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...I've done a lot of stupid stuff and gotten away with it. I was lucky. A writer friend of mine sent me this:

An interesting perspective written by my late Dad, a police chief and a recovered alcoholic. It was published in the Providence Sunday Journal, December 28, 1980.

Should I tell the truth?

Monday, 8a.m., and I’m sitting at my desk at the police station waiting for the report to be completed so that I can, again, review all of the details of a fatal traffic accident. It has to be exact and accurate. So many agencies will need it to compile their statistics.

I don’t need it. I was at the scene. I know what happened and I know why it happened, but I can’t stop it. Lately, I can’t even deter it. This one is number 11 for my town this year. To me, it’s not a statistic. It’s 11 human beings, from little children to middle-aged adults, whose lives were snuffed out because someone was careless, someone didn’t drive according to the law, but in most cases because someone impaired his or her mental and physical capabilities with alcohol.

Every Sunday at Mass I hear most of the names of the deceased and, for a second or two, their accident scenes flick into my mind and I see them as I wish everyone could see them – all torn, battered and bloody and, many times, lying amidst empty beer cans and broken whiskey bottles, some remains actually in pieces as a result of the impact.

Sometimes family members come to the scene. They react with everything from disbelief, anguish and tears, to raging anger at everyone around them. Many have to be restrained. They ask questions, but I don’t give answers.
“Why did it happen?” Should I tell the truth? Too many times the truth would be: “Your kid was drunk and lost control.” “Your kid and her boyfriend got drunk at a party.” Why make the anguish worse? They’ll find out soon enough if they want to. I give them stock answers. “Still under investigation.” Or, “It takes time.”

I can always tell later when they know the truth. The inquires suddenly will stop. They finally find out that their wonderful, intelligent youngster, who they were absolutely sure didn’t drink, has been getting smashed at parties since he or she was 14. It’s quite a shock, and best forgotten. Better to remember them as they were at home.

Only the cop on the beat really knows the Jekyll-and-Hyde syndrome caused by alcohol. A parent just couldn’t accept it. In the cases involving parents who have lost their kids, there is no point in trying to tell them what really happened. In the cases of parents whose kids are still out there drinking, raising hell and swearing at the cops, they wouldn’t believe it if I did tell them. In most cases they are model children at home. There is no way their parents can believe me if I tell them what’s happening on the streets. When they see other kids drunk and acting up, they thank God that their kids are above such goings-on.

On many occasions, my officers have called parents to the station to pick up their drunken kids and the parents have reacted with anger at the police. We hear outbursts of “My son (or daughter) doesn’t drink!” “What are you (expletive deleted) lousy cops trying to pull?” “I’ll sue!”

Once in a while when they get a look at their kids covered with vomit and urine, they will apologize. Most of the time, they are too shocked and ashamed to say anything. All they want is to get the kid home. The next day, the kids will concoct some story about how it happened, how it was someone else’s fault, and the parents will believe it. Why shouldn’t they? They’ve never seen or even envisioned their kid in the condition he or she was in. Most of all, they want to believe it. They love their child and they are certain it won’t happen again. They put the ugly scene out of their minds.

I can’t put it out of my mind. I’ve seen it over and over again for the last 30 years and it isn’t going to stop. I’ve tried a lot of things to abate it, but with little success.

Last year, with a lot of support from State Senator Walter J. Mruk for my town, I submitted legislation to curtail open containers of alcoholic beverages in motor vehicles. It would have been an excellent tool to control drinking by adults and teenagers in cars. It didn’t pass. I’ll submit it again this year.
I used to assign heavy traffic patrols as a deterrent. I can no longer do this. My town can’t afford it.

Once in California I tried to go to the high schools and show photographs of gory accident scenes. I was told the photographs might have a bad effect on the kids.

My men and I feel for the victims and their families, even though we can’t outwardly show it. We get mad at the senseless slaughter, but that’s not enough. Until the people get mad, it’s going to continue. Maybe when we have enough victims, the people of this land will return to the police the authority and tools we need to protect them. In the meantime, we’ll do the best we can.
 

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23 years since that was written and the slaughter continues and increases. Even though open alcohol has always been illegal in my province and the accecptance of drunken driving decreases, the road death toll rises. Drivers distracted by all the new electronic toys far outnumbers all the drinking drivers I am sure.
If there was a disease that killed and maimed as many people as traffic accidents do, the public outcry would be enormous. Of course there are diseases like that and we seem to take them in our stride as well. With a problem so big how do you attempt to fix it?

