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Drink Driving. Do we as a society take this offence too lightly?

Drink Driving. It is one of those issues that I have zero tolerance for. I think you make a decision to not only put your own life at risk but also that of innocent others who are getting on with their lives. Accidents happen but when someone involved in the accident has their judgment impaired either by drugs or drink then it isn’t strictly an accident is it?

Fast forward to the reason of this blog post. Local Radio DJ and former pop star Tracie has been found guilty of drink driving and has subsequently been banned from driving for 14 months. Seems a pretty straightforward case but if you click on the link the comments are rabid in one direction or another and it has sparked quite a debate.

It seems as though there were some extenuating circumstances revolving around the case, namely that her 14 year-old son was was caught up inside a police cordon of an armed siege. Now whilst her son was not directly involved in the situation you can certainly understand some sort of parental instinct taking over. She hasn’t seemingly used this as an excuse and has assumed full responsibility for her actions which I do find more than admirable.

I am a wee bit disappointed that there doesn’t seem to be some sort of community service punishment within this sentence as I believe that all drink driving offences should also include community service orders. However what I’m not disappointed in is the fact that her employers Southend Radio 105.1 have stood by her. Her employers released this statement via managing director Mark Jeeves:

“Tracie Young has been a valued and respected member of the on-air broadcasting team at Southend Radio since the station launched.

“Because of our longstanding relationship with her, we know her actions on this particular occasion were wholly out of character and brought about by exceptional circumstances – concern for her young son, who was caught up in an armed siege.

“Given these circumstances, and the dedication Tracie continues to show for Southend Radio, we are happy to stand by her during this difficult time.”

She didn’t deserve a double-whammy of losing her job as well. People make mistakes in life and do deserve second chances. Whilst I think the sentence was a tad soft in not enforcing some sort of community service (something that I do truly believe can work in cases like these) I am glad that one mistake hasn’t completely ruined her life. She should thank her lucky stars that her decisions didn’t amount of causing distress and heartache to innocent people.

Drink driving is just something that is taken far too much for granted in my opinion. You make a decision to get behind the wheel when you shouldn’t and you do that alone. Whilst there might be reasons behind doing no-one ever should. However no-one is perfect and sometimes you can at least understand why sometime makes that decision.

It is a crime that needs looking at under a far stricter microscope than we – as a society – currently do. In this case the guilty party has taken her medicine well and not tried to heap blame on to anybody else. However it was only mere luck that this offence didn’t become something far worse. Any drink driving incident could be so much worse and even though 99 times out of 100 nothing will happen – that hundredth time the consequences will be dire.

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