Automotive Deals HPCC Shop Women's Clothing Learn more Discover it Look Park Fire TV Stick Sun Care Handmade school supplies Shop-by-Room Amazon Cash Back Offer TarantinoCollection TarantinoCollection TarantinoCollection  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 All-New Kindle Oasis AutoRip in CDs & Vinyl Water Sports STEM

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
24
Format: Hardcover|Change
Price:$27.95+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

VINE VOICEon January 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
No one approaches drunk driving policy in a vacuum. Each person has a background and a bias, and the most impressive part of this book is that Dr. Lerner is quite clear about his bias and then tries hard to craft a balanced history book that will help inform readers from other backgrounds. Dr. Lerner is an expert in public health issues, and he writes a passionate story of the way that drunk driving (and public perceptions of drunk driving, from media coverage to legislation) has had an impact on public health in the last hundred years. I had a hard time reading this book because of my own personal perspectives, but it does contain a wealth of information, organized in an effective way to tell the story of a nation that is failing to keep its people safe on the roads.

For the first few chapters of this book, Dr. Lerner shares horror stories of the early days of drunk driving, with outrageously lenient sentences for devastating crashes and a pervasive public attitude that drinking and driving wasn't a big deal. As someone born in 1980, I have never lived in a world without TV commercials and special episodes and school assemblies about the dangers of drunk driving, and I was shocked by the way the problem was first viewed. Dr. Lerner follows those stories with thorough chapters on the impact of MADD and related groups, along with the ways that policy objectives and legislation have shifted over the years. The book also has plenty of examples from the European Union to show other paths that have been taken in efforts to keep the roads safe. I learned a great deal from this book, so Dr. Lerner achieved his objective.

My main problems with the book come from its tone. Dr. Lerner approaches the problem as a public health concern, which he does justify with analogies and statistics, and he makes a good case that the most significant legislative advancements have come from those who share his perspective. I do not share that perspective, though, as I am a public defender. Like many (if not most) public defenders at the district court level in Massachusetts, I handle drunk driving cases on a regular basis - on any given day, the majority of my caseload may be drunk driving cases. As someone who drives in Massachusetts, I definitely have an interest in arriving at my destinations safely, and I agree that drunk driving is unsafe at a legally intolerable level. I lost two friends a few years ago, in a car accident where the driver had been drinking. Nevertheless, as a public defender, I also have a huge interest in making sure that people's rights are protected throughout the process of investigation and prosecution of a crime. I have a hard time reading a book in which Dr. Lerner makes (understandably) unapologetic remarks about sleazy defense lawyers getting their guilty clients off because, for example, there is reasonable doubt as to how accurate a breath test device is, or Dr. Lerner's open praise for mandatory sentences and license suspensions. (In my first draft of this review, I went off on a long tangent about how public health attitudes toward drunk driving are incompatible with the criminal justice system, but I realized that I do not want to invite an anonymous internet debate that distracts from my recommendations with respect to the book - please don't comment with your thoughts on drunk driving)

My point is that although the book does present multiple angles and perspectives as they relate to the impact of drunk driving in the States, Dr. Lerner is very clear that approaches that prioritize the rights of people accused of crimes are never more valuable than approaches that risk infringement of rights in the interest of saving lives. I suspect that very few people will take issue with that value judgment (defense attorneys, some industry lobbyists, probably many people who have been accused of drunk driving...), but I want to make sure that this ideological minority is given fair warning before choosing this book. To his credit, though, Dr. Lerner saves most of his bile for the outrages of the pre-MADD era, and by the time actual MADD representatives enter the story, the book sounds less like one of their pamphlets and more like a simple historical analysis.

I do recommend this book for historians and other scholars, as Dr. Lerner presents thorough research in a clear fashion. I simply reserve a little warning about the public health perspective.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon November 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Barron Lerner's book "One for the Road" is a study of the politics, legal policies and procedures of dealing with intoxicated automobile drivers. To my knowledge it is the first academic study dedicated to analyzing the real cost-to the intoxicated driver, to society, and to the victims-of drinking and driving.

As an academic study this book is fascinating. Lerner starts by discussing popular and unpopular conceptions of the person who chooses to drink and drive. Lerner sites incidents of people who chose to drink and drive and their consequences. Initially their consequences are not very severe. Drinking and driving in the early part of the 20th century was seen as an activity done by the carefree and rich-the "Great Gatsby" lot. This did not change despite prohibition in the 1920s and 1930s-a time when Lerner states drinking and driving, with deadly consequences rose rapidly. Only some cases of drinking and driving with fatal consequences received media attention-such as that of Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind, hit by a car operated by an intoxicated driver in 1949.

Consequences of drinking and driving increased in the late 1970s and 1980s. The establishment of MADD (Mothers against drunk drivers) and RID (Remove Intoxicated Drivers) increased laws and regulations around drinking and driving. Driving while intoxicated by society is now seen as something that needs to be punished, rather than as a source of humor (think Dudley Moore in the first "Arthur" movie).

