One tradition we probably should not protect…

Protecting our traditional right to drink and driveTabloid favorite Lindsay Lohan was back in the news this week as a poster child for a new campaign aimed squarely at preventing the widespread use of ignition interlocks to prevent drinking and driving.  She was featured in a full page ad in yesterday’s (Friday, May 2nd) issue of U.S.A. Today (tomorrow the world).

Lohan, as you will recall, has been convicted of drunk driving and it was her mug shot (which apparently is in the public domain) that adored the ad.  The American Beverage Institute who sponsored the ad is an “independent” group which receives funding for its valuable work from the liquor and restaurant industry. 

The Institute is only interested in protecting that grand American freedom to hoist a few cold ones and then jump in the car and drive yourself home. 

To explain the seemingly unexplainable American Beverage Institute managing director Sarah Longwell told The Associated Press, 

“The reason that we used Lindsay Lohan is because she’s had multiple DUIs that have been high profile.  We needed to create the distinction for the public what someone with multiple DUIs looked like versus a low blood-alcohol-level first-time offender.” 

Well, that just leaves the nagging question that can’t a first-time offender kill someone as easily as a someone with multiple DUIs?

So how does Lindsay Lohan feel about being the poster child for the campaign.  Her lawyer, Blair Berk was outraged,

“USA Today is idiotic to run such an irresponsible advertisement suggesting that drinking and driving is some kind of American ‘tradition’ we should protect.  Not identifying that this ad was paid for by the liquor and restaurant industries is profoundly reckless.  Drunk white businessmen, drunk housewives out for girls night out and drunk wedding parties should be kept off the roads of America. Lindsay Lohan fully endorses ignition interlock devices, which have been well-proven to save lives.”

Now my limited understanding of ignition interlocks is that they will let you drive if you are under the legal limit and they don’t if you are plastered.  And they are not an option that comes with most vehicles but rather part of a sentence for convicted DUI offenders to help keep the roads clear of the tradition of vehicular carnage that the American Beverage Institute would so dearly like to preserve. 

However, ads such as these are typical of the liquor and tobacco industry who try to protect their market share by preaching about “values”, “freedom” and “tradition” through shill “institutes” and phony advocacy groups.

So raise a glass of cheer to the American Beverage Institute for boldly exploiting a young woman’s personal troubles to keep the tradition of death and destruction rolling on our byways and highways.

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