MADD at Drunk Drivers, but Not Influential Ones


A few months ago, Delaware state Rep. John C. Atkins was pulled over in Ocean City Maryland under suspicion of drunken driving. Immediately after getting pulled over, he flahsed his Delaware Legislature ID, after which the officer assured him that he wouldn't be arrested. Problem is, Atkins took a roadside breath test which came back at .14, well over the legal limit.

Atkins wasn't arrested. His car wasn't impounded. He wasn't even fined. Instead, he was allowed to call a friend, who came to pick him up and take him home. Atkins was arrested hours later after a domestic dispute with his wife. He pled guilty to one count of "offensive touching."

All of that is bad enough. Stranger still is the fact that, months later, Mothers Against Drunk Driving has put out a press release expressing their full support for the Ocean City Police Department in declining to arrest Rep. Atkins. MADD says it entered the debate to express its full support for the arresting officer, who apparently has pleased the group by making hundreds of drunk driving arrests over the years (no word on how many of them were politicians).

Even worse, it appears that details of Atkins' traffic stop were kept secret until after last November's election. This article , dated October 29th, explains how Atkins went on a local radio talk show to explain the 911 call and arrest for the domestic dispute. Atkins apparently assured the listeners that "no alcohol" was invovled in the altercation with his wife.

I wonder how many other people who blow .14 in a roadside breath test, go home and "offensively touch" their wives, then publicly lie about it get such staunch public support from MADD?

I also wonder if it has anything to do with Atkins' seat on the Delaware legislature's public safety committee, or his past votes on MADD-favored DWI issues.

As for Atkins, after public pressure, he has finally asked the legislature's ethics committee to look into his actions on the night of the 29th.

Hat tip: Lawrence Taylor .

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  1. At this point MADD reminds me of the Holy Roman Empire (which was neither holy, Roman, nor an empire):

    MADD no longer is run by mothers (the founders were purged long ago), and isn’t really against Drunk Driving per se.

    It’s just another one of the many temperance movements that have done so much to destroy Amrerica.

  2. Alas, tarran, sometimes hypocrisy *is* America.

    I wonder what would happen if you were pulled over and flashed a MADD membership card.

  3. It’s stories like these that really make me loose faith in this country. I mean, Hemmingway and Swift combined couldn’t come up with some of this stuff.

    I give up, I’m going to make a sandwich.

  4. My hometown is on Reason.

    Ocean City police are terrible. Worst are the “summer cops.” ( Ocean city has year round population of about 5,000 and summer 300,000. So every summer they hire a bunch of rookie idiots who like to do illegal searches, harass people sitting on their porches,etc). A “regular” person will spend time in jail just for having a beer in front of their house while standing. But they dont care about some legislator ( from f-ing Delaware) driving drunk and beating his wife.

    MADD is a joke. Anyone who read Reason/TheAgitator knows that.

  5. I’m sure that the mothers of America wouldn’t want drunk drivers turned over to mistreat their wives.

    Also, several have noted that MADD is generally anti-alcohol, and there is truth to that when they try to ban adults under 21 who don’t drive from being able to have a drink. If drunk driving were their main concern, maybe they would crusade as much against driving as they do against alcohol. Believe it or not, driving is dangerous even before alcohol is added into the mix.

  6. I should add that at least Peg Lautenschlager, then Attorney General of Wisconsin, had the decency to accept the consequences when she was arrested for drunk driving in 2004.

  7. This isn’t really much of a story unless we think laws should apply to those who make them.

    “Do as I say, not as I do.”

  8. I’ve started a new group named DAMM
    Drunks against mad mothers!

  9. No, really, I’m serious: What the fuck?

    The worst thing about this is that MADD’s halo isn’t even going to be scratched; everyone’s still going to admire that coven of angels for “doing so much to safeguard our children.”

    Did you hear that? It’s the sound of my head about to explode

  10. Its not like they determined he was too drunk to drive; just too drunk to drive home AFTER being stopped. Who could find that unreasonable?

  11. Well, so much for another advocacy group that got too big and attracted the political whores.

    I hope that the voters in Delaware will toss the drunk out of office at their next opportunity if the asshole doesn’t have the decency to resign, and as for MADD, they will never get a dime from me.


  12. I’ve started a new group named DAMM
    Drunks against mad mothers!

    It’s not new.

    Is this the part where I say I am so shocked?

  13. Shocked about MADD not DAMM that is.

  14. I wish the cops would treat everyone they caught over the arbitrary and ever changing BAC limit this way. It makes more sense to me than the draconian punishments that are expected.

  15. Oh, the outrage! The hypocrisy! Politicians get special treatment! Stop the presses!

  16. ed….

    I wonder how many other people who blow .14 in a roadside breath test, go home and “offensively touch” their wives, then publicly lie about it get such staunch public support from MADD?

    Just RTFP and no one gets hurt.

  17. I wonder if the officer got confused over the “privilege from arrest” statute that exists in some states while the legislature is in session. We had a legislator blow a .21 a few years ago, and she wasn’t arrested. The reason: legislators can’t be arrested while the legislature is in session. She eventually ended up pleading guilty to the DUI.

    I personally think its tacky and inappropriate to pull out your badge and start waving it around when the cops stop you, but given that he did, the officer may have thought that he was barred from arresting him.

  18. The officer should have arrested the drunk, and let a judge spring him or not.


  19. One more thing about Atkins. He is a member of Delaware’s “Holier than Thou Caucus” who sent an open letter to a local school board urging them to keep proselytizing Christian prayer as a feature of school functions.

    The prayers at the Indian River School District graduations had become so over-the-top that a jewish family was forced to object and later flee the district when that objection was made public.

  20. Did anyone see this article?

    MADD blames supposed non-existent DUI laws in Maryland…

    “We have never and would never condone anyone drinking and driving,” said Caroline Cash, executive director for the Chesapeake Region of MADD. “If people are outraged, they should be outraged at the laws that don’t exist in the state of Maryland.”

    “We feel very confident that the officers followed the proper procedures and protocols,” Cash said.

    What a pathetic spin. I can’t believe people actually donate money or time to MADD.

  21. ‘He pled guilty to one count of “offensive touching.”‘

    I didn’t know he was a lineman.

  22. “I didn’t know he was a lineman”


    Check the Hat Tip. Ol’ LT loved to see offensive linemen get penalized.

  23. It’s his own fault for getting hammered, and forgetting to report as eligible.

  24. It always bugs me when party affiliation isn’t included. Atkins is a Republican.

  25. Misogynists Against Drunk Driving.

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