As You Toast To The Holiday Season, Don’t Forget To Designate A Driver

As You Toast To The Holiday Season

As You Toast To The Holiday Season, Don’t Forget To Designate A Driver

Today I had to take my car to the dealer for an 80,000 mile service.  I was given a voucher for a complimentary rental car.  I gave the gentleman behind the desk my license and credit card as requested.  He offered me their “$15 Walk Away Insurance” in the event anything should happen to the vehicle while I am driving it.  I, of course, agreed right away.

I walked away thinking how interesting it is that we worry more about protecting things than we do people. When was the last time you designated a sober driver when you knew your evening would include cocktails?  We never plan on drinking to exceed the legal limit.  It only takes that one extra glass to make it unsafe for us to drive.  Shouldn’t we have the same kind of “Walk Away Insurance” in place for drinking and driving?

According to MADD, Mother’s Against Drunk Drivers, someone is killed in a drunk driving crash every 52 minutes, on average.

Unfortunately, drunk driving accidents are much more prevalent during the holiday season.

These statistics should make it a “no brainer” – if you are going to drink, DO NOT DRIVE!

You may be reading this thinking, “Where does she get off preaching to me?”, “Who does she think she is?”. Well, this isn’t just what I think, it’s something I know. I made the poor decision to drink and drive in the summer of 2006. My friend had driven my car and turned my automatic headlights to the off position. The fact that the police officer noticed this before I did should tell you that I did not belong behind the wheel. I thank God that I was stopped before I became one of the statistics.

The holidays are a stressful enough time. Believe me, you do not want to add jail time to your social calendar! You will be kicking yourself for years to come.
Designating a driver will prevent you from experiencing some of what I describe below.

Expense – Presents under the tree will be the least of your concerns if you are arrested for driving under the influence.  Right off the bat you get to pay hundreds of dollars to retrieve your car from impound.  This is nothing compared to the thousands you will pay for an attorney and the resulting fines.  While expensive, an attorney is crucial during this time.

Embarrassment – This starts the minute they place the handcuffs on and place you in the back of the police car. It continues while you spend whatever time you have to in jail.  From there it goes to the courtroom where you have to stand and plead guilty to your offense. Then you get to re-live it for several weeks while you attend mandatory classes and meetings. To this day there are people I have never told of this experience because I am so humiliated.

Driving Restrictions – I’m not just talking about the initial suspension of your license.  This offense stays on your DMV record for ten years.  I will not be able to drive any of our company vehicles or even my own during work hours until 2016.

Loss of Friendships – My poor judgement cost me a twelve-year friendship.  My friend was disgusted I would use such poor judgement. Considering the outcome could have been much more grim, I can’t say that I blame her.

As bad as my experience was for me, I consider myself very lucky. I was not involved in an accident. My lesson was an expensive one, however, it is easier knowing I did not hurt or kill anybody. I do not know how I would have recovered from that.

Have you personally been affected by a drunk driver?

Describe a time when you should not have gotten behind the wheel after drinking?

Molly Keating
Molly Keating
Molly grew up in and around funeral homes her entire life. In 2009 she began working for O'Connor Mortuary and found a bridge between her passion for writing and her interest in grief and bereavement. In 2016 she earned Certification in the field of Thanatology, the study of Death, Dying and Bereavement. She is honored to be able to write about these taboo topics with knowledge, compassion, and a unique perspective.

21 Comments

  1. Hi Lori –

    This is a great learning lesson for all. I am proud of you for sharing your experience, most people would be shy or not willing to tell the truth about their past. We all make mistakes, it is what we learn or what we do after we make the mistake that matters. We all can learn from each other, I am thankful that you are bold enough to help others learn from you. Great job on sharing!

    • Lori says:

      Neil,

      Shy I am not, especially if my mistakes can help others learn. I’m not certain what inspires me to share so much of myself here, but happy that you appreciate it. I think we can all take away something from the life experiences of others.

      Thank you,
      Lori

  2. Shayna Mallik says:

    Lori,
    Wow so brave to tell your story. We all can learn so much from you. Thank you for sharing!!!!! Having a DD when you are out and enjoying some cocktails is important, and you are right a lot of people do not think of this. I am the DD every time I go out where cocktails will be involved. I volunteer because I know I can trust myself to not have a drink if I am driving, and I know some of my friends will think they can drink and be okay. I do not take that chance and volunteer all the time. Thank you for sharing you story.

    Love ya

    Shayna

    • Lori says:

      Little Miss,

      You are so much more mature than I was at your age. I was old enough to know better when I got my DUI. When I was your age, I truly thought I was invincible.
      Thank you for calling me brave. You are so sweet. I made a bad decision that I want others to think about before drinking and driving during the holiday season and always. I am not so much brave as I want others to learn from my mistake.

      Love ya right back!
      Lori

  3. kari Leslie says:

    Lori,
    I am so proud of you for writing this blog. I can say I know a few people who have been through the same experience, and would NEVER share it in a public forum. You are teaching, encouraging, and saving lives!!

    Good job!!
    kari

    • Lori says:

      Kari,

      Thank you so much! When it first happened I didn’t want anyone to know. I never imagined I would be sharing it publicly. If sharing my experience makes one person think before getting behind the wheel this year or ever, then it was totally worth it!

      I so appreciate you and your words of encouragement!!
      Lori

  4. Patricia Kolstad says:

    Nicely done, Lori
    It takes enormous courage to admit to others in a public forum, “life’s lessons”. You have done this with grace and determination to help others.

    I believe in my heart, that the things that happen to us, whether you believe or not, are providential. We are put in situations, good or bad, to prepare us. Some situations are wonderful, and some are not so wonderful. Hopefully they are there to help us become better human beings. Some learn right away the “lesson”. Others could care less.

    Thank you for reaching out with your story. It matters that we always speak the truth – and you have done it beautifully.

    Lovingly,
    MP

    • Lori says:

      MP,

      I agree that everything happens to us for a reason. We can either wallow in guilt, shame or sadness for some of the bad experiences we have been through or we can learn from it.
      When I was in my thirties, I was more likely to wallow in bad feelings.
      Now that I am half way through my forties, I am more introspective. I would like to think the bad things that have happened in my life have not been in vain. They are teaching opportunities for me to share with others. I never mind being honest if others are willing to hear, embrace and learn from it.

      Love you so much!
      Lori

  5. GREG FORSTER says:

    Lori,

    Your subject matter is most poignant. It made me remember, and sometimes, well, I don’t want to remember. I don’t want to talk about life chapters that have passed…but have never truly passed. I tried to write this several times but kept pulling back. I tried to write the “short” version, but there is no “short” version. It is just too private. But suffice it to say that I have to admit that I have experienced both sides of this life situation at, thankfully, just a few times of my life, but they were hard ones.
    Let us all remember that if one does damage to another, we should know that that damage may well last throughout another’s lifetime. Just because another “lives” doesn’t mean that that “Life” remains the same. One a victim, one a perpetrator, all are affected. Why? for drugs, for alcohol? …Why?
    Responsibility….responsibility…yes, responsibility…so quick to come for some…so elusive for others…

    • Lori says:

      Greg,

      Thank you for taking the difficult step to reply to this post that has struck a nerve with you. Some life chapters are very difficult to revisit. It is easier to leave them packed away in boxes collecting dust.
      Sometimes, at least for me, we get to the point in our lives where we need to start unpacking some old memories to move on to the next phase of life. I guess I am getting to that stage.
      I am very sorry this is a hard topic for you. Maybe one day we can chat and you can share in a less public way.

      I appreciate you and your comments Greg!
      Lori

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