Fighting Against Alcoholism and DWI

A Historical Perspective

Laws prohibiting dui have been on the books since 1910 when the state of New York passed the first in this nation. Other states started to do the same. During the mid 20th century, government groups began to establish blood alcohol levels as standards by which inebriated chauffeurs might be legally recognized and prosecuted. Countering this effort was a less critical view of the problem by the public. The subject was often dealt with as a joke; the happy-go-lucky intoxicated remained a staple of animations, funny phase routines, and stumbled from the motion picture screen to the tv screen. Instead of endangering lives and paying for a newark nj dwi lawyer you could just refrain from drinking and driving.


Society’s mindsets started to alter in the early 1980s and late 1970s. Candy Lightner, grieving over the loss of her daughter, founded the group Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) in 1980. MADD worked non-stop to replace the image of the harmless drunk with the faces of children, students, dads, mothers, and other members of society whose lives were taken at the hands of hazardous drunk motorists.

As these efforts picked up speed, the public not viewed the drunk driver as having committed a small, forgivable social synthetic pas, but more appropriately as a criminal selfishly putting our liked ones at risk.

As an outcome of these efforts, significant progress has been made in getting us to where we are today concerning charges and laws concerning driving under the influence. Inning accordance with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2010 saw a reduction in the number of people who self-reported driving while under the influence (down to 13.2 % vs. 14.6% in previous years). The National Highway Travel Safety administration discovered that alcohol-related traffic deaths fell to their present levels of around 40%, down from a high in 1980 of 60%.

The Problem Persists

Society changed its mind about driving while intoxicated, demanding harsher charges and shunning offenders. Today’s driving while drunk issue can be mainly laid at the feet of a couple of hard-core drinkers, and, possibly more significantly, those who aid them in breaking the law by allowing them access to alcohol. The continued rate of fatalities shows that monetary penalties, public shame as well as jail time are not always enough to stop the hard-core drinker.

States are taking steps to additional increase charges to fulfill federal standards. To certify for federal highway funds, states need to have a legal blood alcohol limitation of 0.08%. In Minnesota, for example, those convicted of driving while intoxicated are forced to install an interlock device on their cars and trucks. In many cases, the driver loses their advantage to consuming alcohol at all and their driver’s license is so significant. Minnesota likewise provides “Whiskey” license plates for identifying vehicle drivers who have been founded guilty.

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