By on April 24, 2009

Charles “Chuck” Hurley is the head of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). He’s also a totalitarian nanny-stater who wants arbitrary check lanes and a 55 mph national speed limit. Hurley also hearts a .04% Blood Alcohol Content limit, which would make you DUI after one drink. Oh, and he has ties to the red light camera industry. The news arrives via a Washington Times editorial so it’s written from the right. But the facts are facts. Way too busy with an embroidery job for a motorcycle club to write on this but wanted to give you a heads up. It’s been missed by the autoblogosphere.

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25 Comments on “Obama Names MADD CEO to Head NHTSA...”


  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    This guy’s a piece of work.

    That he also had an apparently successful stint at the IIHS helps explain its MADDening control freak tendencies.

    System Note: The Login prompt now displays the ‘Word Press’ logo.

  • avatar
    johnthacker

    Eric Peters of the Detroit Free-Press was one of the first to offer an opinion on Charles Hurley. He doesn’t like him either.

    Of course, this opinion article was stuck in the automotive portion of the paper, so I’m not sure that the rest of the paper cares.

    Apparently his fixation on total safety has led him to oppose increase CAFE standards, so environmentalists don’t like him much either, so sez the WSJ. Gets back to that “minicars are unsafe” thing.

    So, uh, I guess he’s ultra-consistent in that “car safety at any costs” thing. Not fun, not the environment, not civil liberties, not money, nothing will stop Charles Hurley from pushing safety over everything.

  • avatar

    Oy vey. I suppose it’s unlikely this jerk will be rejected, but you can call your representatives at 202-224-3121, and ask to be connected. They do listen to constituents. In this case, probably especially if your rep is libertarian, republican, or maybe conservative dem. This is disgusting that someone with ties to the redlight camera industry would get nominated, and the .04 thing is just a bit ridiculous (but maybe will draw the ire of the restaurant industry). And of course, the double nickel will leave people falling asleep on the superhighways.

    Ronnie, your website is really cool!

  • avatar

    johnthacker, the rest of the Freep staff won’t make a peep because they’re all hopey and changey.

    After I sent this to RF I was thinking about how MADD works hand in glove with local police departments. After all, lowering the BAC level means more revenue for the municipality and more overtime for cop court appearances.

    I’m willing to bet my left testicle that upChuck and Hurley has no data to show that 0.04% BAC indicates impairment. Why bother with research when you are convinced you are on the side of the angels?

    The founder of MADD left the organization and believes they have abandoned their original purpose and instead have become modern prohibitionists.

    BTW, I was researching legal challenges to Michigan’s confiscatory “driver responsibility fees” (a $150 ticket will get you dinged $1000 from Lansing). The court rulings that say that it isn’t a violation of constitutional protections concerning double jeopardy and equal protection make it clear that it’s all about revenue, not traffic safety.

    The driver responsibility fee does not violate the equal protection provisions
    of the federal and state constitutions because the fee is rationally related to a
    legitimate government purpose. According to the appeals court in Dawson v Sec of State, “the
    classification scheme imposed by the [driver responsibility law] is rationally
    related to the legitimate government purpose of generating revenue from
    individuals who impose costs on government and society.”

    There are judges in Michigan that won’t let people plead guilty to driving on a suspended license because of the additional state fees. As one legislator who has introduced legislation banning the fees says, it creates a vicious cycle for the working poor. They can’t afford to pay the additional fees so their license gets suspended. Since they have to drive to get to work, they run the risk of additional DWSL tickets along with the $1000 fees.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Wow, one ugly Mother by any account.

  • avatar

    I left a little love note about this cat at whitehouse.gov. “This gentleman will surely serve as an embarrassment to the administration…” etc. Not sure what good it’ll do though.

    – bob

  • avatar

    This is not the Hope and Change we were looking for.

    MADD has gone completely mad, and have got every state legislature totally under their thumb. They have lost sight of their original mission and have become Carrie Nation Part 2.

    Seriously, WTF were you thinking when you made this pickMr. Obama? This is akin to appointing Dick Cheney to teach a hunter safety course.

    –chuck

  • avatar
    Daniel J. Stern

    This is a big disappointment, but not a surprise; the tradition of appointing an utterly, wholly unqualified non-engineer to head NHTSA stretches clear back to the agency’s beginnings.

  • avatar

    chuck,

    Schadenfreude is not the classiest of emotions so I’ll just say that those of us who didn’t vote for Obama are not surprised.

    Frankly I’m a little surprised at the support for Obama from folks on car blogs. How anyone who likes cars or driving could think that this administration would be anything but hostile to their interests escapes me. These people think that cars are evil.

    Also, your analogy to Mr. Cheney doesn’t quite fit. Cheney actually likes hunting. Hurley kind of obviously doesn’t like cars or the people who drive them. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he tried to implement national driver responsibility fees for traffic infractions. Why should the states be the only ones getting a windfall?

    Seriously, an 0.04% BAC? Hell, cough syrup would put you over the legal limit.

  • avatar
    matt

    @Ronnie
    The Germans supposedly have a saying: Schadenfreude ist die schoenste Freude.

