I always found Roger Ebert’s film reviews to be informative and insightful, even when I disagreed with his assessment. But his Tweet, in response to the story that TMZ broke concerning Ryan Dunn (“Jackass” film star) and unidentified passenger had died in a car accident after a night of drinking, was perhaps his most accurate review to date. # “Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive.”
Yes, I do understand the risk of jumping to conclusions, and I assume Ebert will apologize if information shows the accident was not Ryan Dunn’s fault. That said I understand why Ebert would be angry after hearing TMZ’s report that Dunn’s drinking buddy claims Ryan had at least 3 beers and 3 shots before hitting the road in his Porsche. The police in the Philadelphia suburb of West Goshen, Pa. released a statement that said “excessive speed may have been a contributing factor.” I also feel for the Dunn’s family and friends, and can understand complaints that people might be too quick to place the blame at his feet; but it was he that chose to put his foot on the gas pedal after a night of heavy drinking.
For me this story has two simple messages, don’t “Drink and Drive,” and that we all have a moral obligation not to let our friends drive drunk.
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2004, 16,694 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes. With statistics like that, it is impossible not to take the reckless actions of these stars seriously.
Alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes kill someone every 31 minutes and non-fatally injure someone every two minutes (NHTSA 2006). We must understand that a DUI is a serious offence because of the potential for these actions to end with people lying dead on the side of the road.