Drivers’ ‘Screw Everybody’ Attitude

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - June 28, 2006

Traffic fatalities on Oahu are on the rise, easily outpacing last year’s numbers.

Why is that?

Several explanations are offered in response.

Drivers are speeding more than ever.

Inebriated people are getting behind the wheel.

Too many drivers are gabbing on cell phones.

Pedestrians are careless in taking unnecessary risks in crossing streets.

The roads themselves are in such disrepair that drivers are swerving to avoid craters on the highways and streets.

I am certain these conditions contributing to the escalating number of deaths on our roads.

Here’s another explanation: Selfishness.

That’s right. Some people are selfish and self-centered, and when these folks get into a vehicle, this attitude is unleashed. When a driver is speeding to the point of endangering lives, what he is really saying is “Screw everybody else.”

These drivers don’t care about the consequences while they are blowing past you on the H-1 or H-2, Pali or Likelike, Kamehameha or Farrington. It doesn’t matter because they don’t give a rip. By driving like maniacs, they don’t care about themselves, let alone anybody else. A lack of caring for human life is the most dangerous element on our roads - and society - today.

I think those who kill somebody while driving drunk should be charged and convicted of murder, period. The recent case of the Kubo kid getting off with a slap on the wrist was nauseating. Here is a guy who knowingly drove a vehicle while plastered. His actions killed a mother of six and destroyed her family. His sentence for this mayhem: one year in prison and probation.

This was not an “accident.” He didn’t accidentally drink too many cocktails. He did not accidentally decide to get into the driver’s seat. He didn’t accidentally put the key in the ignition, start it and then take to the streets. Consequently, it was not an accident that he plowed into his victim’s vehicle. A series of voluntary actions led to a tragic consequence.

Kubo and others of his ilk were selfish to a fatal fault. He may not have started his night of drinking by saying, “I think I’ll go out and kill someone tonight.” Nevertheless, he did not stop to think, “If I drive and I’m drunk, I could kill someone tonight.” His selfishness and self-absorption, along with an immature approach to drinking, were the compelling reasons behind the death of his innocent victim.

The increased penalty for drunk driving is welcome. But if we want to make our streets safer, it will take a change of mentality. Since carelessness is an indication of a lack of consequence, perhaps graphic images of vehicular fatalities would assist in changing our mindset. I know it sounds grisly, but nothing else seems to be working.

I recommend exposing all drivers, upon obtaining and renewing a license, be required to view a two-minute video of the very real consequence of automobile accidents. Perhaps this will be the image that flashes in the minds of those who would dangerously speed or drink and drive. I’d much rather have them see this image rather than have another lead story on the evening news.

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