Who else but Richard Berman would argue we need to better protect drunk drivers? Sarah Longwell, the “managing director” of the American Beverage Institute (ABI) is credited with Today's MADD drives dangerous new policies, but Longwell’s real job is vice president at Berman’s public relations firm, Berman & Company, and ABI is just one of Berman’s many industry front groups.
With a title like managing director of the American Beverage Institute, you might think Longwell is an expert on sometimes conflicting goals of the hospitality industry, which both wants to ring up sales and, at the same time, ensure patrons drink responsibly. She’s not. Rather, she’s a paid flack trying to undermine the influence of Mothers Against Drunk Driving – a nonprofit that enjoys high public confidence – at the behest of corporate interests that don’t want their own fingerprints on such a dirty game.
According to ABI’s website, the group is “a restaurant trade association dedicated to protecting the on-premise dining experience – which often includes the responsible consumption of adult beverages.” As a representative for ABI, Longwell decries the inhumanity that, one day, alcohol detection technology may be installed in all vehicles. Sure, this technology would crack down on drunk drivers, but Longwell claims this also would inhibit the personal freedom of anyone who opts to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking responsibly. Never mind that even the facts she cites in her post do not support her claims. But the truth doesn’t interest Longwell.