Editorial: Still having to protest drinking and driving

“I can’t believe I still have to protest this s**t.”

After the death of Mike Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri earlier this year, one image in particular went viral on the internet: that of an Afro-American woman holding up a sign with the message: “I can’t believe I still have to protest this s**t.”

It’s a strong message, and can be applied to many causes that socially responsible people are still having to fight for — despite so much public education and awareness.

Here in the valley, this woman’s message comes to mind after learning about the drunk driver who took out a power pole on Sunday evening, snapping the pole in half and causing a power outage throughout Invermere. The photo on page 2 says it all.  Yet another driver blows a “fail” and temporarily has their car impounded and license revoked. Luckily, in this accident no one was killed. For some reason, the driver pulled a hard right on a straightaway, ending up in the long grass alongside the road where he made contact with the pole.

It’s probably not too far off to speculate that the driver was either so inebriated he didn’t know what he was doing — a terrifying thought — or was so inebriated that he fell asleep at the wheel — also terrifying. Again, this is sheer speculation. What is fact is that he ended up on the side of the road, with the front of his truck smashed in due to the force of the impact with the power pole.

Now, imagine what could have happened if he had veered left into oncoming traffic. People on their way home after spending their Sunday afternoon in the sun somewhere in the valley. Had this driver hit an oncoming car with the same force as he hit that pole,  it’s fair to speculate a fatality might have occured — someone’s elderly grandparent, or young child, or parent. Let’s hope it takes hitting a power pole for this person, and others like him, to wake up to the idea that their actions can have potentially deadly consequences beyond the cost of a tow truck and the inconvience of a 90-day driving prohibition — during which time he will be forced to learn how to find an alternate way home.