Tip & Tricks

Where Did Drunk Driving Come From

by Mike Aven

Automobiles were invented way after the drunk driving started to exist. Drunk animal riders were theoretically the founders of what we try to be careful with nowadays. In the past, alcoholic beverages played an essential role in every nation. Ensuring the clear water flow is constant was a tough task. Keeping in mind the fact that without any modern methods of preservation, stored water stagnates faster than you might think. We take for granted the clear water in our faucets. However, in the order it to get to our

homes immense amount of water has to be collected first, processed for ensuring it is safe, and properly stored for future usage. The whole process of collecting, processing and distributing safe water was invented in the 20th century. Before this innovation, drinkable and clear water was in low supply even in America. Just a century ago, water was a haven for such diseases like cholera, dysentery and typhoid, killing thousands of innocent people.

People were living that way for decades.

As a man abandoned his cave to build up villages and towns, supplies of clean water had to be stored for its citizen. Sooner or later, water sources were spoiled either by wild animal or some other tribes. Eventually, people discovered a preserved water product - alcohol. It could not only be stored longer but was clear of pathogenic bacteria, since most germs causing deadly viruses could not live or survive in such environment. Respectively, alcoholic beverages became a must in people's lives back in the day. Moreover, alcohol was also highly used as a medicine to ease pain and act as a detergent for germs.

Egyptian household was busy brewing beer every day

According to some historical facts, slaves drank about 1 ½ gallons of beer daily while building the Great Pyramid in Giza. While tipsy slaves did not ride camels or other animals, we can only imagine how much gallons of beer was being produced in the past. Every Egyptian household was busy brewing beer every day. Meanwhile, people from the higher society like pharaohs and kings drank mostly wine. Not only the Tut’s tomb contained vessels of wine and paintings showing the process of making or consuming this beverage.

Throughout history, alcohol is continuously mentioned. It should not be difficult to believe there were tipsy chariot drivers in early Rome and Egypt. The ruler of the Huns, Attila died somewhere near the year of 445 right on his wedding from a nosebleed because of an alcohol overdose. As it is most commonly pictured, Attila probably rode his horse while being a heavy drinker.

Hannibal’s army rode on elephant backs after heavy drinks.

Most armies centuries ago were able to drink alcohol both before and after going on a battle. Think an about the quantity of those drunken horsemen. Drunken horsemen and carriage drivers were everywhere. Soon after 1800’s when a vehicle called bicycle was invented, drunk people were continually falling off them.

In every culture, alcohol overindulgence was undesirable during thousands of years.

Basically, alcohol was so crucial to people’s lives, that any moderations were tolerated to some degree. The actual proof fact that abusers of alcohol exist is the repeatedly similar situations throughout the history.

During the Industrial Revolution times, it is evident that a crowd of workers was not working efficiently enough sometimes. Having to work at a particular time did not stop them from their habit. Employers had to routinely warn their employees not to get carried away by alcohol, because of safety reasons. As the warning existed, the problem became even more noticeable. Numerous accidents happened just because of alcohol consumption at a working place.

The very first actual arrest caused by drunk driving happened in London in 19 century, when George Smith crashed his car into a building. After the first car was introduced in America, there was lack of regulations on this matter. At first, cars were used mostly by the wealthiest part of society. After a while, anybody with the necessary tools and materials could run a business, creating engines on wheels.

Since cars became more popular, governments started to think about new ways to tax its owners even if the necessary laws for were not indicated. As an example, the Division of Automobile Licensing and Registration of South Carolina was created in 1917. It stated rules regarding issuing licenses and how to collect fees. Still, no actual vehicle laws that had to be followed.

Without any official automobile directives, American citizens were legally driving as they want to.

Eventually, the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution became a rule. The actual name of the amendment was the Volstead act. Drinking was not allowed within the nation. Of course, crime was prospering as people were violating the new law.

However, the “Bone Dry” rules were brought into being in 1918, in Alaska, just about two years before the Volstead Act. Hand-made alcohol was a flourishing business.

Within the business area of Anchorage, speakeasies were connected to each other in an underground network, hiding from the Territorial Police. Essentially, speakeasies were hidden bars across the country. People proceed to drink and drive no matter what.

Things had changed when new regulations for automobiles were filed up in the middle of 1930s.

In 1935, Indiana started to issue driver’s licenses to those wishing. A driver had to purchase the license for 50 cents, forming the Highway Patrol’s salary and paying for the equipment used.

Already after four years, the state of Indiana was the first to enact a BAC law. The allowed level of alcohol in blood was set at .15 for any driver, which is twice today’s .08 legal limit.

In the year of 1969, Ted Kennedy (1932-2009) drove his car off Dike Bridge, the one between Chappaquiddick Island and Martha’s Vineyard. Luckily, the story had a positive ending for him, while Mary Jo Kopechne, who was his passenger at that time, died while being trapped underwater. Authorities received an alert message a few hours later. Some people believe Kennedy wanted to sober up a little before police came. This situation kept Kennedy out of the Whitehouse. He continued to develop his political career, and this topic has slowly faded away.

Drunk driving was regulated continuously, especially in the 80s. That time, the MADD came into prominence. New devices as ignition interlock started to appear in the late 80’s. Already in 1984, the minimum age eligible to drink was set to 21 years.