Author: Brian M. Cameron
Years ago, long before MADD and other such organizations gained prominence, drinking and driving, while illegal, carried little to no social stigma. People from all walks of life would not think twice about drinking “just a little” too much and driving home. Alcohol companies did not spend advertising money on designated driver programs, few cities had free transit services on special occasions and cab companies did not have 1-800 numbers to encourage people to get home safe.
The slogan “Arrive Alive” had not yet become part of the social lexicon.
This seems ridiculous by today’s standards. To be sure, some people still drink and drive. However, the practise is no longer viewed as something that carries a small amount of risk that in some circumstance is acceptable. Most people, rightly so, view it as a crime.
By now, most everyone is aware of the fine for talking on a cell phone or texting while driving. It can cost you up to $155.00 to send that quick text or answer your phone. Many, if not most, people simply ignore this law and call and text whenever they wish.
Recent studies have shown that the distraction caused by texting or talking on a phone is every bit as dangerous as driving while drinking. The accident rates were comparable and in controlled studies drivers who were texting or talking performed as poorly as those drinking.
However, there is absolutely no social stigma attached to driving and texting or talking. It is prevalent. Those who will not do it are the exception, not the norm, despite the risks.
It is likely that our children are going to look back and wonder what we were thinking when we got into the car and started to text – much as we wonder how our parent’s generation would be silly enough to drive home after drinking.