Let’s discuss drunk driving
As I mentioned in a previous article, during the holidays there is a rise in automobile accidents. One of the reasons for that rise is the increase in drivers driving under the influence of alcohol.
BACtrack.com reports, “The most traveled holiday period of the year is Thanksgiving weekend … Thanksgiving Eve is even referred to as ‘Black Wednesday,’ as it may be the busiest night of the year for bars.”
Although I am not anti-alcohol, I am anti-drinking and driving. Which includes ANY drinking and driving. Continually I hear comments such as, “I can handle my liquor” or “One or two drinks doesn’t affect me.”
One or two drinks WILL have a negative effect on your ability to drive, and you cannot safely handle your liquor when you get behind the wheel of a car.
Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) reports, “An average drunk driver has driven drunk over 80 times before first arrest…In 2015, 10,265 people died in drunk driving crashes … one every 51 minutes.”
I believe the use of the term “drunk driver” is one of the reasons so many people fail to understand how serious and prevalent drunk driving is. The term drunk driver suggests a slobbering, falling-down drunk.
The slobbering, falling-down drunk is usually not the most dangerous drunk. He usually either knows he can’t safely drive or someone else recognizes the danger and prevents him from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Much more dangerous is the 127-pound mother who has had two drinks at a holiday party, stops by a friend’s house after work and has another drink, then stops and picks her children up from day-care and hits the road to visit relatives.
Tragically, children, who have no choice in the matter, are too often the innocent victims of an adult drinking and driving. For those innocent souls, I have the deepest sorrow.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports, “Of the 1,070 traffic deaths among children ages 0-14 years in 2014, 209 (19 percent) involved an alcohol impaired driver.”
I believe one of the reasons there are so many drunk drivers, is the laws are too lenient. When a man, driving drunk, can hit a school bus full of children, kill several of the children, and be sentenced to only 8 years in prison, there is a problem with the judicial system. When a woman, driving drunk, hits a car and kills a man and his 12-year-old daughter and is sentenced to only 3 years in prison, there is something wrong with our laws.
I believe that anyone who kills another person while driving under the influence of alcohol should be charged with pre-meditated murder. It is difficult in our society to find anyone over the age of 13 years-old who does not know about the dangers of drinking and driving. So, to me, if someone drinks and gets behind the wheel of a vehicle then they have the knowledge in advance they may kill someone.
Lenient laws allow for those who drink and drive to believe that even if they are caught, it will not be a big problem. We can find case after case where drunk drivers have a long list of arrests before they kill someone. We can also find case after case where drivers continue to drink and drive even after having their driver’s license suspended.
It amazes me as to how many family members and friends will loan their vehicle to someone who has had their license revoked for drinking and driving. One way to reduce that from happening is when a driver is arrested for driving and drinking, the second offense, and any subsequent arrests should include the confiscation and sale of the vehicle being driven, regardless of who owns the vehicle.
As harsh as my statements may sound, it is much harsher to stand at the graveside of a loved one because someone chose to drink and drive.
I wish you the happiest and safest holidays ever. And for that to happen, be the one who says no to drinking and driving this holiday season.
Johni Hipple lives in Galion. She is a speaker, author, facilitator and the founder of Johni Hipple Freelance. A graduate of the University of Kentucky in Sociology, a graduate of Hondros college in Real Estate, and a Marine Corps veteran, Johni is a prolific and compassionate writer who uses words to share knowledge, experience, and ideas that will make a positive difference in the lives of others. If you have a thought, idea or suggestion about this column, share it with Inquirer editor Russ Kent at firstname.lastname@example.org.