Monday, December 31, 2007

Drink, Drive, and Call 911

On the 500-mile drive from Palm Springs to San Francisco...

...we kept noticing large illuminated signs along the highway encouraging us to rat out drunk drivers by calling 911.

In case you happened to miss these looming horrors, fixed signage with the same message was posted along the roadway and at rest stops.

The question that immediately arose was how do you tell the difference between a drunk driver and a crappy driver or even a dangerous one who weaves in and out of traffic?

As a non-driver, I can confidently state that I've been in more danger from sober, bad drivers than slightly drunk, skillful ones but in our new Nanny State, those kind of distinctions count for nothing.

Still, the new catchphrase we were sharing during the entire drive to San Francisco was, "I think it may be time to call 911, dear. That driver in the red truck who won't move over to the slow lane is a real asshole. He MUST be drunk."


Markley Morris said...

I'm scared of bad drivers - be they drunk, on the cell phone, hysterical or just plain stupid - so I'm unlikely to object to efforts to discourage them. Perhaps these "REPORT DRUNK DRIVERS' signs are more a message to the drunk drivers themselves and more effective than "DON'T DRIVE DRUNK" or whatever.

On tv I've seen a couple of reports about a kids calling 911 to say they were scared because their mom driving the car was drunk.

Anyhow, I'm glad you made it back safely. Happy new year, Mike.

sfwillie said...

The rest stop sign makes sense. Like you see some guy taking a whiz so fucked up he pees all over himself and he staggers out to his car--maybe a 911 call would be appropriate. But otherwise, how could you tell that a particular driver was actually drunk? Even CHP does tests after stopping.

Are those "Amber Alert" signs?

Our way of life is crumbling. Prepare for major die-back.

This post is very powerful, but what a depressing way to end the year! Good riddance, 2007?

Civic Center said...

Dear Willie: I believe they are "Amber Alert" signs, and they gave me the creeps. A good update of a Hitchcock thriller would have an innocent man being hunted down on the freeways of California with "Amber Alert" details about his/her car and appearance alerting the driving mob.

And I agree with you completely about the impossibility of knowing if somebody is drunk or just a bad driver. It just felt like a setup for Big Brother to encourage people to start reporting on their fellow citizens about "suspicious" activities.

And Markley, there are plenty of ways to make the roads safer but "Call 911" every so many miles doesn't strike me as one of them. Glad to be back, by the way.