On the night of May 14, 1988, Larry Mahoney was drunk, so drunk that his blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) was more than twice Kentucky’s legal limit. Regardless, Mahoney got behind the wheel of his pickup truck and proceeded to drive northbound in the southbound lane of Interstate 71, crashing head-on into a church bus returning from an amusement park. The collision ruptured the bus’s gas tank, causing a fire that killed twenty-three children and four adults and injured a dozen others.
Mahoney had no recollection that he had caused the deaths of twenty-seven people until he woke up in a hospital bed the following morning with only minor injuries. He was convicted of assault, manslaughter, wanton endangerment, and drunken driving and was sent to the Kentucky State Reformatory, where he served a nine-and-a-half-year sentence. Most of you probably didn’t realize that this many lives could be affected in just one accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 10,839 people will die in drunk driving accidents this year.
That’s one death every 50 minutes. Today, I would like to inform you about what happens in your body when you drink, the financial consequences of drunk driving, and organizations that can help. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), car wrecks are the leading cause of death for people in America who are under the age of 24, and about 40 percent of those deaths are somehow related to alcohol. Many of those in this statistic were the drivers or passengers of drunk drivers, and recent Driving Under Influence (DUI) statistics are showing increasing trends.
States are cracking down on drunk driving. DUI and DWI laws across the nation are becoming stricter and being enforced with greater diligence. Why is drunk driving such a big deal? What happens to your body when you drink that makes driving so dangerous? Alcohol slows the brain by acting as a depressant. When you drink, some of the messages your senses are sending to your brain are suppressed. That means the fact that the car in front of you is stopping may not register with your brain, or it may register far to late for you to act.
Alcohol in your system also makes you have a distorted picture of how you are moving. You may think, for instance, that you are moving in a straight line, when, in fact, you are staggering across the room. When you are driving, this makes it almost impossible to drive straight down the road. My second main point regards the costs of drunk driving. The biggest factor in determining your DUI fines is your past drunk driving record. Typically, the fines for first time DUI offenses are less costly than multiple offenses.
A first time DUI offense usually falls between $500 – $1000. If you get a second or third DUI, the fines will be much higher. The fine for a repeat offenders can be up to $15,000 and even higher. When you are arrested for a drunk driving, you will have to take a chemical test to get a more accurate estimate of your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). If you fail your DUI sobriety test , you are required by the “Implied Consent Law” to take the chemical test. This law basically says that if you have a driver’s license you have agreed to take this test.
If you refuse to take this test, your driver’s license will be suspended and you will be hit with a DUI fine which can range from $500 to $1000. As shown, there are many other costs involved. The total costs of drunk driving can easily add up to $10,000. My last main point regards what you can do to fight drunk driving. First of all, don’t do it. This sets a good example for younger students to follow. Secondly, there a number of organizations that are fighting drunk driving. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has been around for about 30 years now.
Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and Teens Against Drunk Driving (TADD) are just two organizations that allow us as students to be involved. As you can see, there are so many organizations that we can join to help fight drunk driving. In conclusion, there are numerous negative sides to drunk driving. Now you know more about what happens when you drink, the financial costs of drunk driving, and organizations that can help so you can help prevent it. One person dies due to drunk driving every 50 minutes. As Joseph Schneck, “Drinking and driving: there are stupider things, but it’s a very short list. ”