“Every 53 minutes a life is lost in the United States because of drunk driving accidents; that equals to 27 people every day. On average, a drunk driver will drive 80 times under the influence before their first arrest” (“11 Facts About…” 1). Drunk driving is the second cause of car accidents in the US. Texting and driving takes the number one cause of accidents in the United States. Many people have died from drinking and driving. They could have called someone to take themselves home, but they chose to drive while intoxicated.
They were lucky, because statistics show that most people end up dead or killing someone because of drunk driving. “Inseparable since kindergarten, Jessica Rasdall and Laura Gorman loved to go out, loved to dance, and have fun. They were best friends, both 18, college freshmen, and co-workers. Their friendship might have lasted a lifetime, but a tragedy unfolded on a Florida highway early one February morning in 2006. It started with a trip to a club. There were drinks, and a walk to the car, with Rasdall taking the wheel. Less than an hour later, Gorman was dead and her best friend would be charged with killing her. ”
While drinking and driving laws have brought about harsher punishments since 1980, accidents have increased because there are a large number of teenagers making the choice to drive while intoxicated, therefore causing a high number of fatalities, and making the problem harder to solve. Drunk driving laws and punishments have decreased accidents in some states. “In June 2005, New Mexico became the first to require that anyone who is convicted of driving under the influence, whether it is a first offense or not, must drive with an ignition interlock for a minimum of twelve months” (Parks 69) .
Some people think this is great, because it only takes one time to kill someone. It is better to be required to use interlock, is a device that is connected to the car and requires the driver’s breath into the device before starting the car. If the device detects the blood alcohol above the legal amount, the ignition the engine of the car will not start. This is done to make people convicted of drunk driving think about what they did, rather than having to go to jail for manslaughter.
An eleven year-old boy died in a car crash and his stepdad was charged with drunk driving ( Fitzsimmons and Goodman 1). Some states like Arkansas, Florida, and Idaho have also decreased DUI-related traffic fatalities between 2005 and 2007. New Hampshire dropped from 37 percent to 30. 8 percent (Parks 28). People who are against harsher laws and punishments need to know that the laws are making a difference. The laws pertain to parents with teenagers who are beginning to drive. Teenage parents are great examples, as they leave the house, there is not a day that they do not remind them of not driving with friends that drink and drive. They even advise them to drive friends home if they are drinking.
Knowing that the roads are safer makes them feel more relaxed. The laws have decreased fatalities, but teenage drinking and driving has increased. Even though it is a risk for anyone to drink and drive, teenagers are at a greater risk to get into an accident. “Even small amounts of alcohol have been shown to affect those who are older. According to the CDC, at all levels of BAC, the risk of involvement in a motor vehicle crash is greater for a teenager than older drivers”(Parks 37). Teens want to be really cool, so when they go to parties they do not know how to control their drinking. Not
knowing the effects of alcohol, teens may have too many drinks and by the time they feel the effects, it may be too late. By the time teenagers realize it, they may be too scared to call parents, so they end up making a mistake by driving under the influence of alcohol. Teens are more affected also because their bodies cannot tolerate a small amount of alcohol like an adult. “Each year more than 6,000 young people, aged 15 to 20, are killed in motor vehicle crashes and it is the leading cause of death for teenagers” (Parks 19).
“The centers for disease control and prevention (CDC) states that, in 2005, 23 percent of drivers aged 15 to 20 who died in a motor vehicle crashes had a BAC of . 08 percent or higher” (Parks 68). A small amount of alcohol puts a teenager more at risk on the road. The drunk driving percentage has decreased overall, but the increase in teenage drinking and driving is causing a new kind of problem. Even though laws have been passed to decrease drinking and driving, the rise of teen drinking and driving has created a new kind of problem.
The laws, harsher punishments, and widely publicized awareness campaigns are not getting through to teenagers, because they are still making the choice to drink and drive (Parks 20). Teenagers need a new kind of campaign that gets their attention. Currently, there is a program called “Every 15 Minutes,” that teaches students about the dangers and consequences of drunk driving. The best lessons are learned through experience, but when teaching teens not to drink and drive, experience is not an okay choice. The program offers a real-like experience without the real-life risks ( Parks 17).
There should be more programs like this because they get teens’ attention and makes them think about making better choices. The new problems with drinking and driving need new kind of solutions. Drinking and driving laws have helped solve part of the drinking and driving problem, but teenagers are creating a new kind of problem. More teenagers are experimenting with alcohol. At this age, they cannot think ahead and plan for the next day. Teenagers leave things for the last minutes. “In 2011, 9,878 people were victims of drunk drivers (“11 facts…” 1).
They are not just choosing to drive while under the influence of alcohol, but they are driving while texting and under the influence of drugs. Works Cited “11 Facts About Driving Under the Influence. ” N. D. Web. 2 April 2014. Marciano, Melanie. Drug-Influenced Driving a Growing Hazard. United Press International. 2004. Print. Parks, Peggy J. Drunk Driving, San Diego, CA: Reference Point Press. 2010. Print. Scott, Michael S. Drunk Driving. Community Oriented Policing Services. N. D. Web. 7 February 2006. Goldberg, Alan B. "Drunken Driver Grants Prison Interview, Shares the Emotional Pain of Killing Her Best Friend. " ABC News. ABC News Network, 03 June 2009. Web.