Post to the Host

Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.

Send GK Your Question »

Drunken Driving

May 22, 2008 | 5 Comments

Mr. Noir:
Why is the incidence of drunken driving so much higher in the Midwest than in other parts of the country?

Kenny W.
Craig, Colorado

The incidence of drunken driving is not higher, just the incidence of arrests. Chalk it up to more law enforcement. I can remember, back in the day, leaving parties when my ability to drive was in question and navigating the road home, trying not to cross that centerline. In Minnesota you just don't dare do that anymore. Cops are out in force, watching, waiting. They don't hesitate to make arrests. Thus the high incidence, thus the "shocking" story in the media about the Midwest.


Kenny might be referring to a recently published survey that found the highest rates of people having admitted to driving after drinking (not necessarily drunk, just driving after drinking) were in the upper Midwest states. For that survey, I think the percentages were so high because people here are just so gosh darn honest (that is, when polled by an anonymous caller. Ask them to their face at the church rummage sale, and you might get a different answer.)

If our state governments were preventive rather than "after the fact" all the money that is spent by states for the "alcohol programs" as a result of DUIs would be put into a fund that would pay cab companies to pick a person up from a bar (or wherever they have been drinking) take them home and then bring them back to their car the next day.

This is coming from a Detroit-area person who has to hide in his apartment for days after making comments like this, but I would imagine that less availability of comprehensive public transportation plays a large role as well.

If only the law enforcement in South Florida were would take their jobs as seriously as those in Minnesota. I have lived here in Miami since leaving Los Angeles in 2000 and let me tell you mister, it's free-for-all down here. Red lights are decorative, stop signs merely a suggestion and speed limit signs are tourists attractions and don't get me started on the drunks behind wheel. In the first 6 months I lived here I was caught behind whlle stopped at a light twice. Once not so bad but the second time wow what a mess. Be thankful that your police force is just that a force and not a farce as we have here.

I have to tell you, National Public Radio in general and The Prairie Home Companion in specific has changed my radio habits forever. I recently found myself in Connecticut on business and was using my uncle's car which had the radio tuned to the local NPR station. Not wanting to offend my relations by changing the station I "put up" with the classical music, All Things Considered and the other standard NPR fare. Anyhow, to make a short story long, upon my return home, I found myself tuning my own radio to NPR. It wasn't until that first weekend home though that I was hooked for good. I vaguely remember catching bits and pieces of the PHC at different times in my life; on my fathers radio, on AFRTS when deployed in the Navy. But I had never listened to a show start to finish. I finally did and I haven't missed one yet. My only problem is talking my wife into jumping off the deep end and accompanying me to the show at Blossom Music Center in a couple of weeks if I can still get tickets. Keep up the wonderful job and thanks.

Previous Post:
« Kids Songs

Next Post:
Thanks, History Buffs »

Post to the Host Archive

Complete Post to the Host Archive

American Public Media © |   Terms and Conditions   |   Privacy Policy