Friday, 12 December 2014

Drink Driving and the Law: Part 2

It's been one week since my last post which stated the new law in Scotland; that of a reduced, allowable, blood alcohol concentration. Since then, an astute reader contacted me and suggested I had held back on my last post. She felt it was artificially truncated and that I hadn't said all that I honestly felt about the subject.

She was right.

The truth is that drink driving is a massive social taboo. As such it is never spoken about, not even between the best of friends who discuss everything else generally considered taboo. My personal opinion is that many of us drive when we know we are 'likely to be over the limit' but think on balance, that we'll 'probably be okay'. We think we'll probably be okay because it's only a short journey or we live in a rural area and are unlikely to be stopped by the Police. There's also the arrogance borne of having a couple of drinks, the feeling of invincibility when we truly believe we are fantastic, sassy and can have it all and still drive home with a casual 'it'll be fine'. There is also a layer of naivety that those things only happen to other people.

So we do not allow our thoughts to dwell on the thought of losing our driving licence or having a criminal record and declaring it at work or to insurance companies. And we certainly do not consider that we may injure someone, or worse. We don't think about it because it is just too awful to play the movie to the end.

My movie would indeed be awful. A drunk driving conviction would threaten my career, restrict my ability to fulfil my home commitments and above all, would leave me walking an eternal road of shame. No matter what price I paid, I feel I would never be entirely absolved of the crime. All these reasons prevented me from habitually drinking and driving.

My nights out involved significant taxi fares and I was happy to pay them. The three occasions I remember, when I did drive knowing 'I was probably over the limit' but would probably get away with it, happened when I had an impromptu drink. It was always unplanned. As you know, for me one drink, impromptu or not, was never enough and a second followed. Two drinks doesn't sound a lot but two large glasses of wine is 2/3 of a bottle which most certainly does sound a lot. Once home safely, I stopped to consider the risk I had taken, I was truly horrified, terrified, to the degree that it was not common practice for me. Not that this makes it any better.

There is an interesting article here recently written and published in The Observer magazine by editor Lucy Rock which explores why there has been such a rise in women drinking and driving.

So there it is in its entirety. I had not divulged my thoughts and feelings last week because no matter how infrequently I did it, or how long I have been sober subsequently, the facts remain unchanged. And what ugly thoughts they are.

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