Drinking and driving kills. If you don’t believe me, ask my kids. Ask them what it feels like hear their dad is dead, or for my youngest child (of the three with Randy), to never know her biological father at all. Ask my family what it feels like to hear their family is destroyed. Ask his parents what it feels like to have to say good-bye to their son. Ask me what it feels like to be 25 years old with three kids and no future. Ask me how a person starts over from that. Go ahead. Ask.
You won’t ask. No one will. At least, no one ever has.
No one asks because no one really wants to know the answers. The answers are tough to hear. It scares them. For a moment, they even put themselves into our shoes and they feel how terrible it must be. Beyond those reasons, the real reason people don’t ask is because drinking and driving is something most of us have done. Even if it was once. Even if you felt like you weren’t drunk. Even if you were the not completely alcohol-free designated driver. Most of us have done it and knowing someone that has suffered the consequences of something most of us have done, is almost more guilt than we can handle. It also ruins the lies we tell ourselves when we drink.
The lie we tell when we say “I haven’t had that much”. Or when we say, “I can drink all night and not be drunk.” Or how about my favorite lie of all, “Of course I’m fine to drive. I wouldn’t drive if I wasn’t okay.”
The problem with making the decision to drive after you have been drinking is you have an unclear mind. You have no idea how unclear it is until morning. Thanks to the alcohol, it seems perfectly clear. Unfortunately, you are wrong. There is just no polite way to say it. You are making foggy decisions. Foggy decisions that put you and everyone else on the road at risk.
I’m not throwing people who drink under the bus. I am one of those people. I do enjoy the occasional drink (or two). Sometimes, I drink a little and sometimes I drink a little too much. I am also one of the people who has driven after drinking. Unfortunately, I lived the nightmare. I know what it can do; I don’t have to ask. So, I have also made the decision not to let it happen anymore. Thanks to my support system, my children’s reminders, and my own fear, it doesn’t happen. I don’t drink and drive.
There is a large problem surrounding drinking and driving–accountability.
The person who killed Randy was drunk, exhausted, and I believe he passed out (his friends say he fell asleep) about 5:30am and rammed head on into Randy’s car after crossing the center line. Randy was on his way to work. Of course the drunk driver’s friends denied his drunken state, telling me through comments in newspaper articles that he was just ‘tired’.
Unfortunately, the blood test showed differently. Even after massive fluids through IV during the life flight, and the passage of hours since his last drink, by the time they tested his blood, he was still considered legally drunk. Two tests, by two sources differ on the numbers, but both tests proved he was drunk. I was told the average rule of thumb for a male is to add .015% to BAC for every hour that passes from the time of the accident until the time the BAC is taken. That would have put him well over the legal limit at the time of the accident, even if we use the lesser test.
He does not remember anything about the wreck. Part of that is (probably) because he was drunk. The other part is due to the short-term memory loss he has as a result of the wreck and the probable permanent amnesia from around the time of the accident.
For the record, he doesn’t remember portions of the night leading up to the wreck either. His friends filled in the gaps for him. He had a wild and fun evening. He even fell asleep at a friend’s house. He thought he was fine to drive after sleeping. Another foggy decision. He might have felt ‘fine’ or ‘okay’, but clearly he wasn’t.
For those of you who think the drunk driver never gets hurt? I’m here to tell you they do. He almost died (although he was extricated before my husband). He was life-flighted to a trauma center. He had at least 2 surgeries, maybe more, to repair his broken legs and relieve pressure in his brain. He spent months recovering in a facility(although some believe that was to avoid prosecution). He lost some memories of that day, that night, and even the weeks before. He even had to re-take a semester of school because he didn’t remember the information (according to sources, I have no first hand knowledge).
Now, if he were being honest, I bet he wishes he would have made a different choice. I bet he wishes that he would have went home alone that night. Or maybe he wishes that he would have stayed at the friends house instead of driving home. What ever the decision he made was, I bet he wishes he would have made it when he was stone-cold sober. Once you start drinking, even one, your inhibitions come down, that’s true, but so does your common sense. So do yourself and everyone else a favor: make a decision to drink at home, get an absolutely alcohol-free driver, pay a taxi, or don’t drink while you are out. If you do go out without a plan, and you drink alcohol, I guarantee you’re making foggy decisions.
If you are feeling brave, go ahead, ask me for proof of the devastation that drinking and driving can (and will eventually) cause.
***Just to be clear, legally drunk is .08%, however, most, if not all, states can ticket you for lesser amounts. In IL, for example, you can be ticketed for anything over .05% if you are showing signs of impairment or fail a field sobriety test. It is up to the officer.
If your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher, you are legally drunk and it is illegal for you to drive. However, if you are driving with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08, you may still be cited for a DUI if your behavior suggests you are impaired. This is at the discretion of the officer citing you. Even with a BAC of just 0.06, you double your chance of being involved in a fatal accident.
So, please, use your clear head, before drinking, and avoid the alcohol-clouded judgment. It could save a life, including yours.