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Drunk Parents Did Not Drive, Gave Wheel to Child

By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on February 10, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

We all know we are not supposed to drive drunk anymore, as Helen Mirren's Super Bowl ad for Budweiser reminded us in no uncertain terms. "The collective we are dumbfounded that people still drive drunk," Mirren said.

But what should the "collective we" make of a Wisconsin couple that allowed their 9-year-old-daughter to drive them and an 11-month-old baby because they were too drunk to drive? The couple pled not guilty to charges of reckless endangerment of a child last week, Reuters reports, and indeed no one was hurt.

Too Drunk to Drive

On January 31, Polk County police got a call from someone who spotted erratic driving. Deputies found a car matching the description parked at a boat launch.

The deputy questioned the couple about their driving but they denied driving drunk, explaining that they had instead allowed their 9-year-old daughter to drive the family pickup truck. The parents -- Jason Roth, 36, and Amanda Eggert, 32 -- may have shirked driving under the influence charges but found themselves facing accusations of child endangerment.

Last week they pled not guilty to those charges. Eggert also pled not guilty to charges stemming from a fight with paramedics at the scene on January 31. She had been hurt earlier in the day in a snowmobiling incident.

The Collective We

Helen Mirren, speaking on behalf of Budweiser and "the collective we," said people who drive drunk are "shortsighted, utterly useless, oxygen-wasting human form of pollution."

While that characterization seems really extreme, there can be no doubt that the collective we would not approve of the option that Roth and Eggert chose instead, letting their child drive them around in a pickup truck with a baby in tow. If these parents donated their brains to science, the offering would be returned, to borrow Mirren's words.

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