The Source of the an Unacceptable Number of innocent Victims in The USA Is Drunk Driving
January 18, 2016
Revised February 02, 2016
If this doesn’t shock you, it should. Allow me to explain.
Starting in the 60’s when America went car crazy, 50,000 deaths and 150,000 disabled occurred. The reason appears to be the that these deadly “accidents” were caused by drunk driving and now we must add the distraction of texting and other forms of communication while driving. 50,000 lives is also the number of soldiers lost in the entire Vietnam war.
If you want supporting data for these numbers just Google “innocent deaths by drunk drivers” and you will get a dozen or so hits, that provide factual support for the numbers that I am using in this essay.
Auto safety devices (which the GOP fought against) like air bags and crumple zones, reduced the numb of fatalities to 30,000 by the 90’s.
The math: 50,000 per year in the 60’s 70’s & 80’s = 150,000
30,000 per year in the 90’s 2000 through 2009 and approx. 20,00 in 2010-2016= 80,000 for a grand (not really grand but tragic) total of 230,000.
Please don’t nit pick the numbers. Every group of responders to these tragic Motor Vehicle Accidents, has a different perception of the number of deaths caused by drunk driving, and this includes the first responders, the EMTs who transport the victims to the hospital, and the surgeons who attempt to save them,
The 30,000/year is in spite of improvement in the time between the accident and transporting the victim to the hospital, and improved techniques by the EMTs and the surgeons.
The 230,000 is more than all the victims of innocent deaths in the same time period, except the Iraq war which is estimated that 250,000 civilians were killed. Our loss of soldiers was 8,000. I chose these numbers for the sake of a discussion revealing the negligence of ourselves and our elected officials. Even if the number of deaths is off by 50%, it is still and unacceptable number.
This is even more despicable because a solution is known. The French have a tough law: DWI and you go strait to jail for 2 years. No trial, no appeals. Result: France has only a handful of fatalities. The French love their wine and at night everyone has been drinking. If they drink away from home, they take a taxi or some other alternative to driving.
So why doesn’t our government adopt these tough laws that have been proven to work? It is my speculation that lawmaking in the USA, at both the Federal and State levels is not done in the conference rooms but at cocktail “parties” where virtually everyone is drunk or has enough alcohol to make them illegal drivers. Thus if they passed tough laws like the French, they would be some of the first violators that are swiftly
caught and punished by the laws they pass.
The Party in power is opposed to any government action (as they have drifted so far to the right), especially laws that protect people. Lincoln the man who defined Conservative politics in this country, said: “The purpose of government it to do for the people what they cannot do for themselves.” What is best for the people is not even a source of discussion.
The damage to our bodies is not limited to Motor Vehicle Accidents. As we drive on these freeways at high speed, death is only a couple of seconds away. This stress causes physiological stress as we are in a “fight or flight” mode. These stressors from driving, is one more cause of mental illness, especially depression and anxiety. High blood pressure is also caused by these cumulative stressors. When people from small towns visit our cities, they avoid the freeways as their common sense tells them that the danger far out weighs the speed of getting to places. Those of us that commute regularly become numb to the stress of freeway driving.
Shame on us for not pressuring our lawmakers to pass tough laws like the French. Our Governments, both Federal and State, (especially Texas), have stated policies that are against “more government”
So “My Fellow Americans” (as LBJ used to say) let’s turn of the TV’s, video games and other distractions and get this job done. 30,000 innocent lives per year depend on taking this action.
The fact that we have already lost approximately 230,000 lives, is shameful.
But we can do better. There seems to be a shift in the effectiveness of the 99% protesting efforts. There have been several victories, like forcing Shell oil to abandon a plan to develop drilling and pipe lines in the Alaskan wilderness.
Morris Creedon-McVean, DO
A gentleman and a scholar