Something has been bugging me lately and I'd like to write about it for a second here. It's about people who announce DUI checkpoints.
Back in the day, I use to go out to bars a lot, and as such was frequently around the type of person who would announce to his friends when there was a DUI checkpoint somewhere along the way home. Although I never made those announcements myself, at the time I saw it as a noble thing to do - to save your friends from going to jail, getting a huge fine, and something on their record, missing work, being hassled, totally ruining their night, etc etc etc. This was all with the thought in mind that anyone who was actually too drunk to drive, wouldn't, and everyone else was a much better driver while mildly intoxicated than the law would recognize, or that the blood alcohol level measure was faulty or something.
But then, as I got older, I started to realize some things. People lie to themselves. People lie to each other... and when multiple people are lying to themselves about the same thing, they have a tendency to clump into groups and support the same lie, especially when that lie aligns with something they're motivated by, or desire.
I eventually came to the realization that no one is ever as sharp behind the wheel, as they were just a few drinks ago. Most people aren't so sharp that their alcohol-inhibited driving skills are still great, good, or necessarily safe.
People lie to themselves about their driving, especially when it comes to driving while intoxicated. They lie to themselves because they need to, to justify putting their lives and others in danger to avoid an inconvenience.
People who drink, don't want to be inconvenienced by spending the money on a cab ride home, or sleeping in the back seat of their car until they're sober, or arranging for a sober ride home, or any number of other bothersome solutions. Making sure you don't drive drunk can be pretty inconvenient, especially if you're arriving and leaving solo, and I get that. Most people probably start off well intentioned, trying their best to make sure they don't get behind the wheel when they shouldn't, but somewhere along the line, for so many people who like to drink, the constant feeling of being annoyed by those extra steps starts acting as an incentive, or a motivator. We all know that incentives and motivators power almost everything around us, so it's not too much of a stretch to imagine that over time, some drinkers have a tendency to subconsciously change the way they perceive the risks they're taking (and imposing on others).
Eventually, you start to tell yourself that you're not that bad behind the wheel. You're actually pretty sharp, and you drive way better than most people anyway. Its then not a stretch to feel that DUI laws shouldn't apply to you, because you don't think you're posing the same danger that the original laws were intended for. You start to feel that, because its the logical outcome as our human brains always push us to find easier and more convenient ways of doing things. And once several people start to feel that same way, a culture of denial is created, and everyone starts to believe all this without understanding what they're doing. And we do this subconsciously, without realizing it.
But no matter how smart we think we are, we are still subject to the reality of statistics. No matter how great you think you are behind the wheel, or how unique/special/gifted of a driver you think you are, the chances are still that you're wrong. The reality is that if we drive drunk, or even mildly "fun buzzed", we put innocent lives in danger - people who don't deserve it just because we desire to party.
So anyway, back to the whole DUI checkpoint thing. I'm just going to come out and say it (finally). When people alert their friends of DUI checkpoints, it bugs the fucking shit
out of me. Sober friends avoiding inconvenience aside, when you tell someone how to avoid getting caught for a DUI... (drum roll)... it encourages more drunk driving. Seriously, that's how it works. If everyone who drove drunk got caught every time, the world would have the tiniest tiny fraction of the drunk driving it has now, and if no one ever got caught, well... I guess that'd be the 70s now wouldn't it lol.
Anyway, my point is this: The next time you think you're being a hero and saving your poor poor friends from going to jail over "just a few drinks", try to remember that it may cost innocent lives. Try to remember that some people just won't change without a huge wake-up call, and every time they get to drive home under the influence without consequences, you enforce the idea in their head that they can get away with it, which causes them to do it more, which statistically speaking, hurts innocent people.
Some people just need to get caught, pay that hefty price, and come out on the other side a better person.
Please keep all that in mind, if you or anyone you know is contemplating the announcement of a DUI checkpoint. And if you see someone making their own announcements, feel free to link them to this blog or remind them that just because they cannot see the lives they're putting in danger, doesn't make it okay.
Food for thought.