If, as the science says, texting while driving a car is as dangerous – or even more dangerous than drinking and driving – then shouldn’t texting be subject to the same harsh punishments as our society imposes today on drunk driving?
My opinion: Yes. It should.
Texting and driving today reminds me of how our society used to view drinking and driving. This was before MADD and before society became increasingly intolerant of the toll in ruined lives from drinking and driving. Punishments were once light, jail time was rare, and there was not the social stigma that there clearly is today for people who drink and drive.
December is a time of celebrating family tradition and holiday parties, most of which are centered around lots of food and drink. Sometimes too much drink. Not to spoil the fun, but as an injury attorney who helps people in car accidents – many caused by drunk driving – we all could use another reminder about the real costs of drinking and driivng during the holidays.
It’s important to remind ourselves during this holiday season of the slogan from National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, that you must drive sober… or you will get pulled over.
This is not to be a holiday killjoy. Rather, it is because nearly 11,000 people die on the road every year due to drunk driving. In order to hopefully save lives, law enforcement in Michigan will be cracking down on drunk driving over the holidays.
I’ve been writing about the latest Michigan drunk driving statistics. I’ve been focusing on this topic because drunk driving fatalities occur the most during Michigan summers, especially in the month of July.
These statistics come from a list of drunk driving car accidents and fatalities by county in Michigan for 2009, provided by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning. The list ranks Michigan counties by population and number of drunken driving auto accidents and fatalities per capita.
The real tragedy behind drunk driving deaths is that they are always preventable. Now there are new laws in Michigan targeting “drunker” drivers. But even twice the punishment and fines are not enough to deter people from drinking and driving. The accident attorneys at my law firm still help far too many people who have been injured or who have lost loved ones in car accident death cases caused by drunk driving.
University of Michigan fans, including myself, were disappointed this month when star wide receiver Darryl Stonum was arrested for his second citation for driving under the influence of alcohol. Stonum’s first DUI arrest was much earlier in his Wolverine career, in September of 2008. But the receiver violated the terms of his probation multiple times by missing court dates, and landed back in jail on May 6 after a second arrest.
As a Michigan auto accident attorney, I’ve seen first-hand the devastating, tragic consequences of how drunk driving can shatter lives. And I believe we should be doing whatever it takes to deter drivers, especially teenage drivers, from drinking and driving.
That’s why I think the high school program to deter drunk driving featured on the Today Show is worth sharing.
With the new Michigan law that targets drunker drivers, there has been a lot of discussion from our personal injury attorneys about the importance of safe and sober driving – especially around the holidays.
We’ve received a comment from one of our readers, Shelley, regarding drunk driving and a very tragic accident. Take a look:
“Obliterated driving” has become its own crime in Michigan, as new laws are targeting extremely intoxicated motorists in efforts to prevent car accidents and save lives. Michigan’s Driving with a High Bodily Alcohol Content law includes stronger penalties for drivers with a blood-alcohol content of .17 or higher – the equivalent of 10 beers in two hours.
Lawmakers are saying this new law targets problem drinkers and repeat offenders. As an auto accident attorney who has handled far too many preventable car accident lawsuits caused by drunk driving, I think such a law is imperative.
The night before Thanksgiving is the “biggest bar night of the year” in Michigan. Take a look at most bars and restaurants, and you’ll see them packed with people seeing old friends (which is great), and starting their holiday with lots of alcohol (not so great).
Look, I’m not trying to ruin your fun, but please drink responsibly. For the past 16 years, I’ve seen, as an auto accident attorney, the life-altering consequences that arise from the Wednesday through Saturday of Thanksgiving. There will sadly be catastrophic car accidents at the hands of drunk drivers, and people will be senselessly injured and killed in dozens of completely avoidable crashes, due to poor judgment and alcohol.