This story could have been a lot worse. Someone traveling at 80-100 miles an hour with a blood alcohol level of five times the legal limit is a death machine.
So what should be done? I know! Let’s lower the legal blood alcohol limit; that ought to do it.
That’s been the lazy and, I think, largely ineffectual solution in the past. It’s easy to get legislation past lowering the legal blood alcohol limit. I mean, who is going to vote in favor of drunk driving? But I think it misses the point. The very dangerous situations aren’t caused by people with .08 levels or the next stop on the lower limit express, .06. It’s people who are blasted out of their minds, some with astonishingly high levels of alcohol in their systems. And that’s a harder problem to tackle, mostly because by the time someone gets that way, they’re not thinking logically and are almost never receptive to the fact that they are in no condition to drive.
I’m not sure what the solution is. Whatever the answer, it has to get to these people before they become a danger. It seems to me the “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk” campaign has waned over the years. Maybe it wasn’t working, I don’t know.
It’s ultimately a personal decision to drive drunk, so it would seem making that decision as socially unacceptable as possible would be a worthy goal. Or maybe there is only so much prevention and intervention (including by law enforcement) that is possible. That is, we are always going to have the occasional act of irresponsibility as long as alcohol is available for consumption and we may be reaching the law of diminishing returns as we try to totally eradicate it.