First, I would like to apologize for the lack of content during this summer. It’s been relatively quiet on the Laker front, but that will be changing as August starts and students start to return to campus.
But what I have for you today doesn’t have any direct ties to the Lakers or hockey in general, but it’s nonetheless important. And if you haven’t figured out what it is by reading the headline, well, here you go:
Don’t drink and drive.
It’s a message that we hear on the radio, see on TV…if you look hard enough, you’ll see it. While it seems obvious to some, and most people think they never will, that’s while they are sober, but we need people to remember when they are inebriated. But how?
Side note: While our demographic on this site seems to be ‘older’ Laker fans, hopefully this will reach some students, and they will keep this in the back of their minds too.
Well, what if I gave a real world example of the effects of drunk driving? Because I’ve got one.
Let me introduce you to my Uncle Ed. He was a Detroit Lions fan, a biker, a son, a husband and a father. He was also a veteran, having been enlisted in the U.S Navy from November 1987-November 1991.
He was someone I looked up to. The guy just oozed cool to me. Growing up, I spent a lot of time around him, and I learned a lot. When my parents were building the house that I grew up in, we shared a room for a period of time and we would talk a lot. He’d never talk down to me; that I can remember anyways.
In July of 1999, he got the call that his country needed him again. The evening of July 24th, 1999 he rode his motorcycle up to K.I Sawyer from Gladstone, MI to pick up his papers. But on a lonely stretch of M-35, everything came to a halt.
Why? Because someone decided to drink all day and drive. Someone who, even after almost hitting another individual earlier on the day, continued to drink, and ended up driving his truck head on with a motorcycle.
And that was it. All the was left were tears and a trial.
On July 24th, 1999 a wife was widowed, a 3 year old and a 3 month old were left without a father, a mother lost a son; sisters: a brother. Nieces and Nephews were left without an uncle, close friendships ended…ultimately all because one man decided to drink and drive.
I’ve talked to people who have actually laughed at the fact that someone they know, say a son, was caught driving under the influence, like it’s no big deal. But it is. You’re not just taking your own life in your hands, but literally any- and everyone between your point A and B.
Call a parent, a friend. Call an Uber or Lyft if they are available in your area, or a taxi if you’re in a small town. If you’re feeling tempted to drive and you know you shouldn’t, just throw your keys away or something: getting new keys is way cheaper than a life.
If you’re with someone who is about to drive drunk, do everything in your power to stop them. If you cannot, call 911, report the car & licence plate to the authorities so they can get them off the road. The fallout will likely be rough, but imagine you just letting them go off, then finding out they killed someone. I don’t think I could shoulder knowing I could’ve prevented that.
Here are some stats for you:
- On average, 28 people die every day as a result of drunk driving
- In 2016, 10,497 people died in drunk driving crashes, or one every 52 minutes.
- In 2016, deaths involving alcohol-impaired driving accounted for 28% of all traffic related deaths.
- The highest percentage of drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes during 2010 was for drivers ages 21 to 24 (34%), followed by ages 25 to 34 (30%), and ages 35 to 44 (25%).
- (sources: https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html & https://www.bactrack.com/blogs/expert-center/35040645-dui-statistics )
Now, some may be wondering why I’m doing this now and not before this since I’ve had this platform for almost 2 years now. Well we buried my uncle on what would’ve been his 30th birthday…July 29th, 1999. Today would’ve been his 50th birthday. I’d like to think if his story stops even 1 individual from getting behind the wheel and driving drunk, then I think that’s a good a birthday gift as any.