Today this column
is dedicated to the memory of innocent lives who are killed
on our streets each year due to drunk driving. Ironically,
the ones who are drunk may never get hurt but the victims
are often passengers in cars or street pedestrians. We see
road signs or billboards on the streets promoting that after
a party there should be a designated driver behind the
wheel. This means that there should be at least one person
who will not drink any kind of alcoholic beverage because
or she is going to be the driver for the night. This
suggests that any amount of alcohol consumed, no matter the
small the amount, can impact critical reflex actions needed
when driving. One need not be drunk to prove that alcohol
can impact judgment or fine muscular motor skills.
Unfortunately, the "designated driver" at parties too often
becomes the "designated drinker." He/she might only drink
one can of beer and that small amount can impair judgment.
Since data is not
available in our country, I need to quote USA facts about
alcohol and driving. "In all 50 states, the legal limit for
drunk driving is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level
of .08. A 120-pound woman can reach a .08 BAC level after
only two drinks and a 180-pound man can be at .08 after only
four drinks. A "drink" is either one shot of liquor, a
five-ounce glass of wine or one beer, all of which contain
the same amount of alcohol. At a .08 BAC level, drivers are
so impaired that they are 11 times more likely to have a
single-vehicle crash than drivers with no alcohol in their
system. But 25 years of research has shown that some
impairment begins for both males and females even after one
drink." (Ask About.com)
Early in morning, while these fun-crazed drinkers are
driving home at high speeds, a tree walks into the pathway
of the car or a wall meanders in front of the vehicle
preventing the vehicle from going any further. There is a
loud bang. It is a serious crash. Broken bones,
blood-stained streets and outbursts of screams and tears.
Help! Help! But itís too late. Someone is dead.
NEW LAWS NEEDED
Is the culprit
Mr. Alcohol or is it the refusal to make wise choices?
Young people often think of themselves as
are adventurous, impulsive, and can often be down-right
foolish with their decisions. They think that such tragedy
will never happen to them. Yes, we do need stiffer laws
and penalties for accidents due to drunk driving. We might
also need stiffer laws controlling the consumption or
purchasing of alcohol to persons under the age of thirty.
Why this age? Many of the drunk drivers are teenagers or
young adults. In addition, the government can require
owners of vehicles to install speed governors or speed
limiters (a device used to measure and regulate the speed of
vehicles or engines). This would mean that no automobile
can travel more than a certain speed (45 MPH) as designated
by law because the "speed limiter" will actually prevent it
from doing so. These "speed limiters" can be a part of the
vehicular inspection each year. The government should also
ban alcohol on all public transportation and if a bus driver
is found with any amount of alcohol in his or her blood
during driving, he or she should be seriously fined and
prevented from driving a public transport for life. Police
should do random tests of bus drivers with the use of a
breathalyzer (a device for estimating blood alcohol content
(BAC) from a breath sample).
It is imperative that we stop allowing Mr. Alcohol to take
front stage. We need common sense to be the drivers behind
the wheels. No wonder there is a saying that common sense
is not so common anymore. We need to stop letting this
mind and behavior-altering liquid (alcohol) from poisoning
our thoughts and hearts. Too many are dying on our streets.
Too many relationships and homes and falling apart because
Several years ago, I presented the following poem to remind
our readers of the danger of alcohol and how the innocents
suffer. Once again I reprint this poem in memory of so many
innocent persons who have died since the year began due to
someone elseís drunken driving. Read and share.
I went to the
party, Mom, I remembered what you said.
You told me not
to drink, Mom, so I drank soda instead.
I really felt
proud inside, Mom, the way you said I would.
I didnít drink
and drive, Mom, even though the others said I should.
I know I did the
right thing, Mom, I know you are always right.
Now the party is
finally ending, Mom, as everyone is driving out of sight.
As I got into my
car, Mom, I knew Iíd get home in one piece.
Because of the
way you raised me, so responsible and sweet.
I started to
drive away, Mom, but as I pulled out into the road,
The other car
didnít see me, Mom, and hit me like a load.
As I lay there on
the pavement, Mom, I hear the policeman say,
The other guy is
drunk, Mom, and now Iím the one who will pay.
Iím lying here
dying, Mom, I wish youíd get here soon.
How could this
happen to me, Mom? My life just burst like a balloon.
There is blood
all around me, Mom, and most of it is mine.
I hear the medic
say, Mom, Iíll die in a short time.
I just wanted to
tell you, Mom, I swear I didnít drink.
It was the
others, Mom. That other didnít think.
He was probably
at the same party as I.
difference is, he drank and I will die.
Why do people
drink, Mom? It can ruin your whole life.
Iím feeling sharp
pains now. Pains just like a knife.
The guy who hit
me is walking, Mom, and I donít think itís fair.
Barrington H. Brennen
Iím lying here
dying and all he can do is stare.
Tell my brother
not to cry, Mom. Tell Daddy to be brave.
And when I pass
away, Mom, put "Daddyís Girl" on my grave.
have told him, Mom, not to drink and drive.
If only they had
told him, Mom, I would still be alive.
My breath is
getting short, Mom, Iím becoming very scared.
Please donít cry
for me, Mom. When I needed you, you were always here.
I have on last
question , Mom, before I say good bye.
I didnít drink
and drive, so why am I the one to die?
during this Christmas season please do not drink. If you
must drink, do not mix driving with it. Have a designated
driver always. Please stop the killing. Please stop the
drinking and driving. Please stop the drinking.
PDF format of this poem alone ]
Brennen is a marriage and family therapist and board
certified clinical psychotherapist, USA. Send your questions
or comments to