In San Juan County, driving while drunk is the No. 1 cause of death on the roadways. Earlier this year, Orcas Island lost a young woman in a wreck that was allegedly caused by an intoxicated driver.
Nationally, someone is injured every two minutes in a drunk driving crash, and every 51 minutes someone is killed. In 2017, there were 528 people killed in crashes across the country over Thanksgiving weekend alone. The Mothers Against Drunk Driving website shares victim stories to raise awareness.
• Alexis McKinney was a passenger in a car being driven by a 17-year-old male who had been drinking when it crashed, ejecting her from the vehicle and killing her in July 2012. She was 15.
• Mandy Jahn and her two young children, Ryan, 3, and Kaitlyn, 11 months, were killed in November 2008.
• Christopher Croley was killed the day before his 14th birthday.
A lot of time is spent educating teens about drunk driving, but it’s just as critical to speak to adults about it. When intoxicated adults get behind the wheel of a car, they are operating a lethal weapon, too. If you’ve been drinking, smoking pot or consuming any drugs or medications that can cause drowsiness, don’t drive.
Orcas Island Taxi is offering free rides home on New Year’s Eve between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. with tip donations going to the Orcas Island Food Bank. Call 360-376-8294. San Juan Taxi and Tours on San Juan Island will offer a 20 percent discount from Dec. 20 until Jan. 2.
Everyone, regardless of age, is subject to the same results when they choose to drive while intoxicated: the loss of driving privileges, jail time, lawsuits and a lifetime of guilt.
Where do you think teenagers and young adults learn that drunk driving is OK? The adults in their lives. When teens see their parents planning a night out responsibly, it sets a good example – for now, and later. Adult drinking and driving is a real problem. Take a look at the sheriff’s log and you’ll see a myriad of driving under the influence entries.
We could all stand to be reminded of what too much liquor and two tons of steel can do.