The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Opinion

May 5, 2014

Viewpoint: Impaired driving is a social plague

Are we becoming numbed to realities of impaired driving?

All you have to do is take one look at the picture of the recent car crash in Madison County involving a police officer that took the life of a young father and critically injured the mother (in her ninth month of pregnancy) to be sickened at the horror of impaired driving. The sad reality is that, for that family, their life changed from the moment the officer chose to drive impaired. The resounding pain at this choice will filter down through the grieving family for generations.

A man was killed. A husband, father, son, grandson, peer, loved one, a human being with a hope for the future, an individual. His name was Jesse. I didn’t know him personally and yet I do. I know him from the stories that I hear at impact panel meetings. When speaking with offenders about how fortunate I am to have my son alive after he was hit by a drunk driver in 2011, I discuss choices, alternatives, and time.

The social disease of impaired driving (alcohol or drugs) is robbing “time” from our lives. Offenders who choose to drive impaired are robbing others of their rights to safety, time and chances at a life they have worked hard to create and deserve as humans. And of course the offender’s families are affected in devastating ways as well.

Why is this such an ongoing social struggle? Is it because of inconvenience or more about individual rights? Perhaps we feel entitled to do what we want, as much of our lives have become about immediate gratification and zero boundaries. Or perhaps we don’t want to be accused of “policing” friends if we suggest people have designated drivers prior to entertaining in their homes. The reality is people know how they are going to get home from a party when they arrive.

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