Back in the 1980s, I wrote, produced and directed a documentary video called GET MADD… a comprehensive documentary about the horrors of driving under the influence, or, as it is called, DRUNK DRIVING.
The video received national attention. It won the New York Television Festival as best documentary and it was used by many police departments in the USA as part of their victim impact panels.
In the state of Nevada not only was this documentary seen at the Victim Impact Panels, it was also shown on multiple TV screens at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Las Vegas.
As people waited to take their written driver’s license test or take care of some other requirement at the DMV, they watched the documentary calling attention to the horrors of drunk driving.
For me it was a production of great value not for the award it won, but for the good I was hoping it would do to curtail people from driving under the influence and killing innocent people.
We videotaped this documentary from one end of the state of Nevada to the other. During production we filmed drunk driver accidents that occurred as we were filming. Sadly, some of those accidents had caused the deaths of innocent people.
We documented interviews with people who had lost loved ones due to the negligence of a drunk driver; heart-rending stories that impacted everyone on our production staff and technical crew.
At one point during the production, I decided to stage an accident right in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip. I went to the sheriff and asked if he would help by closing off the Strip in front of the Imperial Palace Hotel, where I wanted to stage the accident.
The sheriff, who was a man who understood the need for such a documentary, agreed. We videotaped a “horrific accident” right on the Las Vegas Strip when the sidewalks were crammed with tourists.
I staged a young man and young lady wearing a wedding gown, who seemingly were just married, crossing the street in a crosswalk.
Suddenly a drunk driver hit and killed them both. Hundreds of people were watching as we shot the scene, and even though it was obvious that we were staging all that happened, when the stuntman and stunt-woman got hit by the car driven by a drunk driver, people in the crowd began to scream, believing it really happened. Well, I thought, I’ll bet none of those folks will ever drink and drive!
Recently I read a local Las Vegas magazine that carried a story about driving under the influence detailing facts about the local Las Vegas police being hampered by lack of funds inhibiting their ability to capture drunk drivers!
Then I checked the statistics and discovered that over 10,000 people were killed by drunk drivers in the USA last year! Oh my God!
I was appalled even more when I discovered that the death toll attributed to drunk drivers in the USA is double the civilian death toll in a war-torn country like Iraq.
Something must be done to stop this slaughter on America’s highways and in our cities, towns and rural areas.
Maybe the penalties aren’t severe enough! Maybe a person arrested for driving under the influence should lose their driving privilege for one year for the first offense. Presently, the loss of a driving privilege for one year only occurs after the second offense.
I’ve always wondered how many times a person who gets caught driving under the influence has driven that way without being caught?