Enforcing Stronger Laws on Repeat Drunk Drivers

May 9, 2011
By Sarah.R. BRONZE, Wilsonville, Oregon
Sarah.R. BRONZE, Wilsonville, Oregon
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Ever since I was little I’ve been growing up learning of the lives being lost to drunk driving accidents, especially the lost lives of adolescents. My dad works for Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office and my mom worked for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.). My mom used to bring home informational videos telling us about the problem, and seeing them made me tear up at times. My life has been circulating around this dangerous topic that is taking over 200 lives each year per state. Every year thousands of lives are lost to drunk driving, especially among teens. Teenage drunk driving has taken the lives of many, including people who were being responsible and not even drinking. These under the influence accidents often attack and affect the innocent in many of these situations.

Blood alcohol content also known as B.A.C. refers to the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood. The blood alcohol content is measured as weight per unit of volume. This measurement is then converted to a percentage such as 0.10%, this indicates that one-tenth of a percent of a person’s blood is alcohol. Since blood is always circulating and flowing through the body, the alcohol in the blood flows directly to the brain affecting the cognitive functioning. By having a very high BAC it is increasing the risk to themselves and others by operating a motor vehicle (University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center).

Drunken driving is continuing to be a serious social and safety problem. The damage of drunk driving accidents is endless; the lives of innocent victims being taken, the injuries of countless more victims, and additionally the millions of dollars in damage. If more strict laws are enforced against repeat offenders, than more lives can be saved. Even though in most states the laws are becoming more strict, still people disregard the new laws and continue to drive drunk. These people who have driven drunk repeatedly and have been faced with punishments are called hardcore drunk drivers. These drunk drivers tend to drive with a BAC of 0.10-0.15 or over. These repeat offenders are one of the main causes of the ever growing list of fatalities. Just as they account for the largest percent of fatalities due to alcohol-related car crashes per year. These repeat offenders are known to be highly resistant to changing their behavior in these situations or receiving treatment for their poor actions (Century Council). They continue to account for the ever growing fatalities caused by drunk drivers. In 2009 more than 70% of drivers who were involved in an alcohol-impaired driving fatality car crash had a BAC level of .15 or higher. This statistic has remained unchanged for over the past decade. Last year over three percent of drunk drivers had recently been involved in an alcohol-impaired car crash within the past three years. Among these drivers, who had previous DUI/DWI convictions, 44% of them were involved in a fatal car crash and had a very high BAC level of 0.10 to 0.15 or higher at the time of the incident (NHTSA/FARS).
In 2011 the United States hit a record low amount of deaths for teenage drivers. In fact last year only 1,398 adolescents under the age of twenty-one died from alcohol impaired car accidents. Whereas, in 1982 there were 5,215 adolescent deaths caused by alcohol related crashes. Which is a 73% decrease in deaths compared to 1982, but youth fatalities still account for 13% of the overall alcohol-impaired fatalities in the U.S. (NHTSA/FARS). Even though there has been such a huge decrease in the number of fatalities, still every day at least three people under the age of twenty-one die due to alcohol-related accidents. Since these changes have been made many lives have been saved, I believe that if we make these kinds of changes in the law, against repeat offenders, I think even more lives can be saved.

These statistics show that both the driving laws and the education of teen drivers have reduced the amount of teens’ driving under the influence and are saving many lives today. My solution that I propose is that we enforce more strict laws on repeat offenders. In addition I believe that stronger laws should be put into order against people who have very high BAC levels and have injured another person while driving under the influence. Lastly, I propose that treatment options should be added into repeat drunken offenders’ sentences to lead them to a brighter future and for the safety of others.

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