Remember waiting to turn 16 yrs old so you could get your permit and finally drive a car? It let everyone know that you weren’t a kid anymore. You could drive! But with it came responsibility since you were now operating a moving piece of machinery that weighed in excess of 2 tons (at least in the 60’s when I learned). It was another reason my parents made me take driver ed class during summer break so that I would learn the rules of the road as well as have actual road driving experience, not just class room instruction. It’s amazing how fast a moving car travels in just a few seconds. It requires complete control and awareness of your surroundings at all times. I remember asking my instructor when he would consider someone an experienced driver. His reply was that once you had driven around 100,000 miles you would have experienced all types of situations and how to react to be considered, at least in his opinion, an experienced driver. At the time I thought I’ll never drive that much, but 40 years later I know I passed that distance too many times to keep track of.
I mention this in view of all the tragic accidents that take place everyday in this country, including right here in WNY. And today we have all kinds of distractions that we didn’t have when I first learned how to drive. Cell phones, GPS devices, radios that blast the bass so loud it makes your fillings loose, DVD players playing movies for the kids in the back seat, as well as all the fast food drive thrus that make it convenient to get food and eat without ever getting out of your car.
Yet the two biggest causes of accidents continue to be the same as always, speeding and alcohol. How many people are killed every day because they were driving too fast? There’s a reason for the saying that SPEED KILLS! And many of the victims are young people who don’t have many miles of driving experience. But if ever there was a lightning rod for public fury it is the continuous amount of accidents and deaths as a result of drunk driving, It goes on and on and on. Not helping the problem is a court system that allows drivers who have been arrested for DUI or DWI to continue driving. I don’t care if you were under the influence or while intoxicated! YOU ARE STILL DRUNK AND YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS DRIVING A CAR!
Then there are the lawyers who constantly use the airwaves to advertise their legal expertise to help you get out of a DUI or DWI. Case in point:
This just enables ones to continue to drink and drive. If I get arrested I’ll just give ol Sam a call and he will get me off. And there in lies the problem with drunk driving. The laws are not strict enough or administered in an equitable way so as to discourage one from drinking and then getting behind the wheel. Too many loopholes and a system that is too lax to keep the habitual culprits off the road. If you get caught you should serve time in jail and then prove that you deserve to have your license reinstated. I mention all of this in light of some recent developments regarding drunk driving accidents, some fatal. Currently as I write this, one Dr. James Corasanti is on trial for hitting and then running from a fatal accident with an 18 year old girl who was riding her longboard home from work last July. This ongoing trial has captured the attention of the public in WNY not just because the girl was hit and killed, but the good doctor claimed he didn’t realize that he hit someone or something after several hours of eating, drinking, and golfing at a local country club. I’m sorry but when I hit a squirrel that dashes in front of me I feel it? Who’s kidding who doc? If this case isn’t bad enough, last week the following events took place. A 23 year old driver was drunk and hit and killed a 14 year old boy. He ran from the scene! Then a 32 year old was speeding through the Town of Tonawanda and struck 2 teenagers, sending them to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The accident happened in front of the town police station!! But the creme de la creme was the 40 year old who was driving drunk, hit a light pole and then fled. He called the court in the morning to report that he would be late for jury duty due to car trouble. He is a juror in the Corasanti trial, which involves drinking and driving!! These events all took place on Thursday last week, the same day. What the hell is wrong with people?
What is really disturbing and heart-rending is that this kind of behavior will continue. The laws of the land and the authorities are being overwhelmed with this epidemic. Maybe we need to rethink at what age a person can legally drive a vehicle. People also have to realize that driving a car is a privilege, not a right. And alcohol slows your reflexes enough so that you cannot react quick enough to avoid hitting objects or worse yet a human being. Even race car drivers have accidents, some fatal and they don’t drink alcohol before the Daytona or Indy 500 so what makes you think that you can? Especially if you don’t have 100,000 miles of driving experience under your belt.
A car being driven by a drunk is no different than a person walking down the street waving a loaded gun at people. Someone is going to be hurt. I just pray it’s not me or any of my loved ones.