An Analysis of the Causes and Effects of Drunk Driving in the United States

While driving down the road seventy miles an hour, a bug smashes into your windshield. You think, I || bet he ll never have the guts to do that again. The statement is true. However, it applies to more than just a dead bug. Since the invention of the automobile in 1903, a simple trip to the local grocery store may now prove fatal. The sudden death often leaves husbands, wives, and children alone. Why would someone die by simply driving down the road? While you may not realize it, the person coming directly at you may be drunk. Since Ford s production of the first automobile, drivers have driven drunk, taking many innocent lives and injuring others along the way; however, strides that have been taken in the prevention process have significantly decreased traffic related deaths and injury by drunk driving.

The causes of drunk driving are varied. In a market directed towards young men, the alcohol industry pays millions of dollars for advertising to increase consumption. In 1988 alone, consumers spent over eighty-eight billion dollars on alcoholic beverages (Holmes 17). That is enough money to feed children in Haiti for thousands of years. Public school systems are trying to counteract the industries attempts at targeting underage drinking. A high impact campaign was a useful, but not so effective alternative. Just Say No! is the slogan. For most students, just saying no is not that easy. Seventy percent of students are or will become moderate drinkers if their peers drink (Lang 95). A credit is given to Adam and Eve for bringing sin into the world. The majority of drinkers are drinking to produce happiness.

Consumers believe that alcohol reduces tension, and makes them more sociable; it is a downer, or depressant. Beliefs such as these are somewhat true, and as of now, law enforcement and the judicial system have not combated these beliefs with policies effective enough on their own. They are thus, ineffective deterrents. There is no excuse for drinking and driving. Alcohol is a drug. It depresses the nervous system and makes a person more relaxed. Although alcohol may be a social enhancement, the long-term and even short-term effects could be devastating. Thousands of families are affected each day by their relative s wrong choice. If you are going to drink, don t get behind the wheel. It is as simple as that.

Drunk driving is one of the most leading causes of death and traffic related injury in the United States today. The effects are reckless driving, the death toll, and the cost on the U.S. Alcohol severely increases your risk-taking behavior. Drunk driving not only puts your life at risk but the lives of those in cars around you. The NHTSA stated that fifty percent of fatal crashes are related to alcohol (Graeber 83). A drunk driver severally injures seven hundred thousand people each year. Seventyfour thousand drivers are killed each calendar year. Studies show that teens are 2.5 times more likely to be in a fatal crash as is an adult. While the U.S. only spends five percent of federal funds on prevention, they spend over eighty percent on treatment alone. The effects of drinking and driving not only affects you but the people around you who love and care for you.

Protection from drunk drivers is very important. Two things that could aid in protection are assessment of risk and expanded legislation. Single beverages can alter your motor skills to a degree, depending on your body mass and rate of consumption. Expanded legislation has been a great help in the protection process. The drinking age is now twenty-one. The laws are beneficial in that not as many underage teens can have access to alcohol. The law reduces traffic-related death and injury. Protect yourself in everyway possible so that you do not jeopardize those around you or even yourself.

Prevention is the most important step in protection. Policies and laws making alcohol less accessible and emphasizing risks are affecting shifts in drunk driving. The population of teens driving after drinking was only 18.9 percent, as noted after a survey of 5,000 high school students in thirty states where the BAC for teens is 0.02 percent (Recer 1). Drinking and driving has declined by twenty percent of teens that are in states with stricter drinking laws. The overall consumption of alcohol would be reduced with as little as one to ten percent increases in cost (Lang 118). The most important thing to remember if you go to a party and get drunk is to have a plan. A designated driver, cab or a dial-a-ride is all-important components in your plan. It is very dangerous to go to a party without a prearranged plan. While you may not realize it, decision making is more difficult while under the influence. One wrong choice may lead you to an early grave. This is the harsh reality of driving drunk or riding with someone who is drunk.

Two major components in combating drunk driving are two very elite groups. Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Students Against Drunk driving are trying to put a stop to drinking and driving. They are two separate groups with the same common goal. They are on a mission to save lives and preserve the sanctity of life. These two groups alone have seen miraculous steps in the prevention process since their creation. Groups such as these are what this world needs to combat one of our biggest problems.

The answer is simple. If you are drinking, then by all means do not drive. Too many American families are torn apart each year by a death related to drinking and driving. A mother does not want to have to take flowers to her seventeen-year-old sons grave. Have more respect for yourself than to let a drug control your very existence. While we may not realize it, with each breath we take we are one step closer to death. Drinking and driving can make that happen even sooner than expected. Alcohol is bad. It is one of the worst things man has invented. Just Say No! Alcohol is one of man s most deadly killers. We are not to abuse this by drinking and driving.

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