People say that drunk driving is a mistake. It's not a mistake. It's a deliberate choice. You choose to get behind a wheel of a car after drinking. It's no wonder people are so carefree about drunk driving if it is so justified as a mistake.
It's not a mistake. Mistakes are forgivable. Drunk driving isn't forgivable. It's stupid. By justifying and condoning it, the problem will only continue to get worse. We lose more and more people every day because they were involved in an automobile accident where a drunk driver was involved. How many lives are we willing to sacrifice before we wake up and realize it? I hope we all wake up soon.
Drunk driving is wrong, and it should be treated that way. It isn't just your life we are dealing with, but everyone who is unfortunate enough to be on the same road. It only takes one drunk driver one time to kill someone!
So what is "drunk driving" anyway? The legal definitions of drunk driving are open to many interpretations, which vary greatly from state to state. In some places, "drunk driving" can include sitting in a parked car or wrecked vehicle with the motor not running, or starting up a car in a driveway. The police can and do arrest people who they believe are drunk before they even get on the road and when they've pulled off to "sleep it off" if they're in the driver's seat.
As for a definition of "drunk" there are many factors to consider. You can be "legally impaired" in the eyes of the law without even taking a drink, if you have taken other substances that affect your ability to drive. You can also be found drunk even when you have all your facilities in perfect working order.
What are the penalties of drunk driving? Penalties vary sharply, but are highest for accidents in which others are injured or killed and for repeat offenders. Sometimes a driver is arrested on manslaughter charges immediately after a fatal crash, if there is a probable cause to believe the driver was drunk.
A general range of penalties for a conviction of drivers arrested in accidents or in incidents in which there were no injuries or major damage, can be a fine ranging from $100 to $5,000, and/or imprisonment for up to two years, and/or loss of driving privileges for a period of time.
I am not saying that all people who drink are alcoholics. What I am trying to point out is that we need stricter laws that are going to incarcerate these people until they go before a judge and are charged. If a person is constantly charged with the same violation, then they should be in a treatment center directly from jail so innocent people don't have to pay by being critically injured or killed.
So think about the consequences before you drink and drive ... and remember, you can drink and you can drive but mix the two and you can die!! c
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.