Friday, June 24, 2011

Here We Go Again...

In the two years that I have been doing my blog, I have written two posts about drunk driving: "Who is the Bad Guy" (2009) and "What's Past is Prologue" (2010). Here I am again writing about drunk driving. Earlier, this week Ryan Dunn, one of the member of the MTV's Jackass crew, was killed in a one car crash in Pennsylvania. The accident happened just 3 hours after he tweeted pictures of himself and friends having drinks in a local bar. One of the men in the picture with Dunn was also killed in the accident. Two days later, police confirmed that Dunn's blood alcohol level was .196 which was twice the legal limit.
Dunn and Zachary Hartwell died of blunt and thermal trauma when Dunn’s car flew off the road and burst into flames. Police said Wednesday the reconstruction investigation determined that Dunn’s vehicle was traveling between 132 and 140 miles per hour at the time of the collision. Dunn possessed a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license at the time of the collision. Source

Roger Ebert was blasted when he tweeted "Friends don't let Jackasses drink and drive." about the accident shortly after Dunn's death. Some called him cruel. Maybe his timing was poor, but his message was correct. The stars of Jackass appeal to that 14-25 year old demographic. Teenage boys mostly who tune in to the watch the fearless and down right crazy antics of the Jackass crew. The truth is also that this group also tends to be the ones who will binge drink. According to the CDC,
  • The prevalence of binge drinking among men is higher than the prevalence among women.
  • About 90% of the alcohol consumed by youth under the age of 21 in the United States is in the form of binge drinks.
  • The proportion of current drinkers that binge is highest in the 18- to 20-year-old group (51%).
Then there are these statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) courtesy of SADD,
  • In 2008, 11,773 people were killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. These alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities accounted for 32 percent of the total motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States.
  • The 11,773 fatalities in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes during 2008 represent an average of one alcohol-impaired-driving fatality every 45 minutes.
  • In 2008, an estimated 12.4% of persons ages 12 or older drove under the influence of alcohol at least once during that year. The rate was 26.1% among persons ages 21-25.
Whether you want to be or not, when you step before a camera, there will be a child who will admire you. They spend more time with television and in school than they do with their parents. This is a fact. Athletes, reality stars, and other celebrities need to take responsibility for themselves. If you have enough money to drive a Porche, don't you have enough money to call a cab? Don't you have friends you could call to come pick you up?

I don't drink. I've seen the results of drinking. I've lost a friend and a student to drunk driving. I know that kids eyes are always watching. I practice what I preach. I not telling you not to drink. If you are of legal age, You are adults you have every right to drink if you so choose. Be responsible and give the keys to someone who chooses not to. Have a Designated Driver. Humans are more fragile than they appear to be.

Until next time, "Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them."~James A. Baldwin

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