Imagine being in a bar with a few of your good friends. Everyone is drinking and having a good time. Your are going to leave and go home, but you friends won’t let you because they know the dangers of driving after having a few drinks. Instead they ca ll a cab to give you a ride home. You would be extremely lucky to have such smart friends. Drunk driving is a very serious problem in our society today, but it is becoming socially unacceptable causing the numbers of alcohol related traffic fatalities t o decline considerably.
Drunk driving can be very deadly. Yet many people drive while under the influence everyday. Drivers who are drunk are blamed for the loss of as many as twenty-five thousand lives in highway crashes each year and hundreds of thousands of severe injuries.
It is thought that drunk drivers have a long history of doing this and many prior arrests. In addition, most of those killed are just innocent victims whose behavior did not contribute to their deaths. These last two statements are both false. On aver age a drunk driver that kills has never been involved in a alcohol related accident before and have no prior convictions for drunk driving. The part about the people killed are just innocent bystanders is over-exaggerated also. Most of the drunk drivers victims are the drivers themselves, their often passengers, and the drunken pedestrians and cyclists. Despite this drunk driving is still very dangerous. It is the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths in America today. In fact it is said that ab out 40 % of the population will be involved in a alcohol related crash during their life. Drunk driving is especially dangerous to young people, who seem to be more involved than others. Drunk driving is the number one cause of death among young people, accounting for 20% of all deaths from ages 15 to 20. Drunk driving is such a hard thing to overcome though. In our society alcohol is overwhelmingly accepted as a facilitator of sociable interaction, and the great majority of adults drink. But steps a re being taken and the numbers of deaths are declining.
Alcohol-related traffic fatalities have been decreasing lately. As a proportion of all traffic fatalities it has been decreased since 1982. In fact since 1982 the number of alcohol related traffic fatalities has decreased 30%, from 25,165 to 17,699, while alcohol-related traffic fatalities, as a proportion of all traffic fatalities, decreased from 57% to 45%. This is a great achievement when you consider that the number of miles traveled has increased 40% since then. For the past 14 years the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities have been dropping steadily. With the help of a growing number of support groups and tougher penalties the numbers should drop even more in the next few years to come.
The numbers of accidents have been dropping for a number of reasons. The states have taken some effective measures such as immediate license suspension, lowering the blood alcohol concentration legal level from .01 to .08 for adults and for people under age 21 to .02. Others such as sobriety checkpoints, public education, community awareness, and media campaigns about the dangers of alcohol-impaired driving. In addition some strategies should be considered, such as those outlined during the Surgeon General’s Workshop on Drunk Driving and in the national plan for injury prevention and control. Such strategies include changing the social norm to make alcohol-impaired driving socially unacceptable, limiting alcohol availability among under-aged youth, alcohol service training for those who sell and serve alcohol, early alcohol treatment and rehabilitation programs, offering alternative transportation programs for those of the legal drinking age, and increasing the perception of the risk for arrest for alcohol-impaired driving. States like California have raised the penalty for misdemeanor drunk driving offenses to a maximum $1000 fine and one year in jail. In July, a state law took effect requiring twice-convicted drunk drivers to equip their cars wit h a breath analysis device that prevents them from starting their engines if they have a blood-alcohol level higher than .02%. And after Jan. 1, people under the age of 21 caught driving with a blood-alcohol level .01% or greater will immediately lose their driver’s licenses for one year. In fact Ohio now allows officials to confiscate vehicles registered to drivers with at least four DUI convictions in a five-year period of those who twice allow their vehicles to be used by someone they know to be drunk or without a license. Currently the state is taking away those cars and putting them in a car crusher. Steps like these need to continue to be taken and hopefully the number of accidents will decrease.
It’s great to see problems like these decreasing. Drinking and driving is very dangerous. Many people have their lives shattered and ruined because of a drunk driver. That is why this is becoming so socially unacceptable. People are finally starting to realize how dangerous this can really be. With the help of new laws and continued hard work the number of drinking and driving accidents should be very little in the future.