From time to time, it might strike Bryan and College Station residents that the punishments handed out for drunk driving offenses are unreasonably harsh. After all, we all make mistakes, right?

But one recent incident in Maryland illustrates why authorities take drunk driving very seriously. It may not have happened in Texas, but sadly, it could have happened here just as easily as it happened there.

The incident we're talking about was a fatal crash that left four people dead. It happened when a car of three teenagers crashed head-on in a 55-year-old's vehicle. All the people involved were killed.

What's unusual and sad about this accident is that both drivers, the 19-year-old girl behind one wheel and the 55-year-old man behind the other, were intoxicated at the time of the collision. Since their senses were impaired, it is unlikely either could have done anything to avoid the fatal crash once it become clear it was going to occur.

Now, this is not at all to say that any time someone drives drunk, a tragedy of this magnitude will strike. That just is not true. But it does show why we all need to practice moderation when we need to drive after drinking and why courts don't take drunk-driving offenses lightly.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Both drivers drunk in Arundel crash that killed four," Peter Hermann, Feb. 1, 2012