    ;-)

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
    -C.S. Lewis

    People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history.
    -former Vice President Dan Quayle

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Everyone who lives in a red state or has a red state Congressional representative should make contact (I have already done so)and ask what can be done to 86 this guy’s nomination. I’m not sure anything can, but if we don’t try, nothing will be accomplished.

    “Frankly I’m a little surprised at the support for Obama from folks on car blogs. How anyone who likes cars or driving could think that this administration would be anything but hostile to their interests escapes me. These people think that cars are evil.”

    Ronnie Schrieber: Right on!

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    A quick check of many google hits to this man have turned up no 55mph or red light cam advocacy on his part. I want proof before I get all in a huff about this guy.
    That said, there is no more immediately and directly felt form of government oppression (in my spoiled brat easy North American lifetime-I mean I have a freind who grew up in Chenya . . . . ) than traffic “enforcement”
    I will put a word in here for the National Motorist Association. I have been a member for over 20 years.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    I have a new theory. This whole desire for a nanny state is somehow related to an event that happened during potty training. Perhaps we can get funding for a research project with all the stimulus packages?

  • avatar
    carlos.negros

    Yeah, really. Who does Obama think he is? President?

    Anybody would rather have an administration that tortures people using methods taken from the Chinese Communists, than one who has appointed someone like this. Not.

    Oh, and as head of NHTSA, he will no doubt install mandatory breath test analyzers in every new car sold. Not. And he will certainly install red light cameras at every intersection. Not. Most importantly, this menace will have total control over CAFE standards. Not.

    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

  • avatar

    A quick check of many google hits to this man have turned up no 55mph or red light cam advocacy on his part. I want proof before I get all in a huff about this guy.

    How about just using the links in the blog posting?

    Here’s Hurley joining the advisory board of The National Campaign To Stop Red Light Running:
    http://www.stopredlightrunning.com/pdfs/sf%20v3.no11.pdf

    The Washington Times link is the source for his advocacy of a national 55mph speed limit.

    Here’s some more on Hurley and MADD from Radley Balko of Reason:http://www.reason.com/news/show/133101.html

    Hurley also wants mandatory ignition interlocks installed on first time DUI offenders (at the offenders’ expense of course) as well as making failure to use your seat belt a primary offense that can get you pulled over.

    BTW, it appears that the MADDbots are responding on the Freep site saying that if you don’t like Hurley or MADD it’s because you want to be able to drive drunk.

  • avatar

    Oh, and as head of NHTSA, he will no doubt install mandatory breath test analyzers in every new car sold. Not. And he will certainly install red light cameras at every intersection. Not. Most importantly, this menace will have total control over CAFE standards. Not.

    As CEO of MADD he’s advocated mandatory ignition interlock breathalyzers for first time DUI offenders. I guess in this new era of Hope and Change there won’t be any need for judges and judicial discretion. In fact, why even bother with courts and trials? Just assume the police are telling the truth and send the perp a bill, right?

    He’s a board member of Stop Red Light Running, a group ultimately backed by the red light camera industry. He’s not involved with them because he doesn’t want red light cameras.

    He advocates sobriety check lanes, and I’d expect a lefty like you would have some civil liberties concerns regarding such arbitrary mass searches.

    Your CAFE statement is just a red herring. NHTSA regulates safety, not fuel economy. That’s the jurisdiction of the EPA, DOT and DOE.

    The guy is in the pocket of the insurance and red light camera industries.

  • avatar
    amca

    The self-satisfied look on that schmuck’s face is all I need to see.

    Bad news.

    but he loves to regulate. And the Obama administration loves to regulate, so I guess it’s a match made in heaven.

  • avatar
    carlos.negros

    There appears to be an assumption that liberals believe in regulating individuals and conservatives do not.

    Then how come Texas arrests people for simply drinking in bars? They are not driving. In fact, some patrons drinking at hotel bars and staying in hotels have been arrested preemptively.

    http://media.www.westerncourier.com/media/storage/paper650/news/2006/03/27/Opinion/Texas.Lawmakers.Drunk.With.Power-1717301.shtml

    Right wingers also believe in bugging our phone calls, infiltrating peace and animal rights protesters, and keeping dossiers on innocent citizens.

    Right wing moralists want to regulate access to the morning after pill. They want to tell Americans which countries they can visit. They want to racially profile people at airports and driving on highways. They want to deny marriage to gay citizens.

    Let’s not forget the millions of lives ruined by the enforcement of marijuana by those who pickle their brains with alcohol.

    And, last but not least, these same un-American traitors, like Dick Cheney, thought it was ok to abrogate treaties on torture, detain even U.S. citizens arrested on U.S. soil, hold them without charges or access to a lawyer, and torture them. All in the name of “Security.”

    Well, I’ve got news for you Assault-weapons carrying teabaggers. America is no longer on your side. America has a new boyfriend, and he’s black.

  • avatar

    carlos

    What does your comment have to do with cars? It’s nothing but an onanistic political rant that’s way off topic. I don’t think RF should delete it but it’s pretty far afield from the truth about cars. The original post related to the intersect between politics and automobiles so some political discussion is unavoidable, but please, try to somehow keep the thread at least tangentially related to cars and driving.

