out of the remaining 14,859 fatalities, it’s estimated that 15 percent or 2,228 fatalities involved someone with a BAC less than .08 which is not even legally intoxicated. That leaves us with 12,631 out of 43,443 traffic fatalities actually caused by drunken drivers. That comes out to 29 percent and not the 39 percent being cited by MADD.

If we then consider that 29 percent of all traffic fatalities in this country are caused by drunk drivers, wouldn’t that indicate, statistically speaking of course, that 71 percent of all traffic fatalities are caused by sober people? Who is causing more deaths on our nation’s roads, drunks or sober folks? Who should MADD really be mad at?

Another statistic I came across while researching for this article has left me scratching my head and asking, “Huh?”

According to a study released by Loyola University Health Systems, safety belts were found wrapped around 12.8 percent of fatally injured intoxicated drivers, while a whopping 33 percent of sober drivers killed in crashes were buckled in. These statistics tell me that 87.2 percent of drunks not wearing seat belts walked away from accidents while only 67 percent of sober people not buckled up were able to walk away.

And that’s why I despise the word statistics. Statistics tell me that sober folks cause more fatal accidents than drunks. So why aren’t the people not drinking and driving breaking the law, being arrested and sent to jail, followed by a treatment program that teaches them the basics of drinking and driving?

Why would there be such a huge push for people to buckle up when clearly the numbers tell us that more people die while wearing their seat belts and not drinking?

Based on this information, I suggest everyone get naked, open a beer and go for a ride without any protection…. from seatbelts I mean.


Stephen Beck said...

“That leaves us with 12,631 out of 43,443 traffic fatalities actually caused by drunken drivers,“ wrote Ron DeYoung.

The problem is with “caused by drunken drivers.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not assign fault or deal with the cause of “alcohol-related” accidents. Many of the A-R accidents were the fault of sober drivers. Of those that were the fault of the drinkers, alcohol may or may not have been the cause; e.g., a missing or obscured stop sign.

A little more to consider about fatal “alcohol-related” accidents: Most of the fatalities are the drinkers, most are single-vehicle accidents, and most happen in rural areas but 80 percent of the population is urban. There’s a world of difference between a snow-covered, twisting mountain road and the main drag of Las Vegas. Further, some are suicides and some of the deaths are due to natural causes such as a heart attack while driving.

Of drivers in accidents, drinking drivers in fatal accidents are 127 thousandths of 1 percent. As seen in your column and above, even that 0.127% greatly exaggerates the issue.

The deceitful practices of NHTSA and MADD go much deeper. Get more information and a free book titled "Big Brother’s New Prohibition" at: sunjambooks.com/DAMM

Stephen Beck

Ron DeYoung said...

Stephen, thanks for the info and for the link to the book, which I have downloaded. It's good to know there are other people out there fighting to expose and alter these behaviors. I've said repeatedly on this blog and in many articles I've written elsewhere, that there are more of us than them. All we need to do is get us all together.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking the time to debunk those folks who are looking to ease their grief by ruling others and their freedoms. I do think that drinking and driving should not be ignored but I remember that even before the self-rightous madd existed, there were dwi laws already.
posted under anonymous because i do not have a google account.
my email is [email protected]

Anonymous said...

At least 100 people a week attend the MADD VIP meetings in my small county. At $50 a pop, plus another $15 for the BAC, that's a serious chunk of change. No wonder the devastated victim's advocate cheered right up while counting the fat wad of cash (checks, credit cards not accepted).

Not to mention the $1000's each "drunk" pays for lawyers, fines, probation, etc. Drinking and driving has become such a huge income generator I wonder why I still have to pay taxes. Oh I forgot MADD has to pay their administrators and fundraisers over 50%. That and other expenses seem to leave less than $1 million for actual lobbying. But then, they haven't posted an annual report for 3 years.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the money that goes to the AA meetings when that cult brainwashes some sucker into joining because the court says they have to attend meetings prior to a trial. The system no longer stresses the innocent until proven guilty point anymore the courts make you jump through hoops before you really legally have to. The moment you are charged you are already tried and convicted, and the burden of proof is put upon your shoulders rather than the other way around.

mirnarios said...

The sad part is the court system loves dui's because that's where they get most of there money from so they go along with madd. but it's all about money meanwhile the productive citizen goin out for 2 or 3 drinks to celebrate a promotion gets the punishment. It's pretty sad when a sexual predator gets better treatment than a productive citizen just because the state needs money.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to bump an old topic, but I came across an essay from a DUI defense attorney that outlines what the accused goes through and how the charge compares to more grievous charges such as murder. The link is http://www.duicenter.com/new_dui/index.html.