Jun 01, 2013 - LETTER TO THE EDITOR: COMPARING APPLES TO ORANGES ON IMPAIRED DRIVING

Regarding Bill McClellan's column "Arguing against none for the road" (May 29):

As a paramedic of 35 years and a past National Safety Council defense driving instructor, I believe I am more than qualified in addressing how the marginally intoxicated person affects our roads, our insurance rates and society as a whole. In my work, I have personally seen the tragic effects of the marginally intoxicated and their driving skills many times.

Mr. McClellan needs to remember that a driver is not pulled over for having three drinks in an hour, nor for a blood-alcohol level of 0.05 percent. He is pulled over for impaired driving, regardless of his unknown (at that time) blood-alcohol content. A blood-alcohol content of 0.05 or even 0.25 (which is over three times the current level) makes no difference, other than as a tool to keep impaired drivers off the road.

Mr. McClellan claims that drunk driving is a new phenomenon of society, as well as a death blow for bars. He somehow also relates this prophecy to a possible decrease in business morale and production. Mr. McClellan needs to go into politics with his unique gift of stretching issues beyond comprehension.

In reality, years ago, people did not usually commute a great distance to work. They worked in the areas they lived and perused corner bars in their neighborhood. Thus, the majority of impaired people did not drive great distances, as they do now; they walked impaired, not drove impaired, to their nearby homes.

Also, Mr. McClellan, in comparing drunk driving to age-related driving skills, is comparing apples to oranges. This is like saying, "Would you rather be killed by being shot or by being blown up?" My answer is neither.

However, I do agree with his observation about age-related impaired drivers being possibly as dangerous as drunk driving. I personally believe impairment is at both ends of the age spectrum though (as do the insurance companies). It would behoove our society if teenagers are retested on their driving skills prior to issuing a nonrestricted driver's license at age 18. I also believe retesting of driving skills should begin again at age 70, and then every 5 to 6 years thereafter.

To finish, why not just live by a very simple rule in life? Don't drink and drive.

RELATED STORY: McClellan: Don't lower blood-alcohol level for drunk driving

Source: St Louis Post


 

Last updated on: 2013-06-05 | Link to this post