As an alcohol and drug counselor who has worked with hundreds of impaired drivers in counseling, this book helped me see how social groups can cause laws to be changed. It also helped me see how perceptions of alcohol use while operating machinery/driving a vehicle has evolved over the years. I admit that I had never heard of the organization RID before, and I admire Doris Aiken for starting it (a person who was never had a family member be the victim of a drinking and driving accident). Reading about Candy Lightner (founder of MADD ) and Cindy Lamb (her daughter was paralyzed by a drunk driver at 5 months of age) really affected me.

This book offers no judgement on how drinking and driving should be handled by the law. It is simply a historical study of the phenominon of drinking and driving, and how policies and procedures to handle intoxicated drivers over the years have evolved. I highly recommend this book to anyone in my field who wants a historical perspective on how society and the law has handled drunk drivers over the years. I also recommend this book highly to anyone who is curious about the history of drunk driving, and movements created to establish laws concerning drunk driving.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon January 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is sobering historical assessment of our love affair with drinking and driving. I wish I'd had this book twenty-five years ago as a starting point to discuss the subject intelligently with friends and family. Just so happens a relative used to go to the Pub every Weds night with the boys and get drunk. They'd then drive home under the impression that they were fine, and even so, their chance of getting arrested or causing a collision were nil. This went on for almost twenty years and they did beat the odds. The stats did catch up with them finally and they nearly caused their own death and that of an innocent driver who they collided with. This relative finally died of liver cancer from the drink. Today, if this relative were alive, I'd probably wait outside the pub and call the police when they tried to drive away.

For me and millions of others this subject is personal and not an abstract intellectual exercise. Get this book, read it, think about it, act upon it, and pas it on.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon November 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Dr. Barron H. Lerner takes on the daunting challenge of exposing the history America's love of drinking and driving. Both embody the individualism and freedom espoused by everything American. Both show the cultural evolution of the country and our social pastimes. And both also show our inability to see the danger to unchecked freedom when it becomes reckless or excessive.

Dr. Lerner's work takes us through the history of driving and how drinking became entwined in this new found freedom to create something dangerous. Dr. Lerner makes no subtle hints or gestures, he finds the practice to egregious, especially in the face of anecdotes and hard evidence to prove the deadly combination drinking and driving create, but he goes beyond just this obvious point to how this struggle threatens freedom, privacy, and personal responsibility.

Dr. Lerner goes through a variety of sources for discussion, but his main focus seems to be Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the anti-drinking and driving movement and its implications.

I found this book to be enlightening and sad. It is maddening to hear such tragedies, especially for something that is as preventable as driving while impaired. Dr. Lerner sets up a thorough and engaging history. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in this subject matter. I also think this book would be excellent for an academic setting, or for research purposes. I highly recommend "One for the Road."
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 21, 2012
A wonky work about the public policy and perception of drunk driving and the movement to curb this practice in our society. The author does an admirable job dressing up a topic that is not given to excitement, albeit outcry. You get a great understanding of how the public awareness of this issue and rage against those who drive drunk made a huge impact on where we are today with this important public policy issue.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon March 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
ONE FOR THE ROAD describes how the US has "become a society that concurrently condemns and tolerates drunk driving."

Beginning with the first automobiles, worsening after the repeal of Prohibition and as driving expanded to the suburbs and interstate highways, then improving a bit through education, law enforcement and societal pressure -- Lerner now sees drunk driving at a stand-still: "[D]espite decades of anti-drunk driving messages, millions of arrests, there are still more than 80 million car trips taken annually by impaired drivers [and 15,000 American deaths every year, deemed an `irreducible minimum']."

I recall the 1980s activism of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and, familiar with the "condemn" side of the debate, was drawn to this book out of curiosity about the "tolerate" side. I have a friend whose father was an old-time milkman with a delivery route and a big drinking problem; his lament that his dad losing his driver's license would have meant losing the family livelihood strikes me but doesn't sway me. (Lerner notes that taxi driver Hugh D. Gravitt had earned 20+ tickets, including for drunk driving, over the five years prior to his fatal strike of Margaret Mitchell while he drove drunk.) Drunk driving as a foolish mistake, with its there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-I lament, also strikes but doesn't sway. Excessive drinking as fun, risky and macho doesn't even strike. On the other hand, I was interested to learn how often anti-drunk driving forces were characterized as neo-Prohibitionist, and law-enforcement activities as anti-Libertarian and in violation of the constitutional protections against self-incrimination and unreasonable searches. Yet as Lerner quotes bioethicist Bonnie Steinbock, "It is not unreasonable to require people to undergo great inconvenience to avoid killing other people."

ONE FOR THE ROAD is readable and fascinating; still, it's an academic (vs. "popular") book. Lerner intricately documents a complex history: of a lax enforcement mentality and a lax enforcement ability (that was eventually tightened when science, via the Drunkometer and Breathalyzer, correlated blood-alcohol concentrations (BAC) with levels of impairment); of political factors like inexpensive (low-tax) alcohol, alcohol advertising and industry lobbying; of inadequate public transportation; of the phenomenal awareness and change made possible through grass-roots activism (including MADD). Over the 20th-century, legal BACs were reduced nationwide from 0.15% to 0.1% and finally to 0.08%; still, it's widely accepted that impairment presents at 0.05% and most industrialized nations restrict to 0.05% or even 0.03%.

