The Annual Anti-DUI Show
Six years ago I was asked to do a show where the CHP and local police could show the effects of a show host getting inebriated and talk about the consequences and dangers of DUI. Yes, it is one of the oldest and most done radio bits, but for me it has always had a bit of a personal side to it. I live in perpetual fear of being hit by a drunk driver, and while that fear used to be somewhat mild, in the last three years it has produced in me an anger that is all but unmatched – simply at the idea that my life could be changed by someone who knew better, who knew the law, and who then chose to drive under the influence anyway.
It happens too many times and with too casual treatment in my mind. I have said, and I will continue to say that Driving under the influence is, by definition, attempted murder. There is NO ONE who does not know, fully and completely, the potential consequences of the act.
Once upon a time, I decided to go skydiving. I was young and thought I was invincible, and to that point in my life I had only suffered the first of my many knee injuries, so I forked out the $75 and joined fourteen of my shipmates on the trip. Yes, it was fun and interesting and I never did it again. As the ground class started, the instructor defined “Negligence” as “a failure to use due caution.” He then explained to us that jumping out of an airplane is inherently dangerous, and a failure to use due caution. Hence, if we were to die, we could not sue him since it was our choice to fail to use due caution.
I made it far enough in my law studies to know that defense probably wouldn’t hold up in court, but the lesson was important. For fifteen US Navy Submariners it carried an even deeper meaning to us in our daily work and activities aboard ship. Doing something stupid, without a reasonable cause, could very well end up killing somebody. And in our line of work, the likelihood was that if one of us died, we probably all were going to die.
And so I look at drinking and driving in the same way – it is a failure to use due caution. Is it really so hard to make arrangements for a driver? Is it really so hard to call a cab? Oddly enough, I rarely (okay, never) drank while I was in the Navy. I was always the Designated Driver, and while there were times when pouring my roommate down the Missile Compartment hatch two hours before reveille was annoying, the truth is that I would rather have been annoyed than go a funeral. To this day, I really hate funerals, and I will go to almost any length to avoid going to one.
At any rate, when I did that first Anti-DUI show it was just me and Doug, Tom and Rex from Behind the Badge. I think that I blew a 0.06 and I was asleep the whole way home in the front seat of a CHP cruiser. Which, by the by, really kind of had my neighbors chattering when we pulled up to the apartment. Now the show is something of a tradition, and once again we will be joined by the Behind the Badge crew and crack MPD DUI Officers to remind you – in a fun and entertaining way – that drinking and driving is possibly the worst decision you might ever make.
Last year I finally broke the .08 level, going all the way to a .10. It wasn’t fun, and have no idea why anybody would chose to get that drunk on purpose. I was sick for hours, and frankly, I never wanted to have hard apple cider again. I have only been that drunk twice in my life, and the other time wasn’t very pleasant either.
Bt what surprised me is that while my mind works just as it always does, my coordination and ability to control my motor functions practically shuts own around that .045 to .06 level. I’m pretty big guy, and I like tequila and pertsovka, so I am not exactly a lightweight, but it always surprises me how much I have to concentrate to push a button after an hour or so. If I screw up, something plays that isn’t supposed to play. If a driver screws up, how much chance is there of it not really mattering?
We do this every year to show that effect – and yes, we have fun and we hope that you do too. But it’s like skydiving. Sure, it’s fun and dangerous. But there are life lessons in it. If John and I can’t really run a radio show at .05, what makes anybody think that they are the safest of drivers at that level?
You’re not. It’s that simple, and here’s the thing: you already know that.
So if you do it anyway, you are failing to use due caution, and by definition you are being negligent. And stupid. And because of your negligence, my life, my families lives and my listeners lives are at risk.
Please, don’t drink and drive.
I really hate funerals.