the drunk driver

Monday, June 4, 2012

Classroom lesson for the day.

In the ER, nobody ever has more than just a couple of beers and they only had two drinks with dinner. Somehow drink five, six seven or fourteen get conveniently forgotten until they get behind the wheel of a car and get pulled over at 3am in Stillwater, Oklahoma and blow a 0.24 on an intoximeter. And though the officer documented he smelled alcohol and observed Blackmon was unsteady on his feet, had slurred speech and glassy and blood-shot eyes, Justin Blackmon, soon to be NFL football star, pleaded not guilty to his DUI charge. It may be that the courts can somehow find Mr. Blackmon not guilty but that does mean he wasn’t a potential danger and menace on the streets.

Talk to any paramedic or EMT and there will be disdain for a drunk driver. There can be compassion for the chronic alcoholic who needs help after falling or whose health has spiraled out of control because of the addictiveness of the drug, but the drunk driver is a different character. Their actions are akin to taking a loaded gun and firing it indiscriminately in the streets. The bullets may not harm anyone…this time. However, the odds favor an innocent bystander getting hurt or killed.

The latest numbers from the CDC:

10,839 people killed in alcohol impaired driving crashes or a third of all driving related deaths
1.4 million were arrested for drunk while impaired by alcohol or narcotics
An impaired driver got behind the wheel 112 million times
35% of drivers involved in an alcohol related fatal crash were younger than 24

Once upon a time, Charles Barkley, a former NBA star and now television announcer, was quoted as saying that he was not a role model. Regardless of how he perceived himself, kids looked up to him and wanted to be like him. “Be like Mike” was a Nike marketing campaign highlighting Michael Jordan. Whether it is a small town high school basketball player or an NFL pro, society holds athletes in high esteem and with success on the field comes responsibility to behave morally and act as a role model.

In October2010, Justin Blackmon was arrested at 345am for speeding and DUI. His public apology talked about redeeming himself and growing from that experience. His arrest this week provides a teaching moment to his young fans:

Unless you are driving to or from work, there is no reason to be on the roads at 3am.
Expect that every other driver is drunk and capable of doing you harm.
Don’t be that driver in the other car…ever.

Class dismissed.

One Response to the drunk driver

  1. […] hour). The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are more than 112 million alcohol impaired episodes every year.  It is a testament to the emotional strength of his teammates, that the Dallas Cowboys […]

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