Cover

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Contents

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p. ix

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Preface

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pp. xi-xiii

Have you ever wondered, after having had a few drinks at a party, how drunk you would have to be to be considered a drunk driver? You might be surprised by the answer. If you have the time and money and are age 21 or over, you might try the following experiment. Go to Amazon.com and purchase a Breathalyzer. One that is not too expensive and has good reviews is the AlcoHAWK Slim model. Before using it, ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xvii

I am dedicating this book to those individuals who, having experienced a drunk driving tragedy, subsequently spent parts of their lives trying to make sure this did not happen to other people. My three previous books all featured activists: forcibly detained Skid Row tuberculosis patients who stood up for their rights; women with breast cancer who took on and triumphed over a patronizing male ...

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INTRODUCTION: What’s the Harm?

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pp. 1-13

Readers of the Long Island, New York, section of the June 3, 1984, New York Times had the opportunity to read an opinion piece by Philip B. Linker, an associate professor of English at the local Suffolk County Community College. Linker’s piece, entitled “Drinking and Driving Can Mix,” began with a description of how he had driven home legally drunk the previous Saturday night. He then continued: "I drove home drunk the Saturday before that, and the one before that, in what probably amounts to a fairly consistent pattern over ...

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CHAPTER 1 The Discovery of Drunk Driving

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pp. 14-37

There has probably been drunk driving for as long as there has been driving. Even before the invention of the automobile in the 1890s, the problem of impaired vehicle operators had been publicly discussed. But the rapid multiplication of “horseless carriages” on the roads of America quickly made the question of drunk driving a pressing subject. The identification of a “new” social problem can provide a brief opportunity ...

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CHAPTER 2 Science and Government Enter the Fray

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pp. 38-63

It might sound crude, but it is reasonable to call the 1950s and early 1960s the “golden age of drunk driving.” One person who might have agreed was the New York Yankees’ all-star center fielder Mickey Mantle, who was not only a heavy drinker but thought nothing of driving home after a binge. Like most drunk drivers, he got lucky for a while, but in 1963, a drunken Mantle, speeding at over ...

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CHAPTER 3 The MADD Mothers Take Charge

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pp. 64-92

In thinking about the rise of MADD and drunk driving activism after 1980, it is tempting to ask why no one aside from J. Marse Grant had previously thought about using the tragic stories of victims—particularly children—to attract public attention and further the cause. This question is, of course, ahistorical. Events occur in a particular historical context. It was not until 1980 that the political ...

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CHAPTER 4 The Movement Matures and Splinters

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pp. 93-122

It took decades to generate a meaningful attack on drunk driving in the United States, but maintaining the movement’s energy and reputation in the 1980s and early 1990s was nearly as tall a task. Within five years of its founding, MADD was in turmoil, and neither Cindi Lamb nor Candy Lightner was still involved. Critics charged that the successor group to the President’s Commission, the ...

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CHAPTER 5 Lawyers, Libertarians, and the Liquor Lobby Fight Back

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pp. 123-152

Perhaps the state of the drunk driving movement in the early 1990s was best exemplified by a book published by then MADD president Micky Sadoff in 1991. Get MADD Again, America! reminded readers that while much had been accomplished in the 1980s, mortality rates were still extremely high. The initial decline in annual deaths from 25,000 to 17,000 had occurred between 1980 and ...

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CHAPTER 6 More (and More) Tragedies

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pp. 153-177

Thousands of terrible stories of alcohol-related fatalities had made the newspapers since the 1980s, but even veteran drunk driving activists were stunned to learn about the mid-afternoon July 26, 2009, crash in which a 36-year-old mother drove her minivan 1.7 miles the wrong way on New York’s Taconic Parkway before crashing into an oncoming sport utility vehicle. Diane Schuler killed herself, her 2-year-old-daughter, her ...

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Afterword

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pp. 178-180

This book began by my urging readers to raise their blood alcohol levels to the point at which it would be illegal to drive and then imagine themselves doing so—even though most would be somewhere between “buzzed” and drunk. I then reminded them that as recently as forty years ago, it was possible to drink nearly twice as much as I suggested and still drive legally. Then I explored the myriad historical reasons for these phenomena. They ...

Notes

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pp. 181-205

Index

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pp. 207-218