Drunk Driving Accidents: The Need for a Cultural Shift
This has been a week marked by tragedy. Naturally, national attention has turned to the traumatic events of the Boston Marathon bombing. Yet other areas of the country, including San Antonio, have been struck by their own tragedies.
Early Sunday morning, on Highway 90 in Texas, four members of a family were killed in a head-on collision with an 18-wheeler. Authorities believe the driver of the truck was drunk, and they have charged him with intoxication manslaughter in four counts.
Only one member of the family, a teenage son, survived the accident. The family had been returning to their home in Brackettville after attending an event in San Antonio.
Nationally, the number of people killed in drunk driving crashes remains high. In 2011, it was 9,878, according to data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That is one fatality every 53 minutes.
South Texas certainly has its share of those. Each of them is terrible - in lives cut short and in the impact on the survivors.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving - San Antonio seeks to remember the victims and comfort their families by creating story boards that show the lives of those who were killed. Families assist in making these mementos. It is therapeutic work that seeks to heal the deep emotional wounds opened up senseless drunk driving accidents.
Melissa Montgomery, the manager of victim services for MADD - San Antonio, thinks that a cultural shift is necessary to fully change attitudes toward drinking and driving. To be sure, a criminal justice response is called for in intoxication manslaughter cases. But society itself must also more fully recognize the dangers of drunk driving.
Source: "SAPD: Four family members killed in wrong-way crash with DWI suspect," KENS, 4-15-13