Best drinking rule — don’t drink and drive

It seems simple. And it really is.

There’s no excuse for impaired driving, of any degree. And violators need to be prosecuted and removed from our highways.

Natalie Harvey, public information spokesperson for the state Division of Motor Vehicles, summed it up pretty well last week in an interview with The Register-Herald.

“Certainly, anything that is going to reduce fatalities and injuries on our roadways is worth looking into,” she stated.

Impaired driving costs thousands of lives in the United States every year — unnecessarily.

An effort is on by the National Transportation Safety Board for states to redefine their DUI-statuses, dropping Blood Alcohol Content levels from .08 to .05.

Hopefully, ad campaigns that endorse the idea of designating a sober driver have made an impact on how our society thinks about the importance of not driving drunk, and having a plan if someone has too many drinks while away from home.

But while there are still instances of impaired drivers taking the lives of innocent victims, for some it still isn’t enough. Folks aren’t getting the message, ignore it or are simply defying the law. The crackdown on those people needs to continue.

Any impairment is not worth the risk. Still allowing for one or two drinks, based on body weight and other factors, is giving citizens the liberty to decide if they are able to operate a motor vehicle in a safe manner. That’s scary enough.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, told The Register-Herald that it is possible a legislator would offer a lower BAC bill in an upcoming session, while also predicting other states will make a similar attempt.

Sen. Daniel Hall, D-Wyoming, an insurance adjuster, said he would be willing to support such legislation, provided there is ample evidence to support the NTSB’s claims that a lower BAC results in a reduction in injuries and deaths in highway crashes.

“If they have significant and accurate research to show this will help with impaired driving, I could support it,” Hall said.

We think the NTSB recommendation needs to be explored further.

The Highway2Enforcement Conference, hosted by The Governor’s Highway Safety Program at The Resort at Glade Springs last week, recognized 52 police officers from around the state who have focused on detecting and apprehending influenced drivers.

We share in the salute. As we stated above, it’s quite simple, no matter what the BAC might be.

If you drink, don’t drive.

If you drive, don’t drink.

That’s a policy we can all live with.

— from the May 21 edition of

the Register-Herald in Beckley



The other Patton

A recent editorial about West Virginia’s upcoming sesquicentennial described leaders involved in the state’s stormy creation during the Civil War — but a picture of Confederate commander George S. Patton inadvertently was replaced by a photo of his World War II grandson. Here’s some background:

The ancestor Patton was born in 1833 at Fredericksburg, attended Virginia Military Institute, then brought his family in 1856 to Charleston to launch a law practice. (He bought the home of the Rev. James Craik, rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church, which remains the historic Craik-Patton House museum today.)

Realizing that armed conflict might break out, Patton organized volunteers from the slavery-filled Kanawha Valley into what became the Kanawha Riflemen. Members in elegant dress uniforms were popular at Charleston banquets, balls and parades. One account says Col. Patton took his militia to an 1858 Ohio event, where quarreling with a Yankee militia nearly started the Civil War early.

After the war erupted, Patton’s troops fought federal soldiers at Scary Creek in 1861. He was wounded in the shoulder and allowed to return to Charleston as an exchanged prisoner. The following year, he was wounded again at Giles Courthouse and again exchanged as a prisoner. In 1863, his 2,000 troops helped stall Union forces at White Sulphur Springs.

Finally, as Union brigades fought Confederates in the Shenandoah Valley, Patton was wounded in the leg in the third battle of Winchester and was taken prisoner a third time. He refused to let his leg be amputated, and died of the wound in 1864 at merely 32 years of age. The Confederate Congress reportedly had promoted him to general, but no record of the promotion can be found. His brother, Tazewell Patton, died in Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg.

After the war, a son in Charleston — also named George Smith Patton — moved to California and became the first mayor of San Marino. His son — a third George Smith Patton — was born in 1885 and spent his life in the military, becoming the tough-talking hero general of World War II.


— from the May 20 edition of the Charleston Gazette

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