We frequently hear that drunk drivers “cause 50% of all highway fatalities.” This falls into the category of “tell a big enough lie long enough and loud enough and people will believe it.”
The truth is closer to 10% of all highway fatalities are caused by drunk drivers. This certainly isn’t good, but let’s at least put the issue in perspective.
Our government and certain self serving “non-profit” organizations have exaggerated this problem beyond any sense of reality to promote an agenda that eliminates basic individual rights, undermines our system of due process and heaps onerous penalties on people who have not injured anyone and may not have met any reasonable standard of “impairment.”
So where do the numbers that we hear being repeated time after time come from?
The “government speak” term is “alcohol-related.” This term was created to deliberately mislead and confuse the general public about the magnitude of the drunk-driving problem.
When you hear some “expert” state that 40 or 50 percent of all fatal accidents are “alcohol-related,” the intention is to make you believe that drunk drivers are responsible for causing all these fatalities. This is pure propaganda.
The federal government defines an alcohol-related fatal traffic accident as an accident where someone died and a person involved in the accident had some measurable amount of alcohol in his or her system. For example:
- A sober driver hits a pedestrian who has been drinking, even modestly. That’s considered an alcohol-related accident.
- A sober driver rear-ends a driver that has had something to drink. That’s considered an alcohol-related accident.
- A driver has a single drink and is involved in a fatal accident that he did not cause. That’s considered an alcohol-related accident.
Do these sound like “drunk-driver-caused” accidents to you? That’s what the government and the anti-drinking organizations would like you to believe.
Unfortunately, the media often parrots back the “alcohol-related” statistics to the general public which inevitably prompts people to push for more and more draconian penalties.
The common response when this misinformation is pointed out is for people to say, “Well, just don’t drink and drive and you won’t have to worry about it.” This is disingenuous at best. The truth is that these laws will certainly affect many drivers who never even had a sip of alcohol.
The constant stream of misinformation over the years has created a hysteria about drunk driving. This hysteria has made normally rational people line up to give away their constitutional rights. The sad thing is that these rights are being given up for nothing. They’re being given up for the illusion of safety.
It’s worth noting that the NMA does not support drunk driving. No rational organization does.