I am planning a new event for Camping Fantastic and as I do it I have run into a dilemma or maybe just a thought point. The Ojai Valley Wine Festival is happening on June 13, 2010 at Lake Casitas. I wanted to make this into a camping trip but it is looking like we would have very low attendance. I think this is due in part that the wine festival happens on a Sunday and most people work on Monday. The second option is a party bus which might be in the works. I am very opposed to drinking and driving but I think we live in a society that says one thing but does another. Last year I planned this same event but had to cancel it because the participants preferred driving to the event, drinking and then leaving in a vehicle. They preferred risking DUI over safe tent camping. Which leads me to my rant.
Why is it that wine festivals and wineries have events in the middle of nowhere and then expect people to drink and drive? Or why do bars have parking lots? Would offering transportation be more responsible?
It just seems like a giant double standard to me. We are told that we are not supposed to drink and drive and yet society is structured around drinking and driving. Two weeks ago when I was driving up the coast on my way to Big Sur, I saw a giant billboard stating that you can pull off the freeway and go wine tasting at a winery that was literally off the freeway on a little driveway. The billboard basically implied that you would drive and then later drink and then drive. The winery will go un-named.
Try to find a designated driver at a bar? Just try. Do you really mean to tell me that the people attending these wine festivals and visiting bars do not drink? I just don’t see it that way. And since you can receive a DUI for having as little as 2 beers, I find it hard to believe that every person at the event or bar is only consuming a few drinks. I just don’t get it. Furthermore if you do drink a little to much and you decide to sleep it off in your car you can be arrested for a dui even if the car is not running, you are not driving and you are in the passenger seat. (www.totaldui.com/news/articles/headlines/dui-arrest-not-driving-march-09.aspx) As long as your keys are in your pocket or the ignition you can be arrested for DUI. It is considered “intent to drive”. If I hold a knife is that “intent to murder?” I think it is policies like these that make people distrust law enforcement and do not improve safety. You are either driving or not driving right?
The law is telling us “Just drink and drive and try not to get caught”. If you do the right thing you will be arrested.
I just really don’t get it. Now don’t get me wrong I do believe that DUI is a problem and I do believe that people do get hurt or killed because of drunk driving. In fact I had a close friend die because he was hit head on by a drunk driver on PCH. And after his memorial everyone went out for “drinks”. I just don’t get it. I didn’t go because I thought drinking and driving is wrong. I do believe it is the high level BAC drivers or “drunks” that cause the majority of these type of accidents and not the casual drinkers or people that have a glass of wine with dinner.
However it is not as large of a problem that we are made to believe. In fact the statistics that the DMV and MADD use are exaggerated and fabricated to push their agenda which is neo prohibition, increased enforcement, and fines. (http://www.duiblog.com/2005/05/04/lies-damned-lies-and-madd-statistics/)
I am completely convinced that DUI enforcement is a money making industry by itself and has nothing to do with safety. If it was about safety then MADD and the CHP would be offering free shuttles to your local bar or offer cab vouchers for a safe way home. Or maybe the bar could offer a shuttle? (http://gltnewsnow.com/2010/04/24/new-park-2-park-shuttle-offers-convenience-safety-for-neighborhood-night-owls/) Good to know that a few places are already embracing this idea. (www.examiner.com/x-4563-Des-Moines-College-Bars-Examiner~y2010m5d2-Drink-all-over-Des-Moines-with-The-Shuttle?cid=edition-rss-Des_Moines)
And furthermore just try to take public transportation to your local bar to be safe, most buses stop running at 8pm and the subway and light rail stop service between 1230 and 1:00am well before the bars close. After many calls and emails to the MTA the local light rail and subway in Los Angeles still shuts down before the bars close.
What about a cab? If you choose to take a cab it will cost you $20-$60 just to get home (5-20miles) one way. I think because of these facts society has shown that drinking and driving is actually not a big deal. Most people will drink and drive over taking a cab or relying on a subway that doesn’t operate past midnight. The odds of you actually being pulled over are about 1 in 200. (www.dui.com/dui-library/studies/research/stopped-for-dui)
One new years eve I went with a friend to a huge club. We did everything the right way (took the subway and then took a cab). And after waiting for a cab for an hour and waiting on the slow train my friend actually told me this “Next year I will just drink and drive, taking public transportation was a complete pain in the ass”. I think a local shuttle sponsored by drinking establishments may be the appropriate way to handle this problem. Or maybe we embrace the double standard so that we can hire more police officers, keep the courts full and pretend that we care.
The Ojai Valley Wine festival happens on June 13, 2010. Camping Fantastic is still trying to find the logistics of how to get there safely. Please sign up for our event if you want to drink wine without getting into a vehicle. The event will either be 3 days of camping or 1 day of party bus. Have a great day.