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Articles » Society » The National Motorists Association and Its Role Regarding DUI

The National Motorists Association and Its Role Regarding DUI

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By StraightDUI Staff on 3/16/2008

The National Motorists Association (NMA) is a corporation in the United States that advocates a more broadminded view regarding issues involving traffic laws. The goal of the NMA is to represent, and protect the interests of motorists thereby fighting for rational drunk driving laws. The following, addresses the role of NMA in regards to DUI.

Driving Under the Influence and the NMA

The NMA’s policy on Driving Under the Influence, (DUI) is addressed in detail on their website at but for the purpose of this article, the following is a partial view based on the position NMA takes on drinking and driving. To quote the NMA: “The NMA supports drinking and driving regulations based on reasonable standards that differentiate between responsible, reasonable behavior and reckless, dangerous behavior. The NMA does not support “zero tolerance” concepts, nor does it endorse unconstitutional enforcement and judicial procedures that violate motorists’ rights.”

What the NMA Believes

The NMA believes that penalties for DUI/DWI should be related to the degree of risk involved, and that these penalties are equated with penalties for equal-risk violations of other traffic safety laws. The NMA supports legislative and enforcement initiatives that are effective in achieving stated goals of deterrence and removal of impaired drivers, but it does not support initiatives based on revenge, political expedience, or emotional exaggeration. The NMA believes that all Americans should enjoy the same Constitutional rights and privileges and that legislative or enforcement initiatives deny these rights to motorists that violate Constitutional standards. The NMA believes in basing laws and penalties on actual evidence of impairment whenever possible and that blood alcohol content should only be used as evidence of impairment. In other words, there should be flexibility in laws that base penalties on blood alcohol content.

NMA Opposes Drunk Driving Roadblocks

The NMA opposes drunk-driving roadblocks on the grounds that they violate protection from warrant less search and seizure, and fails to meet probable cause standards. According to the NMA, roadblocks have not been shown to be effective at deterring impaired driving. DWI penalties based on blood alcohol counts should be graduated to reflect the potential severity of impairment. The more severe penalties should be phased in at a BAC of .15 where impairment begins to directly correlate with accident involvement. Lower penalties should be adopted for less severe DWI violations.

NMA Supports Increased Penalties for Repeat Offenders

The NMA supports increased penalties for repeat offenders, but maintains that rehabilitation is the primary goal in all but the most severe cases. Any mandated BAC test must be based on clear reasonable suspicion of impairment, not an unrelated traffic violation. Breathalyzer tests should be used for screening purposes only. They should have no standing as actual evidence of Blood Alcohol Content. However, the NMA supports that the driver always has the right to a blood test and they should be notified of that right should they wish to dispute the results of the breath test. The NMA is concerned with deterring impaired driving, not with regulating how a driver might become impaired. The NMA believes a driver is equally responsible regardless of where the drinking takes place whether it is at home, in a vehicle, or at a commercial establishment.

NMA Believes Penalties Should Be Based on the Severity of the Accident

NMA believes that a “technically” impaired driver should not automatically be more heavily penalized if they are involved in an accident. The penalties should be based on the severity of the accident and the extent to which the impaired driver was at fault. The NMA opposes so-called “Administrative License Suspensions” since they are not an effective deterrent and violate the right to due process. The NMA supports the detainment of any driver arrested on an impaired driving charge until sufficient time has passed to allow the individual to safely drive, or for other transportation arrangements to be made.

What NMA Supports and Does Not Support

The NMA supports the right to a jury trial for all accused traffic violators, particularly defendants accused of severe offenses for which long license suspension or jail time could be imposed. The NMA opposes measures that revoke or withhold a driver’s license that does not directly relate to driving. As related to drinking laws, the NMA is opposed to license suspension for non-driving related violations. The NMA does not support age-based BAC standards (e.g., “zero tolerance”) for persons under 21 years of age.

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