The Mast-Head: Drinking and Driving

For me at least, incidents like these have more of a lingering effect the closer they are to home

   No one in our household, nor at Russell and Fiona Bennett’s place up the way, heard the sirens Saturday night.
    It was a little after 10 p.m. when, according to a police report, a drunken driver flipped his BMW convertible, injuring himself and two passengers. We did not know about it until much later, when my sister sent us an e-mail saying she had heard of it on Facebook.
    In the morning, I went to look at the scene. Police investigators had indicated with orange spray paint the tire marks from Richard D. Forman’s BMW as it veered right toward a slight incline on the grassy shoulder, then skidded left across Cranberry Hole Road and into the trees.
    Four days later, the mess remains — a downed trunk, a toppled sign. The orange marks are also still visible where the police made them. And each time I drive past I get a little more upset.
    For me at least, incidents like these have more of a lingering effect the closer they are to home. Thursday’s crash on County Road 39 in Southampton in which a woman was killed when she apparently turned into the path of a Hampton Ambassador bus was tragic, yet farther away both in actual distance and emotional impact. A drunken driver sweeping across my own road, the route I travel a couple of times a day, often with my children in my truck, feels different.
    Cranberry Hole Road is one of those back routes that just invites drivers to speed. Long ago, my wife and I agreed not to let the kids ride bikes on the road near our house, except perhaps in the deep off-season and even then with adult supervision. There are now just too many cars going too fast to make us feel secure. Add to that drunks racing home from Lord knows where, and we are left with a sense of foreboding every time we pull out of the driveway.
    Mr. Forman, who refused a breath-alcohol test, will be relieved of his driver’s license for six months, perhaps more. What such punishment does not do is make our road any safer. There will always be someone else willing to take a chance, putting my family’s life — and their own — in danger.