America's New Temperance Movement

December 21, 1984

Report Outline
A growing Awarness
Anti-Alcohol Campaigns
Industry's Response
Special Focus

A growing Awarness

Measuring Extent of the New Movement

It's Beginning to look like a lot of Americans will be ushering in the New Year in a more sober fashion than they have in the recent past. If trends continue, there will be less drinking and fewer alcohol-related traffic fatalities this holiday season due largely to a heightened sensitivity to the dangers of drunken driving. In combination with the ongoing health and fitness movement and the changing drinking habits of an aging population, the five-year-old campaign against excessive drinking not only has lowered the number of deaths involving drunken driving but also has reduced per capita consumption of alcoholic beverages significantly.

President Reagan has described the heightened awareness about alcohol's dangers as a “great national movement.” The New York Times called it “the temperance wave.” David F. Musto, a medical professor, describes it as “a serious, effective and popular temperance movement.” Whether it is called a wave, a movement or simply an awareness, the anti-drunken driving campaign and its attendant temperance component continue to win new adherents. “I've never seen anything like the kind of interest and response of the country to any issue as I have [the fight against drunken driving],” said Dr. Morris Chafetz, president of the Health Education Foundation and a member of the Presidential Commission on Drunk Driving. “In my lifetime this country has only been united one other previous time around a single issue, and that was World War II.”

The campaign against drunken driving has had marked success in persuading federal, state and local governments to increase the legal drinking age, strengthen drunken driving statutes, institute restrictions on bars and set up drunken driver reporting programs. For example:

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Dec. 21, 1984  America's New Temperance Movement
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Oct. 04, 1933  Liquor Control after Repeal
Feb. 02, 1933  Preparations for Prohibition Repeal
Aug. 11, 1932  Prohibition After the 1932 Elections
May 16, 1932  Prohibition in the 1932 Conventions
Sep. 25, 1931  Economic Effects of Prohibition Repeal
Feb. 25, 1931  The States and the Prohibition Amendment
Jan. 26, 1931  Validity of the Eighteenth Amendment
Oct. 15, 1930  The Liquor Problem in Politics
Sep. 02, 1929  Reorganization of Prohibition Enforcement
Oct. 31, 1928  Social and Economic Effects of Prohibition
Aug. 07, 1928  Liquor Control in the United States
Apr. 23, 1927  The Prohibition Issue in National Politics
Jun. 05, 1926  Prohibition in the United States
Apr. 21, 1926  Prohibition in Foreign Countries
Jan. 15, 1924  Four Years Under the Eighteenth Amendment
Drug Abuse