There is an old saying that politics makes for strange bedfellows. Following a recent study conducted jointly by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, it would seem politics may also make for some strange enemies.

First The Back Story

In a recent Washington Post article, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has apparently taken issue with the results of a joint study that seems to indicate that drunk driving is not as serious a problem as drugged driving. According to the report, a larger percentage of drivers involved in a motor vehicle accident have a higher level of illegal narcotics than alcohol in their blood.

MADD has pushed back against the study, arguing that the report indicates that drunk driving is no longer as serious a problem as driving under the influence of marijuana and other illegal drugs.

MADDsOut-Sized Influence On DUI Laws

It may be argued that the methodology for the study could have been biased because the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility is made up of members including the makers of Bacardi and Jack Daniels. The report concludes that community law enforcement should place equal or more weight on drugged driving, rather than focusing so heavily on drunk driving.

What cannot be argued, however, is the out-sized influence MADD has exerted over the legislative process regarding DUI laws in Arizona and across the nation. MADD’s lobbying efforts have been instrumental in reducing BAC levels across the United States and here in Arizona. In part due to the powerful influence MADD and similar organizations have on legislators, Utah has recently reduced their legal BAC limit to .05, the lowest in the nation. As reported by CBS News, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the reduced BAC means that a relatively light, 160 lbs. man could be over the limit after consuming just two drinks in an hour.

Who Can Be Against Mothers?

While the foundation of MADD’s mission may have started out as honorable, their name alone means that politicians are reluctant to oppose the organization. Their influence in state capitols and their pushback against research that does not support its goals has left community police departments little choice other than heavy enforcement of DUI laws.