Driving? Two Drunk Heads Are Not Better Than One.

two-drunk-drivers-one-carEvery day about 3200 Americans get charged with drunk driving. Police will often arrest more than one person for DUI during their shift.

They don’t often arrest two drunk drivers driving the same car, however.

That’s what happened in Salem, Massachusetts not long ago. Let’s break down how a police officer ended up handing out two DUIs for one car:

  • Driver 1: According to a 911 call, a man named Erik Leibowitz was driving on a sidewalk in Salem. He hit a sign outside a pub and at some point flattened a tire. Leibowitz then turned the corner onto New Derby Street and change places with Driver 2.
  • Driver 2. Juan Rodriguez took over the wheel, and proceed to take off on Derby Street and collide with a parked car.  A police cruiser approached. Rodriguez put the car into reverse and backed into the police cruiser. Both drivers were arrested.

The question remains: what were they thinking? Police are aware of the standard switcheroo, by which a drunk driver, seeing police approaching, tries to switch with a more sober driver to avoid an arrest. But here there were two drunk drivers, each making the decision to take the wheel, one after witnessing the other’s major fail.

two-drunk-drivers-switcherooThe case highlights what makes alcohol so troublesome when there are car keys in your pocket: drinking doesn’t just diminish your driving abilitiy – it also diminishes your ability to tell that your driving ability is diminished. That calm, relaxed, easygoing feeling you have after a Mojito might make you think you’re okay to drive. The same confidence the booze gives you to say hello to the good-looking stranger two bar stools down might also give you the confidence to take to the road when you should be calling a taxi.

And as we see here, two drunken brains do not even contain enough judgement for one sensible decision. Which would have been to find another way home.