Critical Thinking

Has anyone in your community ever been involved in a drunken driving traffic collision? Or has anyone in your community ever been the drunk driver in the traffic collision? Well in my community, I have known someone who was struck by a drunk driver and I have also known someone who was the drunk driver who killed their passengers. The reason why I am strongly interested in this issue is because it has personally affected me as well as millions of other people in the United States, and I am interested in the ways that people cope with this serious issue in their communities and how they intend to end this.

Twelve years ago, my uncle was involved in a drunk driving accident. He ran off the road and overcorrected his vehicle. After overcorrecting, he went across the road and off into the ditch on the other side. He hit the ditch so fast that it caused his vehicle to flip multiple times. After the accident, he was in a coma for over two months. Even though this happened twelve years ago, I will never forget the pictures I was shown of my uncle when he was lying unconsciously on the hospital bed. Since I was so young, I was not allowed in the room to actually see him.

Instead, I was shown pictures of him and I hardly recognized him with all the tubes and things that were connected to his body. Seeing him like that has forever changed my life. Although he has recovered and is back to work, he is not the same person he used to be. He had minor brain damage from the accident which has made his personality change slightly. He was lucky to even make it out of that alive. After being associated with this accident, I will never drink and drive. Also, I always encourage others to not to drink and drive because it’s not worth risking your life.

By drinking and driving, you are not only doing something that is illegal and putting your own life in danger, but also putting the lives of your passengers and others on the road in danger. Sadly, people still make the selfish decision to get behind the wheel of a vehicle even after only a few drinks with the mindset that they will still be under the legal limit of blood alcohol concentration. Some of the history of the community related to this issue are different groups that have joined together to take a stand against drunk driving and place a grudge on the convicted drunk drivers in their neighborhood or community.

People have put together a website that anyone can join called drunkdriving. com and it contains education and information about drunk driving and recovery and resources for those who are interested. There is a group called MADD, which stands for Mothers Against Drunk Driving. This group was established in 1980 and their mission statement states, “The mission of Mothers Against Drunk Driving is to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime and prevent underage drinking” (MADD).

MADD has saved nearly 300,000 lives and they are still counting to this day. My research question for my paper is why drunk drivers continue to operate a vehicle under the influence after already being convicted for it. The research I have done so far is really focused on statistics and the components of the prosecution process for first time and repeat offenders. Alcohol affects your reaction time, vision, judgment, and the ability to brake and control speed which all can effortlessly cause an accident within seconds.

This research enriches my perspective on this topic because it is so surreal to think about the lives lost all because of a simple decision which is probably regretted by the offended drunk driver in the morning and all the years he or she has to live thinking about their mistake. My claim is: “Drunk driving should have stricter laws and prosecutions against it due to the extremely high number of deaths involved. ” Two of my many reasons for my claim are that fifty percent of all traffic accidents are alcohol related.

My evidence for my reasons is that two million is the number of repeat drunk drivers on the road at any given time and that means they obviously do not think about their decision the first time or maybe they did not get caught. Harsher punishment for the first Driving Under the Influence (DUI) conviction will greatly reduce the number of senseless deaths caused by impaired drivers. Hold the first-time offender accountable for their actions. This epidemic is far reaching. Virtually everyone knows someone or is related to someone that has been killed or injured by a drunken driver. This pattern must be stopped.

According to a study conducted by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), one in three Americans will be in an accident involving a drunk driver during their lifetime (MADD). On average, someone in the United States is killed by a drunk driver every forty minutes. Stricter penalties need to be established across the country to show people the importance of driving sober. Drunk driving is the cause of nearly 12,000 deaths every year. The legal threshold for DUI is 0. 08% Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). Many drivers are “impaired” at a much lower percentage. At 0. 02% BAC the ability to perform two tasks simultaneously is adversely affected.

A BAC of 0. 05% will cause a reduced response to emergency driving situations. Once the BAC reaches 0. 08%, concentration, speed control and reduced ability to maintain lane position is a reality (MADD). Increasing the penalties for first-time offenders will significantly lower the statistics by discouraging the drivers from repeating the offense. Understandably, some people make mistakes and correct them after their first offense. More often than not, though, a larger number of people continue to drive impaired because they believe that they will not be caught again. This misconception needs to be changed!

Suspension of driver’s license and finding high penalties should not be the only thing to do for those drunk driving violators. In Virginia, a first offense DUI brings a mandatory fine of at least $250. Your driver's license will be revoked for one year, and you'll be required to install an ignition interlock device. If you get a second offense, there is a mandatory minimum $500 fine, driver's license revocation for three years, and possible jail time up to one year. If it is within five years of your first offense, there is a mandatory 20 days in jail; 10 days if within 10 years of your first offense (“Dui & dwi”).

As each offense increases, your consequences increase as well. There are a number of ways you can reduce your chances of getting a DUI. If you plan to drink when you leave home, have an alternative way home sorted out in advance; a designated driver or a taxi, etc. If you get caught out intoxicated without a safe way home, sleep on a friend's sofa or call someone at home who can come and get you. Don't try to make it on your own by driving. Also, don't accept a ride from someone else who has been drinking, you might not get a DUI if you do, but you might not get home safely, either.

References.

MADD. (n. d. ). About drunk driving. Retrieved from http://www. madd. org/drunk-driving/about/ Dui & dwi in virginia. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://www. dmv. org/va-virginia/automotive-law/dui. php NHTSA. (n. d. ). Impaired driving. Retrieved from http://www. nhtsa. gov/Impaired Ashley , H. I. (2012, August 14). Federal officials push for tougher state drunken-driving laws. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www. washingtonpost. com/local/trafficandcommuting/federal-officials-push-for-tougher-state-drunken-driving-laws/2012/08/14/77ff2298-e636-11e1-8f62-58260e3940a0_story. html.