I Remember When...

I remember when any laws against driving drunk were almost never inforced -- the days before MADD and such.  I remember seeing some really crazy characters on the road (especially after the bars closed) who were driving so bad I was amazed they didn't kill someone or themself.  I remember in the 1970's seeing a large car one night driving through a residential neighborhood on a heavily traveled street.  This person was so drunk that it was not a matter of staying in between the lines, but trying to stay in between the sidewalks.  A lot of trash can were hit (back then they were made of metal) and I marveled at how many parked cars were missed.  It lasted about 15 minutes.  That's when a parked car was finally hit and the driver finally stopped.  I think s/he passed out because I saw no attempt to move the car again.  At last I was able to pass this drunk safely, and as soon as I got past, I punched it to put as much distance between us as possible.

The worst was that during this era, if you were driving drunk (and I mean these people were DRUNK!) and killed someone in an accident you caused, you could plead innocent because you were so drunk you didn't know what you were doing.  Most of these people were so routinely found innocent of the damage they did and dismissed, then turned around and be right back out there doing it again and again.  No kidding, there was one man who was in court up to 10 times in a month for this and set free each time.  I remember the statistics in the state of California alone was in the hundreds of thousands of injured and dead each year.  People were really ignorant about the damage being done during that time.  The tragedies being inflicted were treated with such detachement until MADD drove reality home to the nation.  Until then, it was just 'one of those things in life that just happen.'

I just had a heated debate with a 20-something young man who thought our rights were being eroded because he read where the worst DUI offenders on parole were subject to having their residents searched without a warrant.  If any alcohol was found they were back in jail.  His conspiracy paranoia really believed it was a plot to use the DUI as an excuse to take away more of our rights.  I told I liked the idea that those who keep violating the law are subjected to such scrutiny.  Those are more likely the ones who will kill someone because of thier stubborn disregard for everyone else because 'no one's gonna tell them what to do' attitude.  I let this young man know that I did not consider it a threat that aggressive actions were being taken to ensure that these repeat offenders understood how serious this is, and no, it will NOT be tolerated.  My way of thinking is that my rights are being protected by a law that helps to make our roads a safer place to be.

Did I ever drive drunk?  There was one time I remember doing so.  But I was sober enough to be scared all the way home that I might be caught.  It was a situation where I was stuck and had to get home and I took the chance.  I got home alright.  But I was so scared at what I had done that I never did it again.  That was over 20 years ago.

46-50, F
2 Responses Aug 26, 2006

We all know that driving drunk is a bad thing to do.<br />
However, I don't necessarily agree that having alcohol ain your house should have anything to do with drunk driving. I understand there could be some correlation, in that someone could get drunk at home and THEN go out driving somewhere...but I tend to favor other measures (like the ignition system lock). Of course, if somebody"s going to drive drunk, there is no foolproof way to stop them. Almost all my neighbors have runken driving convictions (some multiple) and it never stops them. If they have an ignition lock, they drive someoneelse's car. If their license is suspended or revoked, they drive anyway.<br />
But, I would feel infringed upon if I could go to jail for having alcohol in my house. <br />
I Do have alcohol in my house. That's where I drink it because I live in a rural area and to go to a bar you would have to drive.<br />
I do stop in bars, but I drink non-alcoholic drinks there. Then, when my driving is through, errands all done and I'm home for the night, I can drink me beers. I reserve the right to be drunk in my own home, as long as I don't go out driving.

I had never heard before that drunk drivers used to be thought innocent of damage they caused while drunk. Its staggering to think that they made driving drunk a legal form of murder.