Speeding Drunk Driver Could Have Outrun a Private Plane

speeding-drunk-driver-could-outrun-planeSome of the most disturbing drunk driving incidents we read about are the ones that didn’t end in disaster but could have. They’re disturbing because the outcome avoided would have been terrifying beyond measure.

Case in point: a speeding drunk driver was recently arrested in Georgia after a chase that reached speeds of 155 mph.

Chances are very good your car doesn’t go anywhere near 155mph. In fact, small planes like a Cessna 150 can’t exceed 120mph.

At 150 mph, if you take your eyes off the road for one second, you’ve gone 220 feet blind. Two seconds and you’ve traversed well over a football field without looking where you’re going. Four seconds – and it’s easy to imagine a drunk’s attention wandering for four seconds – and you’ve covered a city block without any idea of who or what is in your path.

The driver, Dwayne Pope, said he didn’t see the blue lights or hear the sirens, which is plausible and frightening.  The reason alcohol is so lethal on the road is that it inhibits all the senses – that means worse hearing and worse sight – as well as coordination and judgement.

The speed attained here dramatizes how oblivious a drunk driver can be to his own safety, and the safety of others. It’s for that reason that we need technology to keep drunk drivers from reoffending. Specifically we need ignition interlocks, which prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking. At a certain point – and 155 mph is well beyond that point – a person’s judgement can’t be trusted. Then it’s up to us.