As a First Responder in the valley, we are too often called out to motor vehicle accidents where someone has been driving under the influence. Some are worse than others; some involve only the one person, some involve multiple vehicles and many injured.
All too often someone loses their life. Someone we know is affected by every accident on our highways in one way or another.
This valley is like a small community. Though we may not know everyone, anyone we don’t know probably knows someone that we do. We have family, friends, co-workers and others we know of or are just getting to know.
We need to take more time to consider all of these connections and how they impact our lives, and the lives of those we care about.
If we drive under the influence (whether it be alcohol or drugs), or let someone else drive under the influence, we are jeopardizing our community, our family, our friends. We all use this highway day and night and it is treacherous enough with the unpredictable wildlife, mechanical failures and our unpredictable weather and road conditions.
When do we take responsibility for our own actions and say “I won’t drive, I’ve had too much?”. When do we stop someone else from driving, whether they are family, friend or stranger? What do we have to lose by taking those keys away? You can live with the fight or the hard feelings. It is harder to live with the impact if that person takes themselves out in an accident, or takes someone else with them.
Next time you are out at a party and think “I am fine to drive home”, think again. Think of your family, your friends, your community – you’re putting them all at risk.
Next time you see someone else wanting to drive home when you know they shouldn’t, don’t let them! Do whatever you need to do to stop them. Take their keys, give them a ride or let them spend the night. If all else fails, don’t be afraid to call the police.
You never know whose life you might be saving, but you can be sure that in some way, they will be connected to you. This is our community; let’s start protecting it and each other. Life is short enough as it is. Let’s stop the senseless damage done by driving under the influence. We can all make a difference.