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?
I am trying to catch up on some of the blogs I have missed and this one is particularly timely. A family member of mine went to their court hearing today to get the verdict of what the penalties would be for a very similar experience. It has been and will be, a formative experience for them as it was for you. What good is life without formative moments? Events that lead us to change our minds and go a different direction. I have had them, different from yours but similar in severity and effect.
Thank you for sharing this. Having been in funeral service since 1985 I have seen my share of the results of accidents involving differing kinds of driving while impaired. It is always a tragedy as are many circumstances not related to driving under the influence.
I am thankful for you and for my family member that the outcome is what is was and that we have opportunity to learn and teach.
Bless you for sharing! I made some stupid decisions when I was younger, thankfully I never caused an accident, hurting anyone else or myself. Do designate a driver!
Thank you for sharing! We all make stupid decisions, no matter what our age may be. I thought it was a good time of year to remind everyone of this expensive lesson.
Everyone will be attending holiday parties and as you stated “Do designate a driver!”.
I love the bravery & truth in this post. I think the number of people effected by this is much larger than any of us think. I think your courage to open up about your experience will open the doors for other people to share with you about the pain of their experiences. The grace you now have the opportunity to extend is so wonderful, and only possible because of the grace you have received.
I’m inspired by you, happy to be your friend, and very proud of you for sharing this tough, tough lesson.
Thank you Lori!
Thank you so much for your kind words.
Now that I am over six years out from this experience, it is much easier to share. It is certainly not something I am proud of. I want people to know that it truly can happen to anyone. It just takes a minute to make the wrong decision.
I too am inspired by you, thrilled to be your friend and proud of you for the awesome job you are doing!!
Lori, thank you so much for sharing your story. You are a truly thoughtful person to try & save others from living what you have & it took alot of guts for you to share this. You are saving lives by baring your soul- thank you! XOXOX Carrie
You know me. I’m an open book. Some things I share are useless and I like to hope others are learning opportunities for others. I am so glad you thought this bit of my history is useful.
Knowing you now, I just had such a hard time believing it when you told me you would be writing this timely blog from personal experience. No one just knowing you and interacting with you on a daily basis would dream it could/would have happened to you! In fact, if you recall when you first told me, I just burst out laughing.
Actually there is nothing funny about it. It ruins lives, pocketbooks, and trust and can happen so innocently. Thank you for your courage to share. You are a dear.
I loved your reaction when I told you! It shows me that the work I have done on myself has had a positive result.
It can happen to anyone. Many of us can recall times we drove when we should not have. It can seem so innocent to bend the rules and the outcome can be so horrific. Everyone should be more mindful before jumping behind the wheel.