DUI Public Menace Crashes Into Public Building

Dracut Police Department

A 4,500-lb piece of metal careening out of control falls pretty easily under the classification “public menace.” And if it were, say, a wrecking ball that had gotten loose, we’d be pretty concerned. We’d ask how it happened, and how it could be prevented.

But a Dodge Ram 1500 weights that much – or more – and it was out of control recently in the Massachusetts town of Dracut, thanks to a driver who appears to have been impaired by alcohol.

The driver slammed into the wall of the Dracut Department of Public Works, an unsuspecting agency whose bailiwick includes street sweeping, road salting, and the managing of storm water. The damage to the building was significant, indicating that the truck was going pretty fast.

The crash happened at 4pm on a Saturday, a time at which people might well be on the streets. Fortunately, no one was hurt. But take a look at the damage, and imagine human bodies in place of that brickwork and drywall.

Not all drunk driver crashes end this way, with a photo of a damaged wall, some head-scratching, and a call to the insurance people. About 10,000 people die on the nation’s roads each year because someone made the choice to drink and drive. Somewhere there are figures on how much property is damaged, but that’s not really why we keep track of drunk driving in this country.

People are what matter. The reason 30 states – though not Massachusetts – now mandate ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenses is that vehicle are extremely dangerous when not controlled properly. And alcohol is still the most dangerous way to turn a 4,500 pound transportation device into a machine for destroying lives.

Massachusetts needs to pass an all-offender ignition interlock law. If you’re from that state, be part of the solution and help put the state on the right track by ensuring that all drunk drivers, including first offenders, can use an ignition interlock in lieu of an ineffective license suspension.

Drunk driver crashes don’t only harm public buildings – they injure and kill plenty of private citizens too. Let your lawmaker know you want to keep drunk drivers away from both.