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Thursday, September 04, 2008

DUI Ads Make Good Point

Have you seen the new ads from the Department of Transportation relating to DUI? They are over the top and hilarious. One shows a guy being stopped by a cop and when he rolls his window down, beer pours out like water through Hoover Dam. The cop says, "Sir, have you been drinking tonight?" Check it out: http://www.break.com/nhtsa/sir-have-you-been-drinking-tonight.html

Funny stuff, but it re-enforces the dangers of drinking and driving. It’s hard to believe that at one time, drunk driving and drunks were considered funny. I remember a cartoon where a guy is stopped by a cop for drunk driving and he says, "I had to drive, I couldn’t walk." Then there was the character actor in movies of the 1930s who made a career out of playing "funny" drunks. I’m sure many of you also know Foster Brooks who made a career out of playing drunks. Ironically, Brooks did not drink in real life.

The debate over the drinking age being 18 or 21 continues to rage but what difference does it make? I have seen 18 year olds who are more mature than 25 year olds when it comes to drinking, especially in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. When I was 18 in Ohio, the state allowed those between 18 and 21 to drink 3.2% beer while you had to be 21 to drink 6% beer or whiskey. That worked pretty well as beer is primarily what the 18 year olds wanted anyway.

What about those who serve in the armed services? With the national drinking age now being 21, should those in the military under that age be exempt? I think so. If you are old enough to fight for your country you certainly should be allowed to have a beer.

There will always be a problem with enforcement of drinking laws. College kids under 21 are going to have "keggers." They have their ways of getting the stuff and couldn’t care less about the drinking laws. This applies to adults also. From 1919 until 1933 the U.S. had "Prohibition" which meant that it was illegal for ANYBODY to drink. That amendment was one of the biggest failures of all time as people probably drank more during that era. Have you ever wondered why they were called "The Roaring Twenties"?

People like to drink and are going to do it regardless of Sunday or age prohibitions. We can only hope that most do it responsibly. TV spots like those from the DOT are funny and meaningful. We can only hope they are effective.

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