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The New York Times reports this morning that the American Beverage Licensees and the American Beverage Institute are launching what essentially is a counterattack against what they feel are “increasingly strident” campaigns against drinking and driving.

Saying that recent campaigns have pushed zero tolerance and promote a return to near-Prohibition standards, these two trade associations have produced a television commercial saying it is okay to have a drink and then get behind the wheel of a car.

“These overly conservative messages tell responsible Americans that they're wrong in going out and having a glass of beer, a glass of wine or a cocktail at dinner, or at a sports venue, and driving home,” Paul Avery, president of the Outback Steakhouse restaurant chain and the American Beverage Institute, tells the NYT. “We're just trying to protect ourselves.”

The slogan being used: “Drink Responsibly, Drive Responsibly.”

Polls show that zero tolerance toward drivers who have consumed any alcohol is on the upswing, with 48 percent of consumers agreeing with it in 2001, up from 43 percent in 1993.
KC's View:
In other words, the message is, “Alcohol doesn’t kill people. People kill people.”

We suppose there is a certain logic there. On the other hand, our 16-year-old just got his learner’s permit yesterday, which is a scary enough reality. The idea that he might see a commercial that does anything to suggest that drinking and driving might be okay seems a little irresponsible…