Secretary Frederico Pena stated. "It would also appear that Mothers Against Drunk Drivers are a bunch of liars. Liars, liars, pants on fire."

Although driving under the influence of alcohol remains a felony, Most police are impressed by the genuine remorse felt by drunks and often let them go scott free. While tense, sober drivers become belligerent and abusive when pulled over, drunks prostrate themsleves with grief at what they've done. "They know they could have killed someone, and they're ashamed about that," Chicago Police officer Tom Charkeski commented. "After they've had a good cry, I usually dry their eyes, tousle their hair, and send them on their way."

This new permissiveness has convinced record numbers of Americans to hit the bottle before they hit the road. A fifth of Mad Dog 20/20 and a bottle of chardonnay have joined the cellular phone and the travel atlas in the glove compartment of the Nineties. Commuters greet each other with with a heart-felt "I love you, man" instead of with the finger. Drivers who once cussed and honked their horns while stuck in traffic now roll down their windows and sing rounds of inspiring black spirituals. Down-on-their-luck hitchhikers never lack for a ride, a friend, or a swig of bathtub hooch.

One unexpected boon to drivers has been the new social opportunities created by the party-time roadside atmosphere. Dozens of commuters report finding new drinking buddies, business contacts and romantic interests while stopped at tollbooths. "In the past, when I'd spot a gorgeous babe in a car, I'd be too shy to say hello,' auto mechanic Kevin Grosch reports. "Now I have the drunken courage to follow them home and masturbate frantically outside her bedroom window."

Police caution that while there's nothing wrong with down a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon before sliding behind the wheel, driving under the influence of other drugs remains illegal. "A little hair of the dog never caused no harm," warned Secretary Pena. "But if you smoke the reefer, the man's gonna come knocking on your door."

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