xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Stopping impaired driving

Today's column on preventing impaired driving is a bit of a departure from crime. Some call crashes involving alcohol or drugs accidents. Dr. Thomas Scalea, the chief of the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, calls them preventable diseases.

They're also crimes.

Advertisement

Though, as the story mentions, the crimes don't always come with stiff penalties. A Shock Trauma nurse, Beverly Dearing-Stuck, lost her father-in-law to an impaired driver in 1995, but he served only three years of a 10 years sentence. He got out and has been arrested and convicted twice more of driving under the influence of alcohol.

I met with Scalea and Dearing-Stuck after state medical officials told me about a new program they were launching to prevent more deaths on the road. Cops and paramedics will be calling in to radio stations such as 98 Rock to talk about sobriety checkpoints and to describe accidents they've just handled. Police also are stepping up enforcement.

Advertisement

Shock Trauma runs a program to talk about drinking and driving, and other problems associated with car travel, such as texting while driving. Nurses and doctors go to schools and offer tours of Shock Trauma. Offenders see videos.

The hospital conducted a study of 5,600 high school students and found that 93 percent said they see peers in cars "singing, bouncing in their seat or 'acting wild.'" The study found that 92 percent see teen drivers speeding (no surprise); 89 percent talking on cell phones; 85 percent blaring loud music; 75 percent driving while tired; 48 percent driving after drinking; and 38 percent driving after smoking marijuana.

Here are some stats from police:

Get your own at Scribd or explore others:

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement