It’s an all too familiar holiday scene— flashing blue lights, smashed cars, shards of metal and glass littering the shoulder and meridian of the highway.
With nearly one third of all traffic related deaths linked to drunk driving, the National Transportation Safety Board voted recently to lower the blood alcohol content for drivers to .05. Right now the legal limit is .08 -- 40 percent higher. The agency says a .05 limit would save thousands of lives.
Drunks killed 10,228 people on the nation’s highways—according to the latest documentation—114 died on highways in the Bay State.
Sitting in a parking lot not long ago, I watched as a man blew into a device attached to his steering wheel. Each time he tried the ignition died. Nearly 6,000 Massachusetts offenders are using these so-called ignition interlock devices, which prevent inebriated drivers from turning on the car. It’s just one way that advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving supports as a way to eliminate what they describe as a 100 percent preventable crime. MADD also says law enforcement highly visible law enforcement is a powerful deterrent--those state troopers lying in wait on the side of the road.
AAA predicted a million more people were on the road this Labor Day weekend than last year. Hopefully, the percentage of alcohol related deaths did not increase, even with more drivers on the highway.
There must be a better way to mark the traditional end of summer than with a grim coda of drunk driving deaths.