Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. 


Proverbs 20:1


        A Deadly Combination

        Micky Tells His Story

     One night, in 1981, I was waking on a downtown street when a drunk driver going 70 miles and hour, hit me.  It’s a miracle I survived.  But my physical life was ruined forever.

     Since that misfortune happened to me, I have been dead to this world.  Mom says I died on the night of the accident, and in a sense she seems to right.  I am no longer the same son I used to be.  My body was paralyzed.  The only part of my being which still works is my mind.  I am now confined to my bed and my wheelchair.

     To comfort me, people tell me that, since the most important part of my being, my mind, is still in tact, I should use it to compensate for the loss of my physical functions.  I know that, through faith and determination, many quadriplegics have made a success in their lives, but maybe you do not know how hard it is for me to bear the fact that I am physically trapped—trapped for the rest of my life.  I remember how I grew up—walking, running, playing, roller skating, hiking, going to school, and doing the usual chores of everyday life.  I will never be able to do those things again.  And still worse, I am deprived of the ability of feeding myself, taking a shower by myself, or using the toilet by myself.  And I am only 27 years old.

     I was making plans to get married and raise a happy family.  The wonderful young lady to whom I was engaged shed many tears when she saw what had happened to me seven years ago.  And I still cry at night for my shattered dreams, for what I will miss forever, and for the heavy cross that my family and I have to carry.

     Maybe you do not realize how painful it is for me to know that I will have to spend the rest of my life in a nursing home.  And I am not the only victim of drunk driving.  Many others, like myself, will go through a similar experience until our society wakes up to the fact that drunk driving must be faced as a national epidemic and that something very positive must be done to curb it.

     Therefore I plead with the readers of my story: Don’t drink and drive.  Don’t make other victims like me.  Spare other families from going through the ordeal that my family is going through.


     Each year, one and a half million people are seriously injured on the highway in the United States.  Many of these are disfigured or disabled for life.  Another 50,000 die in fatal traffic accidents.

     There is a pervasive factor involved in motor vehicle crashes, and that is alcoholism.  The United States Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic safety Administration, says, if drivers wouldn’t drink, and drinkers wouldn’t drive, highway fatalities would be significantly reduced.

     While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains that drunken driving is involved in only 50 percent of all fatal accidents, a pathologists’ organization that amassed figures from three medical examiners reports that as many as 90 percent of car deaths may involve drunken drivers.

     “Medical examiners have said for years that the rate of alcohol involvement in motor vehicle accidents is far higher that has been supposed,” informs Dr. Robert R. Stivers, medical examiner in Fulton County, Georgia.  We are coming up with documented figures of 91 percent.  That scares people.”

     Dr. Stivers was one of the three medical examiners who provided statistical reports for the College of American Pathologist, whose findings suggested alcohol involvement in up to 90 percent of fatal traffic accidents.

     Another medical examiner, Dr. Donald J Nollet, who worked for the northern half of St Louis County, Minnesota, came to the same conclusion.  He reported that, in 1981, of the 31 traffic fatalities that occurred in his area only three were “real accidents,” where no driver had been under the influence of alcohol.

     Dr. Joseph C. Rupp, medical examiner for Nueces County, Texas, reported that statistical figures obtained in his area confirm the findings of Stivers and Nollet.

     It is not easy to collect very reliable statistics on alcohol involvement in traffic accidents.  In many places, fatally injured drivers are not tested, and those who are tested several hours after the accident make the blood alcohol tests on their bodies meaningless.  Nevertheless, even if the 90-percent figure is exaggerated, even if the 50-percent mark reported by the NHTSA is more acceptable, the thought that out of 50,000 fatalities 25,000 are alcohol-related is scary.

     Each year over 1.3 million people are arrested for drunken driving, but, according to the NHTSA, for one drunken driver that is arrested, 2,000 are not.  One out of every ten drivers on any given Friday or Saturday night is drunk, the NHTSA says:


     When we talk about drunk driving as a cause of auto accidents, we are talking about a crime that kills more than homicides, a crime that injures more people and more seriously than those who commit assaults with deadly weapons, a crime that does more property damage than the forgers, burglars, and robbers all added together,” said C. L., a Sacramento woman whose 13-yeqr-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver.

     To corroborate the above statement, we quote a few examples from the newspapers:

     In August, 1984, a mother and her three small children were among seven people killed in Washington D. C., when a car careening onto a sidewalk hurtled some of the victims into the air and pinned others against a brick wall.  The driver was intoxicated.

     A woman who had two prior drunken-driving convictions was sentenced (June 1985) to 12 years in prison, in Santa Ana, California, for a drunken driving accident that killed three people.

     In May, 1988, a pickup truck collided with a church bus on interstate 71 in Kentucky and killed 27 people, most of them youngsters.  The truck driver, a repeat drunk-driving offender, was traveling the wrong way on the interstate.  Tests showed a blood alcohol level of 0.24 percent.

            DRUNK DRIVING



     Common sense would naturally expect from the public and all the powers of the nation the most decided opposition to such a great evil as drunk driving.  But such a decided opposition has never been shown.  While on the one hand something has been done to combat this evil, on the other hand all efforts to combat it have been neutralized.  “For too long, drunk driving has been socially acceptable and even condoned as part of our American ‘macho’ image,” said Senator Claiborne Pell, who had two of his staff members killed in drunken-driving accidents.

