Most of us have seen or heard about the horrific, single-vehicle accident that happened in Hanover a few days ago. Every person in the...

Most of us have seen or heard about the horrific, single-vehicle accident that happened in Hanover a few days ago. Every person in the vehicle was either injured or killed, when the vehicle left the road and struck a tree. Investigators believe that alcohol was a factor in this accident. When I saw the pictures of the tree, I was able to immediately draw a conclusion about this accident. The amount of bark that had been stripped from the tree told me that it was a high-speed impact, with little or no braking. You may say how can you draw that conclusion from the tree? My answer is that I have seen many of these accidents over the thirty-four years that I rode an engine, ambulance or ladder truck. I used the tree and the vehicle to determine mechanism of injury. I treated more by mechanism than I did by what I was able to see.

If alcohol was a contributing factor in this accident, then it definitely could have been prevented. Drinking and driving is a global problem. I believe that we have strict laws, and law enforcement does a great job apprehending some, maybe even most, of the offenders. The problem is that alcohol consumption is such a huge part of our culture.

I saw a different news report the other night where a drunken subject was pulled by a police officer. When the officer approached the vehicle, the drunken individual pulled out a rifle and a shootout occurred. Fortunately, the officer was not injured. The crazy thing about this was that this same individual had struck a person with his motor vehicle in the past. He was determined then to have been driving while under the influence of alcohol. The problem with our laws is that a person has to be a habitual offender before a person is sentenced to a lengthy prison sentence. I am not sure when a person loses their license for an extended period of time, but in the case that I just spoke about, the person was driving, while his license had been revoked.

Alcohol is a mind-altering drug. For the person that chooses to consume alcohol prior to driving, their vehicle becomes a weapon that is a danger to everyone in their vehicle, as well as every person along their route. Alcohol slows or deadens the senses to the point that a person cannot and should not drive. Many times, innocent people become the victims of selfish people who choose to drink and drive. Life is not always fair, but a loss that occurs for this reason is senseless. The law states a legal limit, where the blood alcohol count is concerned. I happen to believe that a person should abstain from any alcohol consumption, if they will be operating a motor vehicle. Some people drink so heavily that they have been found to be above the legal limit the next day.

I try to write about the things that hurt people the most. Motor vehicle accidents hurt young, middle-aged and the elderly alike. Throw in the problem of alcohol and the probability of an accident becomes greater than or equal to the possibility of an accident. Even though the law states that a person cannot buy or possess alcohol until they are 21 years of age, we know that under-aged drinking is occurring. We are entering the time of the year when we see some of the most horrific accidents, involving young people. I heard a young lady that was interviewed after the Hanover accident. She said that young adults believe that they are invincible. You do not know how many times that I have heard that statement in my lifetime, after a young person(s) have become a paraplegic, quadriplegic or killed after a preventable accident. Alcohol is not the only cause of these accidents; sometimes it is speed alone. Whatever the case, we have got to figure out how to solve this problem. If you must drink, then take a cab or appoint a sober, non-drinking, designated driver to take you home. The lives of others depend upon it!