Regards....justjeff
 

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23 years since that was written and the slaughter continues and increases. Even though open alcohol has always been illegal in my province and the accecptance of drunken driving decreases, the road death toll rises. Drivers distracted by all the new electronic toys far outnumbers all the drinking drivers I am sure.
If there was a disease that killed and maimed as many people as traffic accidents do, the public outcry would be enormous. Of course there are diseases like that and we seem to take them in our stride as well. With a problem so big how do you attempt to fix it?

Regards....justjeff
I have no idea. And you're right. People still drink and drive, but now they also text going 75 on the freeway. They don't learn until they hurt someone or get hurt. Scares me.
 

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It is a huge problem and the answers are not easy when trying to establish laws without compromising our freedoms. We have to understand a 16 yr. old mind. They simply don't understand the risk vs consequence. It can't happen to me thing! It is a parental challenge that mostly goes unheeded when they are faced with peer pressure and other weaknesses.
Here they have changed the law to restrict the numbers of teens in a car. The jury is still out on that, but we all know what happens when a teen driver gets behind the wheel with a car load of other teens. Add drinking to that and you have recipe for disaster. Having said all that, it is no consolation to a victims family and friends. In the end, be it providence or luck, we just have to do what we can to teach by word and example to ensure the best outcome.
The repeat adult offenders are another problem that I can't wrap my mind around. I have much less sympathy even if alcoholism is involved.
 

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Thanx Lockjaw that is a good read.

My .02... DUI penalities need to be much more extreme. 1st offence should result in jail time. 2nd offence should put you away for at least a year. 3rd offence 20+ years. No plea bargins either.

Kids driving DUI? Got to scare the crap out of them so that behaivior stops. Serious communtiy service, no license until 21, maybe an ankle monitor type GPS thing that reports their every movement with a tracking page linked to their Facebook, hah!
 

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as there is nothing we here can do about it i will throw this out there. i personally drive every vehicle i get in like everyone around me is a drunk texting teenager, i don't drive scared but extremely cautious and i hope everyone else does too. to date i have no dui's nor have i been in any accidents.
 

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I think part of the problem is insulation. When I was 16 I was driving a van with six of my friends. It was raining. I hit a chunk of wood in the road and slid into the center divider on the freeway. Flipped the van 30 some times. Then, while hanging upside down from my seatbelt, we were hit by a Cadillac going 75 (their claim). I was not drunk. I was young and dumb. But I KNOW. I know what it looks like to see sparks fly by your face and listen to terrified screams while your brain is slow and you're thinking "oh shit, please don't happen."

If you've never been in a serious accident, it is hard to imagine. Once it has happened, you can't ignore the fact that driving is something we should take VERY seriously. But people get insulated. And I have a crappy car. When I rent a car I am always amazed when I look down, figuring I'm doing the speed limit, but really going 85.

I was lucky. Sure, the van flipped, I got hurt. But I didn't hit a stationary object and no one really got hurt except me. Which is amazing. The van was destroyed.

If there were some way to let people actually FEEL what it feels like...or to get them to actually think of how their life would change if they killed a biker, a kid, a family...themselves. But no one thinks about it. The rocket down the freeway changing lanes without using turn signals or checking their blind spot.

I don't know the answer, but I DO think everyone who gets a DL should have to pass a MC test, too. And I do think that the test is so easy that we should be ashamed.

Sorry, off soapbox now.
 

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WOW!
Just stumbled across this and a very good eye opener that things really haven't changed so much.

It also reminded me a of a few calls I was on where the parents showed up. Total denial or disbelief.
 

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And I just found it, because you found it.
Thanks to all of the previous posters, especially the OP.
 

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I gotta tell you this is a close and personnel part of my life I'd love to forget. 12 years in law enforcement and I left it to avoid scrapping up any more teenagers. Breaks my heart. UGH. I hate even thinking about it.

Good post and if you have young drivers make em watch all the PSA texting videos on You Tube they can stand. It's real and a huge problem.
Thank you Lockjaw for caring enough to post.
 

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Remembering from my youth.

I'm 79, and still remember this.
When I was just out of high school, and doing some basic training, they showed videos of state police accident scenes. One in particular still sticks in my mind.
A trailer rig carrying pipe hit something. A pipe went forward, and the drivers head was on the end of the pipe, hanging out over the front of the rig. Hard to forget that!
Why the hell don't we ignore all the cry babies, and show these kids just what can happen. If it saves even a small percentage, it's worth it.
 
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