Thanksgiving has come and gone, and the season of Holiday Parties is now upon us. It is a time of year when we get together with friends and families, and our kids come home from college. Wrapped with the expected joy often comes the heartbreak of injury, death and sometimes arrest.
Many of us have had the misfortune of knowing someone who was injured during the holiday season as a result of drunk driving. Some of us have represented the offender in a subsequent civil suit and some have represented the victim’s family. Others of us have simply read about it in the newspaper and thanked God that it wasn’t us or one of our children.
As members of the Bar with unique perspectives on the legal impact underage drinking and impaired driving can have on society, I say that it is incumbent upon us to speak out at this time of year. We can make sure that our office parties are monitored or alcohol free, or at the very least we provide free transportation home for our colleagues. We can make sure that if we are hosting a party at our house that we remain sober so that we can assist any of our guests that need it. Above all, in my opinion, we need to make sure that our children understand the consequences of underage drinking and that we do NOTHING to enable them. Tracey and I are not so naïve to believe that our girls will not be in situations where they or their friends are drinking alcohol. However they know the expectations we have of them, and that they can call us anytime, no questions asked, if they feel in trouble or need to leave. We will deal with the alcohol issue, if any, after they are safely at home.
DRI member Dick Campbell of Boston has developed a phenomenal program called “Be a Parent Not a Pal” (www.socialhostliability.org) that I encourage everyone to learn more about. It is the kind of giving back that DRI members do all the time because it is right, not because they want glory. Thanks Dick, and I for one am going to try to get the Hopkinton School District to put on the presentation for the High School.