Drinking and Driving

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There is a beast among us. He has claimed the lives of millions of victims some as innocent as you and me. Men, women, and children there is no one who is safe. He can strike anytime almost anywhere. And these beasts are drunk drivers. They put themselves, and the thousands of innocent people they drive past at risk when they drink and drive. Drunk driving is a problem that has no single or simple solution, but every death is completely preventable. We need new ways of prevention to stop this beast because the current prevention system is only slowing him down and some people even place themselves within his grasp.

The old prevention seems to be working, but in reality, it is only slightly decreasing the number of deaths due to drunk driving. In 2002 it was found that 41% of all traffic deaths are due to alcohol consumption. That is down 19% since 1982, but doesn’t 41% still seems too high of a number? We are lowering the amount of deaths, but still too many die because of their reckless behavior each year. There are still some pretty effective ways of stopping drunk drivers though. The most popular deterrents are jail time and license revocation. They don’t always work so well on there own, but when combined they really help in the battle against drunk drivers. If we just throw them in jail they get out and its over. Many former DUI offenders are repeat offenders. Also some states just fine people. What’s that going to do? All they do is pay and move on. Another worthless attempt at deterring drunk drivers is increasing the price of alcohol; this may stop some of the low BAC (blood alcohol content) drivers, but the one with the high BAC’s are the ones to be worried about. Their BAC is normally around .20 or higher (Hanson “Drunk Driving is a Serious Problem”) which is twice the legal limit. These high BAC drivers are 385-707 times more likely to get into an automobile accident (Hanson “Alcohol Problems and Solutions”). Normally these people are addicted and need some sort of medical treatment. Increasing the price does virtually nothing because they would do anything to get their alcohol. So what will deter these drinkers and protect the innocent people on the roads? What will stop this beast?

There are now many ways being thought up to stop these drunken drivers from doing more damage. Some states are starting to mark the license plates of those individuals arrested for DUI. This can help officers and others who have been convicted of DUI. This also helps cops know who to keep an eye on and lets bystanders know who to avoid. Another technique proven effective was impounding the vehicle of a drunk driver. Some states also restrict the nighttime driving time of young people because most DUI suspects are between the ages of 21-34. Some of those are quite young and some can be even younger like 16 or 17. Equipment and training for the use of the equipment is being improved. And now 22 states have bans on open containers in cars. This makes people less likely to drink while driving. There is also a devise being created so that people that are intoxicated can not start a car. All of these new approaches are being scientifically evaluated to see if they are indeed effective.

All of these laws and regulations are not enough; you need to protect yourself and others too. Society has done so much to protect people the least you could do is protect yourself. The simplest way is to never ride with someone who is intoxicated. If you are intoxicated call a cab or find a sober designated driver. Always wear your seatbelt and if you see your friends having a bit too much get them to stop, or take their keys so they don’t even think about driving. And if you don’t have to drive past midnight then don’t. This is when a lot of these drinking and driving accidents occur. Driving intoxicated is like driving blind; you have no idea what you’re doing. Some people can’t even write their name clearly after drinking too much what makes you think they can drive? Please protect yourselves and others from the dangers of drinking and driving. The world would be a million times better if we could remove this problem.

We can and must defeat this beast. We have made progress, but this is not enough. There are still thousands being killed and they can’t do a whole lot about it. It’s not just the thousands that are killed that are being affected, but the friends, family and communities of these people that will feel this pain forever. The old ways have been a start, but this beast will not stop killing unless we take action. These new deterrents will be key in stopping him, and together with the old ways, plus your help, we can finally put this beast down once and for all.





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