Lerner also acknowledges distracted driving, including a 1997 study that correlates cell-phone use to a 0.08% BAC. He discusses efforts to make cars more protective in the event of a crash, and to control the car rather than the driver, e.g. via ignition interlocks. In the end, he likens drinking to smoking in that further reduction may finally come only from a combination of legal enforcement and social marginalization.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon February 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Modern history has unique problems that the layperson may not fully understand. While evidence is not lacking, the amount of it can actually be overwhelming or easily lead one astray. Lerner has done a good job of staying focused on his task exploring how Americans have viewed and legislated alcohol and driving. However a lot more of the evidence could be included in this book that I really think would improve the layperson's understanding but also crank up the entertainment factor that all popular histories need to sell decently.

Diving into modern history also involves our own lives so it can be quite difficult to stay neutral or objective. Lerner does a good job of critiquing all those who have been a part of the public discussion on drinking and driving but he also makes clear he believes that alcohol and driving should not mix. He takes this view so far as to offer suggestions as to how changes may be accomplished today since the problem of people driving when they've been drinking.

I have to wonder if this book will know start a new round of discussion about drinking and driving or if it will remain a specialized book that few people read. I think you, all of you reading this review, should give it a read. You'll be surprised by how our attitudes toward alcohol and drinking have developed and how much of that is related to corporate influence, political reactions, science, and victim activism.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon May 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As one time unit commander of the DWI Task Force here in my city, I can attest first-hand to the dangers and issues of driving while intoxicated. The need for enforcement is well-known. Less well known is the fact that officers who arrest intoxicated drivers had better know their stuff backwards and forwards, because some good defense attorneys make a heck of a living tearing officers apart on the stand.

So... while knowing the field tests and proper terminology and writing a good report are of ultimate importance, understanding of the history of DWI, the founding of the various organizations, the statistical trends.... are all important to appear as educated, eloquent and generally capable as the guy wearing the two thousand dollar suit at the defense table. Just my personal opinion.

The book itself is a good scholarly research of the history of DWI and the groups who are concerned with the issue. While not riveting, it is certainly worth putting the time to get through...

All the best,

Jay
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Here is a book that recounts the cultural history of drunk driving starting in about 1900. Back then, drunk driving was a kind of joke. Later it became an unfortunate accident for the victim. In the 60s and 70s, several organizations arose with the goal of changing that attitude - and they were able to do so at least for a time. Using horrific examples that generated sympathy, they changed the public discourse.

There are two ways to look at drunk driving - either you see it as taking a significant chance that you will be responsible for a terrible accident, or you see it as something where luck will carry you...and besides, this is America where liberty trumps community safety a lot of the time. There is joy in drink, after all, up to a point, and drunks have very little judgmeny anyway.

Lerner narrates the history of the swing back and forth between these two points of view. He gives relatively little consideration to WHY the public point of view changed, possibly because the root causes of social change are so difficult to pinpoint. He describes both points of view, and gives the evidence for both, including the change in drunk driving deaths as correlated to the harshness of the laws.

One of his most striking points: lots of people have driven under the influence, and it is difficult to make common behavior illegal. Perhaps a public-health response to the problem works better. That's what we've taken up lately, with education of alcohol servers and so on.

So should you read this book? Sure, if you are interested in such a combination of social history and presentation of contrasting points of view. If you want more thorough history or more polemics, look elsewhere. I think the book is just the right length. There's no need for a doorstop tome on this topic.

Also, Lerner provides sources and references to check if you're interested in more information and stats. He does not encumber the text with footnotes or symbols. A very good compromise for a popular history/culture book.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon December 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It is believed there are some 15,000 deaths each year in the U.S. that are alcohol related. That is, a driver impaired due to alcohol consumption. This book provides a historical review of why our society has refused to adopt reasonable strategies to end drunk driving and the attendant deaths and injuries that occur every year as a result of such refusal. The author examines the two main competing sides to the issue, those that are opposed to drunk driving and those that feel the problem is not as serious as claimed and drinking and driving is already overregulated, and has some interesting and well thought out conclusions. He discusses topics such as Americans dual love of drinking and driving; the success of the alcohol lobby; an inadequate public transportation system; and a continuing backlash against Prohibition. He also provides an informative history of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and some of the reasons for their decline in influence. I was surprised to learn that both of the founders resigned from MADD and went to work for the liquor industry. Their reasoning is, needless to say, controversial but is not all that unheard of in American politics. Follow the money is still a pretty good roadmap to many individuals behavior in the political arena.
This is a scholarly work written by a public health professor and historian of medicine but is reader friendly and written in a highly readable manner. It provides historical analysis of a problem in the U.S. that continues to cause thousands of deaths and injuries each year and yet there is a steadfast refusal by a majority of the populace to adopt reasonable, workable strategies to end the carnage.
The author does not take sides in this issue although he clearly feels that drunk driving needs to be stopped. He does provide a clear history of the problem and lays out the issues as seen from various perspectives both historically and currently. Regardless of the readers opinions on this subject this book is a must read for anyone remotely interested in an issue that refuses to die.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.