Thursday, March 02, 2006

Reflections after getting hit by a drunk driver

We had the good fortune of getting hit by a drunk driver last friday night in an accident in which nobody was hurt. As I try not be vindictive about the whole thing (he didn't stop and it has been a monumental hassle to get the car fixed), I have a different attitude about beer commercials and DUI laws.

It is an interesting thing to juxtapose the happy prancing horses pulling beautiful carriages loaded with beer through pristine meadows or some guy walking through a crisp cold alpine forest in Colorado with the scene of our family stading on the sidewalk holding our daughters waiting for the police to come in the cold. As we stood there, there were no cute talking frogs, no well-dressed (but casual) nth generation beer makers, no clydesdales. It would seem that the idealized reality of a beer commercial is far removed from the hassle inconvenience and toddler-trauma of a drunk guy hitting our car and fleeing the scene. I can image how much worse it would be if someone in my family had actually been hurt. Maybe we should make Beer company execs attend at least one funeral for a DUI car accident fatality each year. Just to help them keep perspective.

So that leaves me advocating extremely tough DUI laws, but only in the sense that one should loose the privelige of driving with a DUI conviction. First conviction = 1 year w/out a license. Second conviction or driving during the first year = 3 years w/out a license. Third conviction or driving the during the three year suspension = lifetime ban. Driving during lifetime ban = not sure what.

And that in turn leaves me in the even more awkward position of trying to figure out how to read President Hinckley's LDS General Conference talk from last October and not feeling like exactly one of hte people that might need to change their attitude. It's not like some kid threw a frozen turkey through my windshield thus destroying my face or anything. Yet I am more vindictive already than the person in that story.


Neha Rungta said...

What did President Hinkley say in the talk? Glad to know you and your family weren't hurt.

Anonymous said...

Don't get me wrong, I am not supportive of beer companies. But I think as a society we should take more responsibility. DUI laws are not strigent enough to deter people from drinking and driving. Why do we have to blame someone else (like beer company) for some reckless person who "chose" to break the law. There are accidents that happen because people fall asleep at the wheel. Are we going to mandate people to drink coffee? People die of obesity, do we make MacDonalds execs attend the funeral? This comment is not meant to be an attack on your post. Just trying to foster some discussion.

Mike Jones said...


Thanks for the interesting comments. I don't think I am advocating, too much at least, making beer companies liable for the things people do while drunk. I think we both agree that our society could do more to help people feel consequences of irresponsible drinking.

The thing that strikes me about the whole beer sales thing is that beer companies spend lots and lots of money advertizing. I assume that they believe that this changes people's behavior and causes them to buy more beer. Using the exact same reasoning, we could require beer companies to spend just as much money changes people's behavior in the area of drunk driving. But that's not my main problem. My main problem is that the happy confident world of beer comercials is very different from the inconvenience that irresponsible drinking caused me. Not the beer company's fault but I know I'd have a hard time sleeping at night if my product was beer.

The analogy with McDonald's execs is a little off because my obesity, if I were obese, doesn't kill random innocent people that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Mike Jones said...


The idea was that one should attempt to make each person with which one interacts a little better because they knew you. Approximately.

Anonymous said...

mike jones,

we should make these dark dreary commercials against drinking and Driving. I am sure there is some organization that does it. They just don't have enough money to air it during the Super Bowl or most prime time slots. I agree there is the sad state of affairs where beer and cigarette companies spend millions of $$ on painting a pretty picture of a society where it is cool to drink and smoke. It is pretty disgusting.

Anonymous said...

Does this explain the dark eye? I was wondering all through class but it wasn't appropriate to ask.

Anonymous said...

By the way, I am not the first anonymous, just the second, and I suppose now, the third. Just wanted to let you reading know your blog makes an interesting part of my day!

Mike Jones said...

One of my 2 year olds and I bonked heads and I got the worst of it.

There are two main things about parenting that have surprised me. First, I doesn't gross me out when my children vomit all over me. Second, I was glad that I got the worst of it rather than her when we bonked heads.

Glad you like the blog and I hope class is going well for you. The lectures haven't been as smooth as I'd like, but some people say that mistakes in lectures are good pedagogy because students build their understanding by finding errors that challenge their understanding.

Anonymous said...

I understand where you are coming from on the second surprise but I guess I'll have to be a parent before I understand the first...

The lectures and class in general are great, one of my favorite classes I've ever had and some of the best lectures. Only other lectures I have enjoyed as much as yours have been by Mike Goodrich.

The class is a lot of work (ie the hwks, lab, and test this week) but because the class is stimulating and run in a cooperative way (You'll work with us) rather than a bureaucratic tyranny (Whatever the TAs say is how it goes-- (CS2XX)) it is really quite enjoyable and not overly stressfull.