On various occasions when I’m out at night, I’ve seen a very prominent person in a bar drinking heavily. I know he drives himself home. I think he’s clearly a danger to himself and others, not to mention he’s setting a terrible example as he’s someone who holds a high position. What should I do if I see him again?
Auntie’s answer: I am so glad you’ve asked this question as drinking and driving is an issue that really concerns me. Before I get into my response, in the interest of full disclosure, I will say from the outset that I have absolutely no tolerance for people who drink and then get behind the wheel of a car (or a motorcycle or scooter or bicycle for that matter – see Drinking and riding a bicycle). Zero, zilch, nada.
As for the prominent drinker you have seen driving, that person should be setting an example, not lowering the bar. By his actions, he is normalising behaviour that should not be normal. But as I am sure many people here know, he is not alone. There is an unfortunate culture in Cayman that somehow seems to accept drinking and driving as part of life (or death?). And this is despite the too many examples of deadly accidents caused by someone who was clearly impaired deciding it would be a fine idea to drive himself and his passengers home.
It is beyond time for that culture to change and this needs to start from the top. People in important and pre-eminent positions, especially politicians and police, need to be role models exhibiting the best behaviour they can, especially in public.
It is not difficult to choose to take a taxi to and/or from the bar or have a designated driver for the evening. I can think of no circumstance where it wouldn’t be acceptable to do so. And, of course, it is illegal to drive while under the influence.
Now specifically to your question, I suggest if you feel very strongly, the next time you see that person out drinking, you should tell him what you think about him driving home at the end of the evening. I also suggest you have the conversation before he has consumed too much alcohol, if possible. I know this may be difficult to do and perhaps that will make a difference, perhaps it won’t. But at least you can try.
You also probably have heard that the RCIPS has stepped up operations to catch drinking and driving offenders (see Cops call out ‘unacceptable conduct’ of drivers). I applaud that effort, though wish this increased emphasis had been standard operating procedure all along.
But we can all play a part. If you see a friend drinking in excess, offer to drive them home (or plead or yell, whatever it takes). Picking up their car the next morning is a lot less hassle and life-threatening than getting behind the wheel when intoxicated.
I look forward to the time I will not have to answer another question like yours.
Category: Ask Auntie