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by Bob (Ram) Muessig

     Recently, I read an article about driving hazards in one specific state. My first thought was ‘Why just THIS state?’. Driving can be hazardous no matter where you go, if you don’t stay on top of things and maintain your concentration and awareness of your surroundings. I read on. According to the article, 34% of the traffic accidents in this particular state were alcohol-related. Now, I began to understand. Also, according to the article, this state is #8 when it comes to traffic accidents. Why?

     I believe the answer is relatively simple. Alcohol plays a major role in many accidents, but the state doesn’t seem to do anything about the way the bars do business. In one major city, I discovered (personally) that the bars will sell "any drink for any coin". In other words, take a roll of pennies with you, and you can get totally sloshed for less than a buck! Often, those who partake of those "any coin offers" then go out, hop in their vehicles, and hit the road...literally! Does that make sense to you? It sure doesn’t to me. In some states, if you show visible signs of intoxication, they (the bars) are required to cut you off or not serve you at all. If they do serve you, and you go out and have an accident, not only is the bar liable, but so is the person(s) who served you, the bar manager, the owner(s), and everyone else connected with the bar, individually and collectively. Alcohol-related accidents in THOSE states are becoming rare. That, in itself, is a good thing! By regulating how the bars do business, some states have cut these alcohol-related accidents to a minimum. Perhaps, in time, there won’t be any of this type of accident. But let’s get back to this OTHER state...drinking is a major problem. Drinking and driving is an even GREATER major problem. Perhaps this is a problem in just this state, perhaps not. Regardless, the accident rate could be cut dramatically if the state would step in and begin to control how the bars operate. It’s obvious that the people are not controlling themselves.

     OK then. Allow the politicians, government officials, local authorities, and who knows who else, step in and regulate our lives. Do we want that to happen? I don’t think so. Personally, I believe that it would be much better if WE assumed the responsibilities of "self-regulation" than to allow federal, state, or local agencies do it for us. Let’s take driver training classes and educate ourselves where alcohol and substance abuse are concerned. We can minimize our risks this way and lessen the opportunity for our benevolent government officials to interfere with our lifestyle and our rights. They’ve done that often enough for other reasons, and our rights are being taken away, bit by tiny bit. I’m not fond of that "Big Brother" sort of thing, and I would hope that you’re not, either. I don’t believe that we got ourselves into the lifestyle we’ve chosen just to fight and argue with our governments. I’ve always thought that we just wanted to have fun.

     What I’m saying is this: If we don’t assume responsibility for ourselves, then the officials will. They’ll step in, tell us that we all have to have special types of endorsements on our licenses in order to drive RVs, then set up more agencies to police us (and that means raising taxes, which will cost all of us more money), and regulate the RVers in much the same manner as drivers of big trucks are regulated. Are we going to want to have to fill out log-books showing how far we’ve traveled over any given length of time, and how many hours we’ve driven, stop at weigh stations, be required to have 8 hours of rest in any 24-hour period, and be subject to fines or citations, suspension, or even revocation of our operator’s licenses if we violate any of those rules? I don't think so.  Is something like this likely to occur? Could be... California has already tried to get legislation passed regarding the "special endorsements" for RVers. They failed that time, but I’d be willing to bet that they’ll try it again. If they don’t, some other state - or the feds - will. Count on it.

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