#Article (Archive)

RECKLESS MOTORING - speeding & driving under the influence (DUI)

Dec 24, 2010, 2:27 PM

The Xmas festivities are upon us again and we are all in the celebratory mood, and why shouldn’t we be? Individuals are busy with shopping, decorating, planning gatherings, Carol singing and basking in the glory of such a momentous occasion. The little ones are looking forward to what their parents will get them or if Santa will finally show up this year? This time only comes around once in a whole year and we should make the best of it when we can and derive the most enthusiasm and fun out of it as is humanly possible. I know I will! But as with absolutely everything, responsibilities are attached and consequences when they are ignored or terms breached.

One of such responsibilities is safety, not just personal but social/environmental safety, with particular reference to speeding and the fatality of getting behind the wheel when one is under the influence and in an alcoholic stupor. Over the years, particularly around such times, when positive emotions are on the high (national festivals including Xmas, Tobaski, Koriteh, etc), the number of accidents that occur are alarmingly frequent and gut wrenchingly high and tragic, compared to any other time in the social calendar. Why is this the case? Is it euphoria or blatant disregard for safety rules and laws governing travelling? Or is it something much more complicated and difficult to decipher?

Below are the consequences of such offences which should be avoided at all cost. To begin with, let us set the merry making scene. A lot of people’s idea of celebrating and making merry is going out to a nice location, being a restaurant, a picnic, a nightclub or to a gathering organized at a friend or family member’s venue. All normal behaviour really, especially with the younger and less emotionally intense generation. All laughs and fun until someone does something totally irresponsible like gets behind the wheel of a vehicle with total disregard for human life or when they are on a high, either from too much partying or intoxicated due to alcohol intake or substance abuse. Or in other cases, an individual exceeding the speed limit just for the safe of a thrill. Really?!

Speeding can be defined as the offence of driving a vehicle at a speed above the designated speed limit, where the vehicle or means of transportation is moving faster than the rate recommended by the law of that nation, province or geographical area.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is defined as the act of operating any motorized machinery after consuming alcohol or other drugs. DUI or DWI are synonymous terms that represent the criminal offence of operating (or in some jurisdictions merely being in physical control of) a motor vehicle while being under the influence of alcohol or drugs or a combination of both. It is a criminal offence in most countries. Both of these two offences can result in casualties such as:

Death- A or multiple precious lives being risked in collusion or a hit and run incident and the loved ones are left shocked and grieving at the senseless loss

Injuries- A or multiple victims incurring minor or major injuries or complications leading to hospitalization or in worst case scenarios, loss of or the maiming of a body part, often times requiring surgery and delicate care over a stretch of time.

Emotional Trauma- A lot of people escape accidents such as the above with minimal afflictions or recover after care but the emotional trauma of the incident stays with them for a very long time, sometimes indefinitely without the right care. The scars of such tragic incidents are long lasting or permanent in extreme cases.

Property Damage- With accidents, it is inevitable that some form of property will be damaged in one way or another whether it being the vehicle itself, public properties like electricity poles, public trash cans, buildings etc, etc. This is socially irresponsible and quite unpatriotic.

In many countries, driver caught speeding are subjected to a Field Sobriety Test (such as a walking a straight line heel-to-toe or standing on one leg for 30 seconds; and the arresting officer’s subjective opinion of impairment) or a Blood Alcohol Level test and if found wanting, booked for an offence and charges filed against them by the state for the endangerment of lives and potential destruction of property.

The great questions? Why the great hurry on the road? (Drivers both public and private) Isn’t it better to be late and alive and well than to not arrive at the destination at all? Is whatever merriment or euphoria obtained from being intoxicated worth the taking of a life or the maiming of another human being? Should the Tax payer’s money go in vain with the destruction of public property because one chooses to think of no one but self, and sometimes not even that?

The fore-discussed come with penalties ranging from fines to being sentenced and incarcerated. Why risk it. It’s real simple. Do not exceed the speed limit under any circumstances or get behind the wheel after consuming anything toxic. Think about it, the life you save may very well be your own. Never, ever speed for the sake of a cheap thrill!

Merry Christmas valued readers and an amazing and blessed New Year to look forward to, so keep yourselves and each other safe. We have too much to live for and more merry making times to anticipate. Stay sober, cautious and SAFE!