Happy New Year.
I was hoping to start the new year with some great positive, uplifting information. I honestly tried. I woke this morning feeling great, looking at a sunny sky, and feeling like Ralphie after he discovered his Red Ryder 200 shot Carbine was really a Christmas present after all.
Unfortunately, that all went south after finding out that a 21 year old pregnant female was killed by a suspected 30 year old drunk driver, as she sat in a friends' vehicle that was awaiting roadside assistance on the freeway. The unborn child was also killed and two other occupants, as well as the drunk driver, were taken to a local hospital with major injuries. The suspected drunk driver was arrested for felony DUI.
In our county, this is the third fatality in less than 12 hours, at least two of which are attributable to drunk driving. More injuries can be attributed to drunk and impaired driving as well. Even with DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols, the carnage continues.
Worse, the numbers continue to climb. Are there more DUI arrests because there are more people being caught? Or because there are more people driving under the influence? The television stations report more drivers are using their cell phones to turn in drivers who appear impaired. If the numbers are climbing because of vigilance and closer scrutiny by the law enforcement authorities and the public, it's a good thing. If it's because more people are driving under the influence, it's not.
At one time I was appalled to hear that 41% of all people on the road were impaired by some substance, legal, illegal or otherwise. That's a huge figure. Look at it this way...if you're sitting in your vehicle, there's a huge potential that the person next to you, and either the one ahead or behind you, is impaired. Two out of the four vehicles surrounding you! Whew...that's one helluva number! That's plain scary at freeway speeds!
Bottom line is that if you drink, or otherwise are impaired, please don't drive. Take a cab, bus, or have a sober designated driver. That young pregnant mother-to-be didn't deserve to die on a cold, dark freeway this morning. She didn't do anything wrong; she was an innocent victim who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. That's the tragedy of most of the victims of drunk drivers. They happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or get in the vehicle with the wrong driver without thinking, as they themselves are impaired.
I wish you a safe and healthy New Year filled with love and peace.