LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A U.S. restaurant and liquor group used a mug shot of troubled actress Lindsay Lohan on Friday to launch a national campaign against the use of new technology aimed at keeping drunks off the road.
A full page advertisement in the newspaper USA Today used the police shot of Lohan after her arrest in Los Angeles last year for drunken driving under a caption saying “Ignition interlocks. A good idea for:” (Lohan) “But a bad idea for us:” showing pictures of adults drinking at weddings and restaurants.
The ad says ignition interlocks, which prevent intoxicated drivers from starting their cars, are “a great tool for getting hard-core drunk drivers off our roads.”
But putting one in every person’s car, as some people advocate, “means an end to moderate and responsible drinking prior to driving ...”, the ad says.
Lohan, now 21, became a poster child for under-age drinking last year when she checked into rehab three times and was arrested and briefly jailed for drunken driving and cocaine possession. The “Freaky Friday” and “Mean Girls” star has since kept mostly out of trouble.
Lohan’s lawyer Blair Berk said on Friday that the actress “fully endorses ignition interlock devices.” But in her statement, Berk added that it was irresponsible to suggest that drinking and driving “is some kind of American ‘tradition’ we should protect.”
The advertisement was paid for by Web site www.interlockfacts.com, which is described as a “special project” of the American Beverage Institute. The ABI is a restaurant trade association with strong links to U.S. wine, beer and spirits suppliers that promotes responsible drinking by adults.
The ABI said it planned to use the mug shots of other celebrities arrested for drunken driving in further campaigns but did not give details.
“These are public images. A lot of publications have used this (Lohan) shot. We are not worried about any legal fallout,” ABI managing director Sarah Longwell told Reuters.
Longwell said the campaign was aimed at highlighting moves in the United States to incorporate interlocking technology into all cars to stop drunken driving.
Nine U.S. states have passed laws allowing the installation of in-car breathalyzers used to lock ignition switches into cars of those who have been convicted of first time drunk driving. The federal government has also funded a research program into other devices.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Eric Walsh