     A high school teacher complains that peer pressure and television (which confuses the difference between right and wrong and presents a perverted image of life to the public) encourage drunken driving among the youngsters.  He says:

     “As a high school teacher for 10 years, I have often felt the loss of bright youngsters who have managed to kill themselves or others while driving intoxicated.  I notice that it is very often  people from uninvolved homes that are more apt to escape fears of inadequacy and seek peer approval through the use of alcohol, speed, and danger—an adrenalin-enhanced drug experience.  I also noticed that males are more often driven to this form of escape than females….Males on television, and elsewhere, are frequently shown as people who can live dangerously, drive insanely, do the impossible and remove all the opposition.  The TV show the Dukes of Hazzard is a good example of a G-rated (general audience) show where virile, handsome, young American males break driving laws, ignore dumb-acting police and take insane chances while driving all kinds of Auto mobiles.  Any young American male who feels unable to measure up to such programmed standards of conduct could easily feel that a few beers (also advertised heavily with images of virility, young males enjoying themselves) could help him be braver and thus more acceptable.”

     You may say that only weak-brained and weak-willed youngsters would be affected by the deceptive trash projected on the TV screen.  But that is not so.  Even sound and strong juvenile minds, if continually bombarded by debasing and stultifying ideas and examples, may finally be weakened and ruined.

     Says a Christian writer:

     It is a law both of the intellectual and the spiritual nature that by beholding we become changed.  The mind gradually adapts itself to the subjects upon which it is allowed to dwell.”  GC 555

     It has been said that drunk driving is also encouraged through certain inconsistencies in our official policies.  For example: Publicly supported stadiums passively encourage drinking and driving by allowing beer and wine to be sold throughout the game.  Says Laurie Lieber, who was monitoring drunken-driving schools for Alameda County in 1984:

     They have tailgate parties before the game, then they drink throughout the game, and then they leave and get on the road…We have zoning officials whose first question is, ‘Are you sure you have enough parking place?’  That just tells the world that it is all right to drive to a bar and park and drink and then drive home…. On one level, we’ve got laws that are supposed to be deterring the drunken driver, and on another level, we have policies that encourage people to drink and drive.”

            PUNISHING AND



     Many groups have sprung up demanding that something be done to curb intoxication on our roads.  And stepped-up efforts by citizens’ group, lawmakers, police and judges against drunken driving and have brought some results.  Virtually every state has toughened its drunk-driving laws in recent years.  States that immediately suspend drivers’ licenses and impose harsh sentences claim to have made an impact.

     Bill Giguiere, a former probation officer and forensic toxicologist who pioneered a model treatment program for serious alcoholic drivers in San Mateo County, California, says he has obtained positive results with an intensive 90-day treatment program which depend upon a daily urinalysis or breath test.  Whenever a client was found to have alcohol in his bloodstream, he was suspended from the treatment program and sent to jail.

     Brad Burdin, certified alcoholism counselor, Lemon Grove, California, recommends the following:

     “Prohibitive fines, terms of sentenced community service, suspended jail sentences with proviso of successful, more stringently monitored abstinence from drinking—these can be useful without overloading an already burdened jail system and can’t be the sword of Damocles to provide impetus for cooperating with education and rehabilitation.

     “Most drinkers and nondrinkers alike in this country are ignorant of the facts about alcohol use and alcoholism, sad to say.

     “Reeducation and rehabilitation are not, therefore, ‘coddling’ when used in conjunction with the above stiff penalties, to be suspended as long as behavior changes and vacated if it does not.  Part of education is that drinking drivers who kill are responsible for their actions.”

     Other important measures have also been proposed to keep drunken drivers from the road.  Someone suggested: what do you think of taking sobered-up drunken drivers on a tour of the morgue and the emergency room of a hospital?

“People who drive drunk,” Ann Landers thinks, must be made to witness the pain and sorrow they (and others like them) have caused.  Seeing the bloodied broken bodies and smashed skulls, listening to the anguished cries of the victim’s families and sweating out hours in surgery is the most effective deterrent.”

     In October 1988, in Orange County, California, four young men, 18 to 21, were arrested and convicted on charge of drunken driving.  “In addition to their fines and probation, they were sentenced to visit the coroner’s office in what judges say is an attempt not so much to shock young offenders as to expose them to the frailty of human life….The nervous joking, what little there was, ended as the four young visitors to the coroner’s office passed the body of a teenage suicide victim on a wheeled table in the hallway….The compulsory visits to the morgue, started three years ago (1985) by a judge in Sacramento, are evolving into a routine procedure in California, where they are being used by at least 24 judges in the state.”

Roanoke Times & World News, October 5, 1988.

     Young offenders sentenced to visit the coroner’s office, the morgue, and the autopsy room say that, although they fear a jail sentence more. They feel a deeper impact when they look at broken bodies and bleeding car accident victims.  “I wouldn’t even run a red light, much less drink and drive,” said one young man who took part in a tour of the Orange County coroner’s office.

     Joe Kaplan, president of the National Safety council of Los Angeles, says: “If you drink, don’t drive, and if you drive don’t drink.  That was the best advice 48 years ago, and it still is.” WE say from a Christian standpoint, that drinking is to be condemned regardless, for all obvious reasons.  If you do not fully agree with us on this point, we hope you will understand, at least, that drinking and driving is likely to be the costliest mistake of your lifetime.

     “Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?” 

       “They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.” 

       “Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.” 

     “At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.” 

Proverbs 23:29-32