Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Driving Under the Influence

Getting stung for DUI seems to be a rather sobering experience.

The people I know who have been done tend to explain how ashamed they felt, to say that it was "an easy way to learn a difficult lesson", " a stupid thing to do" or "a wakeup call". Maybe it's not that way for everyone, but these are the kinds of things I hear when my friends talk about it.

Drink driving has come to be a socially unacceptable behaviour that is little encouraged and rarely condoned. The main line of reasoning that I hear made against those who do it, goes along the lines of;

"I don't care if you want to go out and kill yourself, that's your choice, but what if you hit me, or if you hit a kid? If you killed someone that way, you'd go to gaol. You'd be a criminal. Do you want to end up in Grafton?"

And I agree wholeheartedly.

I was talking to another friend about drink-driving over Xmas. I was telling her how unacceptable it is amongst my friends - like a social taboo. She's in her 50s and reckons it's harder for her and her generation to feel so bad about it, as they used to do it all the time before the laws changed; They would get plastered and drive home because they could, even though the risks of doing so were still very real.

Someone in my life has been drink-driving for years and years. I hate the complicity I feel in his behaviour but how do you stop them? He'll leave without saying anything to the rest of us sitting there because he knows what we'll say. He gets so drunk, but for some reason has felt that he is different, or that he's above the law.

Not anymore. He got pulled over and, in a rare twist of circumstance, he wasn't much over .05 so only lost his licence for a month. It's impacted on him a lot and he's been talking a lot about how it's making him feel and how he hadn't really thought about the implications of it all before.

I wish I could feel more smug about his getting caught, but I know how this is going to affect the other people in my life and his business.

It's amazing what a social shaming can do!

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