“We are disgusted. We will be the last in the Northeast to pass this bill. New Jersey will even be behind states like Alabama.” That’s Robert Jakubowski of the New Jersey chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in an article on the Garden State’s legal limit for driving — .10% blood-alcohol concentration (BAC). We wonder how MADD’s Alabama members feel about this backhanded insult to their state. Behind-even-Alabama New Jersey and Pennsylvania both received a “C” grade on MADD’s latest report card. These marks are a little confusing since behind-even-Alabama New Jersey has significantly fewer alcohol-related driving fatalities than Pennsylvania. In 2001, New Jersey’s eight and one-half million people suffered 297 alcohol-related fatalities — a rate of 0.035 deaths per 1,000 people. Pennsylvania’s population of twelve million had more than twice as many alcohol-related fatalities: 663. That’s a rate of 0.053 deaths per 1,000 people. As we’ve explained before, these numbers are greatly exaggerated, but, on the margins, New Jersey seems safer. The nation as a whole also got a “C” grade from MADD, even though its statistics are even worse than Pennsylvania and behind-even-Alabama New Jersey. America’s 284,796,887 people suffered 17,448 alcohol-related fatalities in 2001. That’s a rate of .061 deaths per 1,000 people. California scored the best grade in the country with a B-plus even though it had a higher rate of alcohol-related fatalities than behind-even-Alabama New Jersey. California’s 34,501,130 people suffered 1,569 deaths, for a rate of .045 deaths per 1,000 people. Of course, one might expect such a wacky grading system from an organization that received a C-minus for the second year in a row from The American Institute of Philanthropy, the leading nonprofit watchdog. MADD’s rating system emphasizes its anti-alcohol political agenda and has very little to do with the incidence of drunk driving and alcohol-related fatalities. For example, MADD loves the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB), which is the monopoly retailer of adult beverages in the Keystone State. Thanks to the PLCB, it’s basically impossible to buy alcohol on a Sunday, and liquor and wine in restaurants, hotels, and clubs costs significantly more. One columnist recently complained about a Pennsylvania law that prohibits liquor stores from selling six-packs of beer. “Of Pennsylvania’s many silly, archaic laws, this one most deserves the ‘Ben Must Have Taken a Few Too Many Volts Through the Kite String’ award for mind-frying stupidity.” “Pennsylvanians buying beer,” the column continues, “remind me of those poor Soviets in Stalinist Russia waiting in line in the snow every week to get their state-issued loaf of stale bread. Comrades! You will buy your state-sanctioned beverages only from the government store, and you will buy them only in the quantities that we tell you to! Is that understood?” The columnist’s recommendation? Cross the border to the behind-even-Alabama New Jersey.
MADD About New Jersey