We have all seen the numbers – 1500 people killed annually by Impaired Drivers, 20-25 Billion (yes, that’s supposed to be a B) dollars spent annually (again not a mistake), 35-45% of Motor Vehicle Collisions involve alcohol (haven’t really been able to budge that one in 15 years other than up) – but no one talks about the opportunity costs.
What are opportunity costs? That is what we have lost that we can’t really put a dollar value on.
For example, what if one of the 4 people killed today was going to find the cure for cancer in 5 years? or what if one of the 4 people killed on July 24th last year had just figured out the cure to MS and was heading into the lab to write it all down? What if one of the 4 people killed on January 10, 2000 was about to find out the secret to stroke prevention?
Do you know a diabetic that is only alive today because of insulin injections? What if Frederic Banting (discovered insulin) had been killed when he was only 20 years old? What if Chris Hadfield, Wayne Gretzky, Getty Lee (Celine Dion, Justin Bieber, and Carly Rae Jepson are just too controversial but I’m pretty sure that Rush gave us the definitive way to identify each other as Canadians – simply play the first four notes of Tom Sawyer on a guitar. Every Canadian in the room will pick up their air guitar for the next 4 notes. We can’t help it.), Ken Dryden (think Canada vs Russia here, not House of Commons. Whatever would we watch on TV during a hockey strike if Canada had lost in 1972?), Roberta Bondar (showed little girls across Canada that they too could kick a&$ in space), Romeo Dallaire (representing all of Canada’s Peacekeepers and bringing attention to the Rwandan genocide ), Craig Keilburger or Marc Keilburger (I mentioned them as an “or” because I truly believe that, as siblings, they are much more successful as a whole than as 2 halves ), William Shatner or James Doohan (Kirk and Scottie from the original Star Trek series – I’m trying to be inclusive), what if they had been killed by drunk drivers? You’ll notice that I skipped politicians. That’s because half of you would have reason to be upset and the other half would say that we would be better off.
Are you getting my point? We may never know what we lost and may end up suffering greatly because we were just too complacent to try to fix it. Just because you haven’t lost someone or had someone injured by a drunk driver doesn’t mean their not taking something from all of us.
PS – Please don’t read anything into my choice of Canadians to play the “what if” game. If you don’t like my choices then feel free to substitute at will. It’s 2am and I can’t get to sleep, so brain function is well below even my normal. I’m lucky that I could even come up with that many when I’m this tired. For that matter I’m lucky if I can remember my own name when I’m this tired.