Ending the DUI Quandary- What Can You Do?
The little girl discussed at the beginning of the second part of this series, Wendy, had a tough road to take. Yet, she did not allow herself to be a “victim” of the tragedy. Her grandparents provided much love and support, always telling her that she could be the one to make a difference—and make a difference she did.
As Wendy got older, she began taking public speaking courses in high school and college. She took every opportunity she could to talk to others about driving under the influence. She eventually pursued a career in law, prosecuting DUI offenders along the way. She is now a Superior Court Judge who travels the country telling her story and entreating her audience not to drive under the influence. To find out more about Wendy and her amazing life story, you can go to her website.
The families whose lives were turned upside down by the impaired driver who barreled down their street, destroying their cars and homes, have moved on with their lives as best they can. There is nothing else they can do. All involved expressed the same sentiment—that they are just thankful that no one was hurt or killed.
Deb, one of the offenders included in the article faced the consequences of her actions. She was required to enter a rehab program called High Intensity DUI Enforcement (H.I.D.E.). This rehabilitation program, located in Butte County, California, has a strenuous series of requirements and is funded by grants and community support. Deb stated that the process was very rigorous and required “jumping through a lot of hoops.”
Deb reported that at the beginning of the process she had to attend meetings every day and go to driving school twice a week. As progress was made, things lightened up a little—but not much. She was required to meet with her probation officer every other week and attend court hearings frequently.
Part of the program involved getting a job as well as volunteering for various organizations. There were group meetings, basically support groups, and confidential meetings with counselors. Deb expressed her appreciation for the arrangement and was glad she had the opportunity to set things straight.
Many people are familiar with the Every 15 Minute Program that is held at high schools. The demonstration is designed to make young people more aware of driving under the influence in hopes of deterring them from driving impaired. On a prescheduled day, a “Grim Reaper” takes a student out of a classroom. Near the end of the day, a mock wreck is the focus of an educational demonstration for all of the students to watch. These are some videos I took of one of these events in Oroville, California.
There are many ways that the community can work together to prevent DUI occurrences. If someone who is impaired is getting ready to drive, take away the keys and make sure they have a safe way to get home. If you suspect a person is driving under the influence, call 911. Callers always have the option to remain anonymous. Authorities, and most other individuals, just want the offenders to be taken from behind the wheel.
As much as observers can do though, the real responsibility lies with each and every person who consumes any type of agent that alters the mind or nervous system. Even small amounts can affect normal perception and reflexes. Do NOT drive after using any of these substances. Be responsible and honorable and have respect for life—yours and that of others.