August 18, 2006

Over The Limit, Under Arrest

I have seen many commercials already over the last few days about the current National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and their new "Over the Limit, Under Arrest" campaign. The general message is that men should watch themselves and not drink and drive. At least from today until Labor Day.

The whole timeline for this campaign can be found HERE. Several months of intense work, for an enforcement period of just 18 days. Apparently they are taking time on both ends to conduct surveys about the "event." It does not say who they are giving surveys to, but I am guessing it's not the drunk guys that they have pulled over. Anyway, aren't law enforcement officers supposed to stop drunk drivers 365 days a year, every year, from now until the end of civil law?
The focus of the crackdown is also aimed completely at men. I guess that got that tartget "market" from the surveys that were done earlier this summer. Combine that with earlier articles this summer about men leaving churches, and maybe we have something to put together. Apparently, ladies, you are safe for the next 18 days to get as drunk as possible and go for a joy ride. (note, this is sarcastic, please don't do this!)

The commercials are okay. They talk about the true costs of getting caught. They put drunk driving into dollars and days. ($5,000 to $20,000, and jail time) This may be good enough to put a scare into social drinkers to call a cab. Will it be enough to slow down the driving offences of the true drunk? I doubt it.

The commercials, though, do not address the lives lost or ruined by the effects of a drunk driver. That used to be the focus of drunk driving campaigns. Every MADD ad that I've ever seen, anyway. (Looks like they are supporting this campaign though.

I lived with someone who would drink and drive. It was a scary event every weekend to go out and come home again. His license was revoked on several occasions. He's now clean and sober, and has realized the lives he put into jeopardy. Does the NHTSA truly believe that with an intentional crackdown of just 18 days it will change someones life? I certainly don't. I think that it will take a lot more than a temporary crackdown.

I, for one, will vow not to drive drunk for the 18 days. Heck, I'll even expand my vow to as many days as I'm left on this planet. I think it will save me some money.

And life.

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