The CEI Group, Inc. has released a new online DriverCare driver safety lesson that dramatically drives home the potentially life-altering consequences of drunk driving.
“Alcohol and Driving: A Deadly Mixture” is a 10-minute lesson that features an extended excerpt from a documentary produced for Mothers Against Drunk Driving about a 2002 Florida accident that resulted in the deaths of two twenty-year-old women and a 22-year prison sentence for the driver of a pickup truck that rammed into their car.
Eric Smallridge, a former Eagle Scout and high school varsity athlete who had just graduated from college the month before, is interviewed from the state prison where he was held after his conviction. He talks about how, after an evening spent in a bar, he told his friends he was sure he was safe to drive, even though he was later tested with a blood alcohol level two and a half times the legal limit. Oblivious to the accident as it happened, Smallridge also describes the shock of recognition over what he’d done:
“The officers took me to the ambulance and they told me they were going to take my blood, and I asked them, ‘ Why… do you want a blood sample from me? What’s really going on here? ‘And they said, ‘Well that’s what we’re trying to find out… Don’t act like you don’t know there’s two girls dead in that car over there.’
“When they said those words, everything in my life started to …flash before my eyes. And I’m thinking, ‘How could this be? How could my life have come to this?’ It’s like all of a sudden you’re waking up in a nightmare and you want it to be over with.”
Brian Kinniry, CEI’s manager of risk and safety services, said the goal of the mini lesson is to hit fleet drivers with all the powerful emotions that result from a fatal drunk driving accident. “This is our second drunk driving lesson,” he said. “In our first, we try to make drivers understand from an intellectual point of view how dangerous drunk driving is. In this one, we want them to feel it.”
The lesson opens with three short videos of actual drunk-driving collisions, and cites some sobering facts:
- In the U.S. someone is seriously injured in an alcohol-related crash every other minute.
- Thirty percent of all Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related collision at some point in their lifetime.
- Drunk driving kills 16,000 people in the U.S. every year.
A non-fatal DUI conviction without vehicle damage can cost a driver his or her license and up to $20,000 in fines, court fees and higher insurance premiums.