License to Drink

MADD goes mad


If you offer anyone under 21 a drink in North Carolina, you can lose your driver's license—even if no one goes anywhere near a car. A strict new law took effect in December, just in time to save all those innocent 20-year-olds from a corrupting cup of eggnog handed to them by their parents on Christmas Eve.

The legislation is appropriately "zero tolerance," according to Craig Lloyd, executive director of the North Carolina chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Lloyd told the Associated Press the law "is sending a message out to these parents that are providing alcohol that it is illegal in their own homes."

The North Carolina measure is a more extreme version of policies emerging in several states, including Virginia, New York, and Texas, that punish people for drinking regardless of whether there's any evidence that they plan to drive. Several jurisdictions have run anti-alcohol stings at bars and restaurants.

Imagine this scenario: Everyone is settled in for the night when the mother of a college sophomore pours her daughter a glass of wine, perhaps while mentioning how pleased she is that her daughter chose to spend the night at home with her parents instead of going out to party with friends. As soon as the first drop of wine hits the bottom of the glass, an actual mother who is against drunk driving could wind up losing her driver's license, with the warm approval of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.