Consequences of Drunk Driving: Overview of Situation in US and Possible Solutions

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In 2016, more than 1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. That’s one percent of 111 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among the U.S. adults each year. Drinking and driving is never the way to go because people could injure or kill someone in just a matter of seconds. Then from there on people's lives are going to change forever. If the accident had killed someone they're gonna have to live with that guilt for the rest of their life. ​Drunk driving causes one of the serious problems affecting many people today, death from car accidents while, under the influence of alcohol, but there are multiple solutions to this problem.

Thankfully there are multiple solutions to this problem because it’s already an issue in today’s society. They have many drunk driving prevention organizations out there to help you, but I’m going to focus on 3 of them: ​Orillia Against Drunk Driving (OADD), National Commission Against Drunk Driving (NCADD), Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

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Here Are 3 Organizations That Would Help Prevent Drinking While Driving:

  1. Orillia Against Drunk Driving (OADD), is a non-profit organization dedicated to the work to reduce and eliminate drinking and driving. Doug Abernethy founded Orillia Against Drunk Driving in November 1994 in memory of his brother Tim and that has helped give him hope and purpose. His hope and purpose were that he can help prevent any more deaths and injuries from occurring at the hands of drunk drivers, that will prevent any more families from suffering the consequences of drunk drivers through his involvement with Orillia Against Drunk Driving.
  2. National Commission Against Drunk Driving (NCADD) is the leading advocacy organization in the world addressing alcoholism and drug dependence. Since its founding in 1944, NCADD has raised public awareness about addiction throughout the United States and increasingly across the global community. The fonder is Marty Mann, one of the first women to achieve sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous, organized the National Committee for Education on Alcoholism (NCEA) in 1944, which later became the National Council on Alcoholism (NCA) in 1950, and then the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) in 1990 to address concern with other drugs.
  3. The mission of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes, and prevent underage drinking. MADD National President Helen Witty. Says her 16-year-old daughter, Helen Marie, was rollerblading on a bike path near our home when marijuana- and the alcohol-impaired teen driver ran off the road and struck her. Helen Marie died in an instant, violent death, and her life changed forever. MADD urges everyone to plan ahead for a safe ride home in advance of April 20, an unofficial cannabis holiday. On April 18, MADD will join law enforcement and traffic safety partners in Colorado — one of the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana — to highlight the dangers of driving while impaired. In 1984, MADD changed their name to Mothers Against Drunk Driving to explain that their mission is about the action and not the person specifically (Effectiveness of Mothers Against Drunk Driving).

The OADD organization works to save lives that are tragically lost at the hands of drunk drivers through education and awareness. They are aggressively working to focus resources to inform people about the dangers of drinking while driving and the threat impaired drivers pose to the community. Until that threat can be reduced and hopefully one day can be eliminated (Abernethy). They use this device called Ontario Ignition Interlock, this device is for any driver who has committed and is subsequently convicted of a driving & driving offense. Then they will have a mandatory ignition interlock condition placed on their license.

This is how the device works before starting your vehicle, the driver must provide a breath sample. If the driver’s blood alcohol concentration is above the preset limit, the vehicle won’t start. Once the vehicle is started, the interlock device requires the driver to provide breath samples at random for preset times, while the engine is running. If they don't provide, or their blood alcohol concentration exceeds the limit, the device will issue a warning. Then record the event and activate specific alarms within the interlock until the vehicle ignition is turned off. The length of time convicted offenders must use an ignition interlock device varies from the time of your convictions.

​Today there are more than 90 NCADD Affiliates across the United States, offering alcoholism and addiction recovery support services and policy/advocacy activities for individuals, families, and communities impacted by alcoholism and addiction. The good news is no matter how severe the alcohol or drug problem may seem, most people with a substance use disorder can benefit from some form of treatment. In the past, society viewed alcoholism and drug addiction as a moral flaw. Popular 'treatments' involved the imprisonment, sentencing to asylums, and church-guided prayer. Not surprisingly, these methods were generally ineffective. Today's methods are effective, with 40-70% of patients getting treatment for drug abuse, remaining drug-free and about one-third of those who are treated for alcohol problems having no further symptoms 1 year later. Many others substantially reduce their drinking and report fewer alcohol-related problems.

There are four types of treatments they use: Behavioral, Medications, Mutual-support Groups, and Advice for Friends and Family Members. Behavioral treatments are aimed at changing behavior through counseling. They are led by health professionals and supported by studies showing they can are beneficial. There are three medications that are currently approved in the United States to help people stop or reduce their drinking and prevent relapse. They are prescribed by a primary care physician or other health professional and may be used alone or in combination with counseling. Mutual-support groups consist of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs provide peer support for people quitting or cutting back on their drinking Combined with treatment led by health professionals, mutual-support groups can offer a valuable added layer of support. Then for advice for family and friends is you should be caring for the person who has problems with alcohol can be stressful. It is important that as you try to help your loved one, you find a way to take care of yourself as well. It may help seek support from others, including friends, family, community, and support groups.

