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Trust no one?

by Ted Mooney <>

May 25, 1998

I was at a Memorial Day picnic yesterday, but the party conversations were strangely parallel to the ones that go on in our industry. To wit, one topic of conversation was this:

Our state is considering changing its DUI/DWI standards from a blood alcohol level of 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent, as many other states have recently done. A legislator was quoted from the newspaper: "A 170-pound man would have to drink more than four 12-ounce bottles of beer on an empty stomach in under an hour to reach this .08 level".

Everybody who was in on the conversation was in total agreement that such a person has no business on the road and ought to be charged with drunken driving. But no one was in favor of reducing the level from .10 to .08! How can that be? Simple: nobody trusted the legislator's numbers, and everyone feared that if the levels were reduced, some circumstance might develop, like their child having to be driven to the doctor after they had had a glass and a half of wine with dinner, that might cause them to be charged with drunken driving

Whether it be general-interest things like DUI/DWI levels, or industry-specific things like nickel and chromium levels, we have to stop lying to each other. Junk-science, urban legend, sham 'calculations' have to go.

It starts by realizing that seeking the truth is a more worthy goal than trying to advance an ideological political position.

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