Drunk Drivers

I don't know if I'm noticing them more, but there seem to be more incidents of death by drunk drivers lately. A music teacher had an accident and was thrown from his car. Two drivers stopped their cars on the highway to protect the man as he lay on the highway. A van driven by a drunk driver hit their two cars and ran over the music teacher and dragged him.

The woman might not have been able to stop in time even if she hadn't been drinking. We'll never know. Her blood-alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit.

We don't know of her history yet. In the last case to make the papers, the drunk driver had been arrested more than ten times in the past before killing someone. There was a history of leniency by the judges in the past. What could have kept this driver from getting behind the wheel drunk?

We've been told that there are two things that make Elena's death particularly hard for us: that she was a child and that is was sudden. I've wondered whether it would be easier or harder if there was someone to blame. What if it was someone's fault? What if there was a logical explanation for it?

If you have had the pleasure of the company of a young person going through the "why" stage of life, you'll know that this wouldn't be enough. The child asks "daddy, why does . . . ?" You answer.

But somehow this isn't enough and they continue "but, why?"

You either give a more complete answer or you lose patience and end the conversation.  In turn, a more complete answer is met with yet another question or the child loses interest in this game. And so it goes.

I think this would be the case if Elena was hit by a drunk driver. Although that would answer some of the whys there would be a whole new set. Why was this person on our street at that particular time? Why did we allow Elena to play in the front yard today? Why did we allow her to go on a bike ride or to ride with us to the grocery store or whatever else we were doing when she was hit.

Of course, she didn't die this way so we have a whole different set of "whys" to deal with. So far the answers, no matter how intellectually convincing, have not been enough.

Published in: on April 3, 2006 at 9:59 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. Drunk drivers are a serious problem in this country, and one that hasn’t been dealt with very well. One statistic says that by the time a drunk driver is arrested for the first time, they have driven drunk 20 times before getting caught. I’ve got a post about this on my blog, http://adriftatsea.com .

    Of course, my opinion may be a bit biased, having lost my identical twin 19 years ago to a drunk driver.

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