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If you drink, don't drive; and if you drive, don't litter

October 8, 2010 - Rob Weaver
I haven’t seen any recent statistics for drinking and driving, so I’m not certain whether the number of drunken drivers is increasing or decreasing. But from the trash in the ditch in front of my house, I’d say there are fewer people drinking while driving. At least, there I’ve gathered less evidence of people drinking beer while riding in a vehicle. Once every week or two, you see, I mow the grass in the ditch near SR 18. More precisely, I mow the Queen Anne’s Lace, buckhorn and other green plants that provide ground cover in the ditch. While doing this chore, of course, I can’t help but notice the cans, bottles, cups and other trash deposited in the ditch by passersby. This year, I’ve picked up very few empty beer bottles and cans, far fewer than in previous years. That may mean fewer people are sipping beer while steering or riding in an automobile. However, I have noticed more fast-food cups and plastic water bottles and soda bottles. This prompts two questions: 1) Does being a pilot or passenger of a motor vehicle make people more thirsty these days? Does vehicular travel require greater hydration? The cup holder was invented well before I moved to my current address, so I know that feature isn’t the cause of moving libation. 2) What thought processes compels a person to toss empty beverage and food containers out a car window? Please ponder that second question for a moment. I can understand a driver or passenger who, upon finishing a fast-food meal, looks around and deciding he or she does not want this garbage cluttering up their vehicle’s interior. But do they then conclude that, while the trash would be an unsightly, though temporary, addition to their passenger compartment, the REST of the world surely would appreciate seeing it littering the ditch. “Yes, I’ll leave this trash by the roadside for my fellow travels to enjoy.” In addition to soda cups and sandwich wrappers, I did encounter a used diaper while mowing the ditch last summer. While I don’t condone littering, at least I can understand what moved the occupant to jettison the diaper from their car.


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