Oregon Magazine

Sane Souls Don't Risk
Driving While Impaired

by Fred Delkin

January, 2012 -- Here we are again, lecturing to save lives and property with a reminder that our state's law impresarios have made it far tougher than ever on those who risk driving while having partaken of strong drink or other substances that cause physical and mental impairment.  The holiday season has just given us all more opportunities to party without regard to tomorrow.  We say, let's go ahead and enjoy ourselves, but avoid endangering lives or relationships by overdoing it.

We have been a prime subject for seeking celebrations for whatever reason for most of our lengthening life.  However, it finally caught up with us just after our driving laws got more punishing.  Now, we understand the priceless value of asking the question:is it worth it?...before subjecting ourselves or others to the results of eschewing sobriety.   

One can easily assume the opinion that "I'm OK to drive," without considering the hard, cold fact that three to four 'drinks' consumed within an hour takes one to the legal blood alcohol measurement for DUII ticketing.  "Drinks" is a term that includes alcohol-infused highballs, bottles or mugs of beer and glasses of wine (there is no variance as to definition, and 'light' beer is just as potent as more caloric-laden brews.  Guide your personal celebrations accordingly if you intend to pilot a vehicle, be it car, truck, boat or plane.  

Mess too much with overindulgence and you muck up close relationships with your fellow human beings.  Alcohol is a potentially dangerous Drug on many levels...and then there are those nightly TV news reports on crimes committed by those having other sources of craziness, such as amphetamines.  Read Charles Dickens and you get a vivid picture of how fermented beverages caused harm and personal and financial ruin in the 19th century, long before transportation became motorized.  

Wine at work

We've learned that we can be just as witty, sociable or what have you without artificial stimulation.  We've seen the business and social damage that the urge for alcohol consumption has caused with business partners.  We served effectively as marketing director for the Oregon wine industry, became a so-called wine tasting expert...but never needed to desert sobriety to be recognized as a professional communicator.  Looking back, we wonder why we too often considered excessive drinking to be a proper answer for any challenge, saving proving to be macho.  

OK, being prudish is only for maiden aunts, and a few 'pops' never failed to enhance a mixed gender sexual session, but we all know there is a consumption line that never needs to be crossed for a truly worthwhile experience.  How silly...and dangerous...it is to drink or use with the intention of getting 'really high.'  Do so on a regular basis and you are headed for the nightmare that is alcoholism or drug dependency.  

We are inspired to sermonize because we speak or write from decades of experience and have crossed the sobriety line ourselves too many times to count.  Fortunately, we have escaped potential physical harm while driving drunk, but the current driving laws finally caught up with us and have wreaked financial havoc and loss of driving privileges.  

All of you out there should heed the mantra..."Seat belts and Sobriety" before grabbing a wheel or tiller.  Enjoy our region's plethora of fine microbrews, wonderful wines and our sudden expansion of locally distilled hard alcohol derivations...but do it safely...and raise a toast to the New Year!!

© 2012 Oregon Magazine