I once had a comment on my blog from an active member of Mothers against drunk driving. MADD
She scolded me a bit for using the word accident to describe a crash involving a drunk driver that hit and injured my client. She went on to say that when someone drinks and then chooses to drive that everything that happens after that is intentional not an "accident."
I certainly sympathize with that point. My mother was almost killed by a drunk driver when I was just a child. In addition to the recklessness of driving drunk he also was cowardly and uncaring in that he and his buddies left my mother lying unconscious on the pavement and ran for their lives.
I also know that drunk driving tends to be a repeat offense type problem and thus how we characterize the offender has a lot to do with how I might feel about it.
Not to defend anybody but I think it feels different if we are talking about a person who is a well-educated person at a dinner party who has three or four glasses of wine over the course of an evening and hits a car at night with no brake lights on.
However, if I tell you that a man was driving recklessly through a school zone and hits children drunk at 2:30 on a Thursday afternoon and this was his fourth offense DUI it changes things.
Both are wrong. It is never okay to drink and then drive. And it makes sense. If you're in an airplane you don't want your pilot to have been drinking at all. Well, we are all on the road and we don't want anyone around us to have been drinking at all either. Cars kill more than planes ever will.
Unfortunately, many of my clients are hurt by drunk drivers. The drunk drivers tend to be very loose and most never are injured. I also realize now that there is even a group called FADD or fathers against drunk driving.
The statistics on these issues are shocking:
Alcohol related crashes are the leading cause of death for young Americans, between the ages of 16 and 24 years old. For all Americans between 5 and 35 years of age, motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of death. Alcohol-impaired drivers cause over 50% of these accidents.
Over 50% of all fatal highway crashes involving two or more cars are alcohol related.
Over 65% of all fatal single car crashes are alcohol related.
Over 36% percent of all adult pedestrian accidents are alcohol related.
80% of all fatal alcohol related auto crashes occur between 8 pm and 8 am.
36% of all adult pedestrian accidents involve an intoxicated pedestrian.
Every year, 708,000 persons are injured in alcohol related crashes; 74, 000 of those people suffer serious injuries.
About 2,000 people are hurt each day in alcohol related accidents. Two million alcohol impaired driving collisions occur each year.
So when were watching the games, and we see you guys all clinging bottles of beer together and say "it doesn't get any better than this". Just remember, the beer commercials never show those guys driving home. For that matter, alcohol commercials never show the winos in the gutter, the abused wives and children, the suicides, the fights, the vomit-coated jail cells, the liver transplant list, and the broken-hearted children who carry the scars of being raised an alcoholic home to future generations.
So for the safety of all of us on the road, if you must drink, get someone else to drive or stay home.
Mr. Peel seeks justice for those injured in car accidents, work place incidents, medical malpractice, and nursing homes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Mr. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.