Published on:

Do Public Service Announcements Impact Jurors Sitting on OUI Cases in Massachusetts?

“Controversial New Group: Drunk Drivers Against Mothers,” an article by Tom McCaffrey published in the Huffington Post comedy section, is about a fictional group of 6th-year college fraternity brothers establishing DDAM while playing beer pong and watching Cinemax pornography. The group, enraged by their mothers’ concerns with their drunk-driving habits, holds nightly meetings to drink and complain about their mothers and mothers in general.

“Moms are total buzz kills these days. All they do is bitch and whine about dudes who like to party. It’s always, ‘Don’t drive drunk or you shouldn’t fight the police or you got my daughter pregnant!’ It’s like chill out,” one of McCaffrey’s fictional DDAM leaders said. “My mom is always like ‘I can’t believe you got drunk and then drove our new car into a lake again!’ I’m like f*** you! I like to party! You’re just mad because you can’t party as hard as me!,”
While the DDAM story is satire, it’s interesting that real life anti-drunk driving campaign advertisements, designed to be serious, regularly feature these same stereotypes of a stupid, immature male drunk driver and a “buzz kill,” motherly female. Some examples these public service announcements can be viewed here:

One might wonder about the extent to which these stereotypes shape the views of the public, and therefore the views of jurors, judges and prosecutors in OUI cases. For instance, which way could the fact that males are generally portrayed as infantile in PSAs cut? On one hand, it might make male, particularly young male, defendants more sympathetic to some based on the idea that they “just don’t know any better.” The reverse could be true where an accused is female, the sex commonly depicted in PSAs as being more responsible and “knowing better” than to drive drunk or to let others do so. On the other hand, the portrayal of males in PSAs as reckless might cause some to think them more culpable.

It could be that these campaigns are using the female mother figure as the voice of reason discouraging OUI because people tend to respect their mothers and listen to their advice. According to the Oct. 10 CNN article “What sways teens not to drink, drive?,” parents are (not surprisingly) among the most powerful influences affecting teenage drunk-driving and drinking .

While not reflected in most anti-drunk driving PSAs, persons from all walks of life, from soccer moms to frat guys and everyone outside and in between, find themselves charged with OUI/DUI/DWI. While very few drunk-driving PSAs feature a female drunk-driver, the number of female OUI arrests has increased dramatically since the 1980s. In the past decade, female drunk-driving arrests have increased by almost 30 percent. Male drunk-driving arrests have decreased in recent years.

If you or someone you know has been charged with Massachusetts OUI/DUI/DWI, contact the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, P.C. at 617 263 6800. Stephen Neyman has been defending persons accused of operating under the influence of alcohol and drugs for more than two decades.

Contact Information