Monday, July 23, 2007

Drunk driving

Jesenia Vega ran over and killed her fiancé yesterday after he tried to keep her from driving drunk.

The numbers behind this story are astounding: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly eighteen thousand people died in alcohol-related auto incidents last year – an average of one every half-hour. Many more live: Each year one in every 137 drivers is arrested for DUI – that’s about 1.5 million arrests. Over the course of a lifetime, a driver has a 30% chance of being involved in an alcohol-related traffic accident.

But people like to drink – and it’s American to the core: According to a diary entry from a Mayflower passenger, the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock instead of their original destination choice of Virginia because they ran out of beer. Today, Anheuser-Busch uses 15% of the entire U.S. rice crop for making beer.

Do friends let friends drive drunk?

In 1888, naturalist John Lubbock studied intoxicated ants, and found that ants who had too much to drink were carried home by their nest mates. But drunken stranger ants? They were just tossed into a ditch and left to fend for themselves.

Maybe that’s what Jesenia Vega’s fiancé should have done – after taking away her car keys.

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