Wednesday's Rant: Drunk Drivers Kill Kids

No one wants to talk about kids dying, but the case in Texas being touted as a revenge killing reminds us that drunk drivers not only drive drunk, but they kill kids.

  1. In 2011, according to MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers), 226 kids died because of a drunk driver. A little over half of them were the passengers of a drunk driver. While that number seems small when compared to the 10,000 who die of gunshots each year or the 2,000 who die of cancer, I can't help but think how these deaths are senseless and preventable. 

In the case I mentioned in Texas, the father of two boys, 11 and 12 years of age, is accused of shooting the drunk driver who ran down his kids moments after the crash. While I do not know the specifics, I can't help but feel the pain that father went through when he saw his boys dying in the street. How senseless and how preventable. 

That night the driver who killed these boys chose to drink. Now, there is nothing wrong with having a drink or two. That is a personal decision. But if a person is drinking, they do not need to drive. The driver in this case not only drank, but he got into his car and drove drunk. He made a conscious decision (and probably not for the first time, since most drunk drivers are multiple offenders), and it cost the lives of two innocent children. I am sorry that his life was taken as well, and whoever is responsible for that death needs to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I only mention the case here to highlight how fast a drunk driver can claim the life of an innocent.

Here are a few facts from MADD everyone should consider before getting behind the wheel of a car after a few drinks.

  • Impairment is determined by the amount of alcohol drank over a specific time period, not by the type of drink.
  • A standard drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits
  • In 2012, 10.3 million people said they drove under the influence of intoxicants
  • This is for my YA author friends: Almost 50% of 10th graders drink 
  • In 2011, 1.2 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence
Given the facts, it is amazing to me that more kids are not killed each year with so many drunk drivers on the road. Getting behind the wheel after drinking is not only dangerous it is downright death dealing. 

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