The Horrors of drunk Driving: Images of Impact at Sprout Gallery

October 2017

The Background

Fatal and non-fatal alcohol related automobile crashes happen every day. Almost anyone you speak to will have a story about a ‘drunk driving incident’—a near miss, family or friends hurt or killed - lives changed forever.

The Motivation

Dr Jason Hack, Emergency Medicine Physician at RI Hosptial found himself at a unique crossroads of personal, professional and artistic impetus to create this show. 

His personal motivation is as a father, husband and friend—dreadful statistics suggest that his loved ones might be involved in an alcohol related crash at any time. 

His professional motivation stems from being an Emergency Physician for 20 years.  He cares for people involved in alcohol related car crashes during almost every shift in the ER.

His Artistic came from taking photographs of alcohol containers, mostly the small empty bottles of liquor (nips), that he finds discarded on the roadways. The casualness of these discarded bottles - out of cars onto the streets - Tossed and Forgotten. 

Was it someone’s attempt to hide evidence of a dangerous habit?

Was it a selfish act compounding the thoughtless transgression of drinking in a vehicle? Was it an ignorance of the social contract - that we should all be protecting one another?

The Goal

To begin conversations about drinking and driving among friends and strangers, young and old, parents and children - like it or hate it, there is a response and people remember.

The Work

The show consists of 12 B/W photos and 1 color that are custom framed.

These number of images reflects the 12 months of the year during which we need to be proactive in teaching people how dangerous and destructive drinking and getting behind the wheel can be—for themselves, their loved ones, and their community. 

The 13th image is in color and caps the show, bridging the viewers experience with the work and brings them back to the current moment. 

The containers are photographed in high contrast exactly where and how they were found on the streets.  The stark images are composed in the style of 1940's crime scene photos.  The bottles lay silent in sharp edged relief, revealing the details of the interaction between fragile alcohol containers caught between the mass and speed of vehicles and the hard pavement—crushed and scraped, laying in the road, against a curb or on median grass. 

Each image is entitled with a euphemism for being intoxicated—Smashed, Trashed, Wasted, Wrecked.  Popular terms that are used to describe people who are grossly intoxicated, but are also terms that are also used to describe destruction and violence. 

The Numbers

Regionally our driving environment includes emergency departments that average at least one alcohol related crash victim every single day; and nationally 2 out of 3 people will be involved in a drunk driving incident in their lifetimes; 290,000 injuries occurred in drunk driving incidents in 2014. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reports that impaired drivers have driven intoxicated 80 times before their first arrest. 

Come see this show and have a conversation with someone you love. It might save a life.