Guess What? Zero Drunk Driving Accidents This Year!
If this announcement appears to conflict with other information you’ve read – such as NHTSA statistics that show that 10,000 or so deaths were caused by impaired driving on US roads – then perhaps we need to clarify.
Those road deaths weren’t accidents.
For some years now there has been a movement to stop calling drunk driving crashes “accidents.” An accident is a chance occurrence over which one has no control. Driving drunk, on the other hand, is a decision – a reckless one. It follows that the consequences from the decision to drive drunk are far from accidental.
About ten thousand people die each year as a result of the decision to drink and drive. Many times that number are were injured, some of them very seriously and for life – all because someone thought that his or her need to drive while drunk was more important than others’ need to remain safe from harm.
Many newspapers and media outlets have stopped calling crashes of all types “accidents.” In April the Associated Press Stylebook tweeted that writers should avoid the word, which implies that a driver is not to blame. If a driver who drinks, knowing full well what alcohol does to his or her driving ability, is not to blame for the resulting collision, then who is?
There’s still a long way to go from zero accidents to zero tolerance to – finally – zero victims. But recognizing that there’s nothing accidental about a drunk driving collision is a start. Drunk driving is always a choice – the wrong one – and there is always an alternative that can get you where you’re going. You can designate a driver. You can take a taxi, public transportation, or rideshare service. And if you see a friend who is about to drink and drive, you can do what it takes to keep him or her from making that decision.
Because whatever happens afterwards will be no accident.