DO WE THINK ITíS OK TO DRIVE DRUNK?
By George Guevara
Itís only a drunk. The
untimely and tragic deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed along with
the injuries sustained by bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones bring to light
many issues. First there is the issue that paparazzi, in their zeal to
take revealing photos, are harassing their subjects to the point that
their subjects are will to do anything to get away from these
photographers. Why was the bodyguard the only passenger wearing a seat
belt? Why such high-speed driving cy chauffeur Henri Paul, considering
this was not a life-threatening event? Iím sure there will be plenty of
blame to go around and Iím sure we will all be learning more as the days
and weeks pass. There is a factor, however, that cannot be discounted
and must be factored in to this equation: Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed
were allegedly killed by a drunk driver!
Letís for a moment look at the
profile of driver Henri Paul. He is a former commando in the French Air
Force. He was considered an exemplary employee. He had training as a
chauffeur, driving bulletproof limousines. He had additional training
in the area of anti-terrorist and anti-hijacking techniques, in addition
to training in high-speed driving tactics.
Now, letís look at the
downside to this most capable driver. He was driving at a high speed)
an estimated 121 mph in a 30 mph zone), supposedly to get away from the
approaching paparazzi. Now the kicker: he was allegedly drunk by
Franceís standards of driving under the influence. Even by our own
standards here in California, Mr. Paul reportedly would have been over
twice our legal limit (which is .08 percent). Mr. Paulís blood alcohol
content was reportedly registered at .17 percent.
Weíve heard all the speeches
and read the literature about drinking and driving for years now. We
have heard that impairment begins with that first drink. But letís look
briefly at the common signs of alcohol influence. At .03 percent (Less
than half the legal limit) we see slowed reactions. At .05 percent
(just slightly over half the legal limit) we see increased risk-taking.
At .08 percent (our legal limit) we see impaired vision. At .10 (just
slightly over the legal limit) we see poor coordination. If that is the
best we can expect from a well-trained driver with extensive training in
driving maneuvers and tactics where does that leave the rest of us?
Whatís sad is that Princess
Diana, Dodi Fayed and Trevor Rees-Jones probably didnít even know they
were entering a car being driven by a potential killer (drunk driver).
What I see that is really sad about these deaths is that everyone
reading this will be so against drinking and driving for about a week
and a half. After the novelty wears off, it will be business as usual.
Many will again feel sorry for the friend, neighbor or family member who
gets arrested for DUI, with their sympathy for the arrestee turning into
distain for the patrolman on the street for arresting and not giving the
DUI driver a break because he/she is either a long-time Santa Clarita
resident, was only a short distance from home or because they say that
they have always been a supporter of the local police department. The
story ends the same way. Someone is dead due to drunk driving. As
Americans in what we call a civilized nation, we still to kill over
17,000 people a year.