    But since you were political, the progressive movement is all about controlling people. The Wilson and FDR administrations intrusively controlled speech, political activism and business (Wilson’s sedition laws, FDR’s NRA controls, etc.). Progressivism is historically and ideologically fascism’s close cousin.

    You can attribute Sunday red laws and such to political conservatives but those things have more to do with extant cultural values than political ideology.

    America has a new boyfriend, and he’s black.

    Sorry, but not all Americans want to bend over and take it up the Hershey highway.

    American conservatives are generally laissez faire, politics is important but not everything. Under left wing administrations, conservatives go on with their lives, families and businesses. To progressives (who are nothing like classical liberalism), though, power and politics are everything (“the personal is the political” sound familiar?).

    I have far ranging interests and like to consider myself a polymath. I can enjoy conversations rabbis, scientists, and bikers. While I have my political and ideological perspectives and am not ashamed of them, if life was all about politics it would be dreary.

  • avatar
    carlos.negros

    Ronnie,

    What do your far ranging interests, or your conversations with rabbis have to do with cars?

    The folks who blew up the Federal building in Oklahoma, or those who murdered Alan Berg, or shot various abortion doctors were not motivated by “extant cultural values.” These were right wing wackos.

    Getting back to cars:
    -Yes, put detection devices into the cars of those convicted of DUI.
    -No, do not have random roadblocks to test for sobriety.
    -No, I am not worried about Chuck Hurley in the context of the kind of administration we just lived through.

  • avatar

    What do your far ranging interests, or your conversations with rabbis have to do with cars?

    I was pointing out, in a comment about this thread, that unlike some, my life isn’t consumed with politics and forcing people to act how I want them to. More to the point, your comment was 100% political with no reference to cars. My comment about my interests, which include cars and the auto industry, was a digression in a comment about this thread that indeed discussed cars and driving. I was discussing this thread and on topic, you were on your political soapbox.

    The folks who blew up the Federal building in Oklahoma, or those who murdered Alan Berg, or shot various abortion doctors were not motivated by “extant cultural values.” These were right wing wackos.

    Bullshit. You just define anything you don’t like as “right wing” regardless whether or not it is representative of American conservatives.

    Some people use Jews for boogeymen. You use conservatives.

    Nazis like Randy Weaver or lunatics like Timothy McVeigh are not ideological conservatives, but then you probably think the Nazis were right wing, Israel’s Labor party is in the moderate center and Saudi Arabia is conservative. Berg was killed by neo-Nazis. Fascism and its German variant were derivatives of socialism. There is much in common between Obama’s involvement in US businesses (dictating that banks sell stock to the government, preventing banks from paying back gov’t loans and dictating salaries and dividens, dictating personnel and policy decisions by businesses) and fascism.

    American political conservatives have nothing to do with the folks you call “right wing wackos”. (As a digression, I wonder if you ever consider someone a left wing wacko – is Bill Ayers a left wing wacko, he conspired to murder Americans?). David Duke is a pariah on the US right. Ward Churchill and Bill Ayers are feted and defended by the US left. If you want to tar the American conservative movement with the actions of some very reactionary folks with their own authoritarian agendas, go ahead but that means that it’s fair for me to consider you, Pol Pot, Stalin and the anarchists who riot at the G7 and G20 meeting in the same political bed.

    William F. Buckley made it clear 50 years ago that extremist like the John Birch Society and their ilk were not welcome in the conservative movement. Mainstream conservatives today pretty much reject reactionary paleoconservatives like Pat Buchanan.

    Every conservative leader and pundit in the US will condemn McVeigh. Lefties, who live by “no enemies on the left”, tolerate all kinds of extremists in their midst.

  • avatar

    Getting back to cars:
    -Yes, put detection devices into the cars of those convicted of DUI.

    So, to be consistent, do you believe that people convicted of drug possesion, use, or sale should be compelled to wear GPS devices so police can make sure they aren’t buying drugs?

    -No, I am not worried about Chuck Hurley in the context of the kind of administration we just lived through.

    That’s because you’re a statist who cares more about enforcing your political ideology on others than about cars.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    Randy Weaver wasn’t a “Nazi.” He was a “white separatist”, not a “white supremacist.” An odd but important distinction, especially as it relates to this stupid argument, in the sense that he wanted to be left alone rather than enslave others. His wife and child were murdered by government agents for the crime of cutting a shotgun barrel down to 16″, two inches below the legal minimum of 18,” in a clear-cut case of entrapment for the purpose of forcing him to become an informant.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    Mainstream conservatives today pretty much reject reactionary paleoconservatives like Pat Buchanan.

    That’s true, they are pretty much these days about propagating social bigotry and anti-whatever-obama-wants.

    There’s really no ideology there anyway (tho true of american politics in general), unless backwardness counts.

    This MADD guy as NHTSA head is unfortunate, so let’s hope he doesn’t get anywhere. “Conservatives” shouldn’t worry since according to them government is ineffective anyway (unless it is effective, in which case we never needed it).


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