The efforts of activities of MADD organization have captured the imagination of the print and electronic media. Therefore, the personal tragedies of many of these activists are widely known. It’s because their mediated messages have commanded our attention. Many of us now worry more about who will drive home after an evening of imbibing (Mark, p.1070). MADD encourages complete sobriety and abstinence from drinking. Drinking and driving do not mix, but people still do it. Programs and organizations like MADD help reduce instances of drunk driving, and prevent future alcohol-related crashes and deaths (Effectiveness of Mothers Against Drunk Driving).

Those 3 organizations were the main ones that stood out to me because, in each, there were people who have had A loved one killed from someone driving under the influence of alcohol or worst. It’s sad this has happened to multiple people all over the world, and they're able to tell their story but me personally I don’t know what I would have done. Drinking while driving could lead to so many dangerous things so why do people do it? Maybe because they’re under the influence of alcohol or a substance. This is an open-minded question because people could answer this in many ways.


With data from the U.S. department of transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), alcohol is a major factor in traffic accidents. There was an alcohol-impaired traffic fatality every 48 minutes in 2017. Alcohol-impaired crashes, are those that involve at least one driver or a motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC), of 0.08 grams per decilitre or above. The legal definition of impaired driving.

According to NHTSA 10,874 people died in alcohol or narcotics in 2017. Alcohol-impaired crash fatalities accounted for 29 percent of all crash fatalities (Insurance Organization Institute). In Utah, the BAC limit was lowered to 0.05 in December 2018. In addition, they all have zero tolerance laws prohibiting drivers under the age of 21 from drinking and driving. Generally the BAC in these cases is 0.02 grams per decilitre. Campaigns against alcohol-impaired driving especially target drivers under the age of 21, repeat offenders and 21-to 34-year-olds, the age group responsible for more alcohol-related fatal crashes than any other. Young drivers are those least responsive to arguments against impaired driving, according to NHTSA. Thirty-nine states have enacted laws or have case law that permit social hosts who serve liquor to people who subsequently are involved in crashes to be held liable for any injury or death (Insurance Organization Institute).


I feel they should increase the age for drinking alcohol to like 25 years old because you are more responsible and their mind is more developed. At the age of 21 people still have this young mindset, and they think it’s sweet to drink alcohol while driving. They think a good time must consist drinking and driving, nine-times outta ten there just thinking about themselves and not the over drivers. When people go out with friend they sometimes get peer pressured into drinking and their friend know that their the designated driver. Then when they turn them down they’ll say all come on live in the moment, sometimes that responsible friend would say know, or they’ll just do it. Not thinking of the consequences that are yet to come all because they want to listen to their friend and live in the moment. But if their older like 25 years old they’ll be way more responsible, and they’ll say: “I’ll all use a cab because we're both drunk”. If they do that I guarantee those accident rates will go down only because there letting people they are more mature drink alcohol. Then again parents should teach their kids how to be more responsible will there drinking alcohol. People should already know that you shouldn’t drink while driving before they even get their driver's license. To take awareness of this situation, people should be required to take a class on drinking while driving before their able to take their road test. This will not only help them but it will save lives and the accident rates will go down if they do this because the earlier you know the less likely you will do it.


I’m going to create a law saying that you shouldn’t drink unless there 25 years old because at the age of 25 people are more mature. Creating a law is easy said than done because there are so many steps to go through in order for the law to be passed on. I know it will be a hard process to get this law passed on, so I'm going to strive for success. In order for me to get this law going I have to send it to the House of Representatives and give it to the clerk, so they could read it aloud. A bill can only become a law if it is passed by a majority vote in the House of Representatives and the senate. The bill must be agreed to in identical form by both chambers, and given royal assent by the governor-general. It is known as an act of parliament. Most bills are introduced into the house of representatives and then sent to the Senate. Bills my commence in the Senate, except for money and taxation bills (Parliament Education office). Most bills are introduced by Government ministers, however, other members of the parliament can introduce their own bills, known as private member or private senators’ bills. I’m going to connect with the people in the Senate, so they could take my bill serious, so it could get passed on as a bill, so the accident rates on driving while under the influence could become reduced. I know the deal breaker will be when I say do you want to save a dozen lives. I know for a fact it I was in a part of the Senate that will be a great attention grabber for me because those accident rates are ridiculous.

It may take weeks or even months for a bill to pass through parliament. However, an urgent bill can be passed in a matter of days. So for mines they will see it ’s urgent from the facts on accidents caused by drinking under the influence of alcohol. About 200 bills are introduced into parliament each year and about 90% are passed into a law. For my bill I am going have high hopes, just like the song from panic disco high hopes, this song has motivated me to do so many things and it gets me in a good mood. With my positive energy and my support systems my law will become passed on as a bill and then it will change the world in a way. Once an idea for a new law has been settled on, it must be put into form before it can be considered by the Senate. The actual drafting of legislation requires a specialized type of legal training and is usually done, by staff of the legislative bill drafting commission (The New York State Senate).

However, sometimes an interest group may have its own attorneys draft a bill, and lawyers working in various state agencies and the executive branch often submit their ideas for legislation in bill form. After explanation, discussion or debate, a vote is taken. It’s most of the senators that will approve, then the bill is sent to the Assembly. In the Assembly, people will have a chance to influence the bill as it moves through a process, basically the same as that in the Senate. It is referred to a committee for discussion, and if it gets approved there, it goes to the full membership for a vote (The New York Senate). If the bill is approved in the Assembly without amendment, it goes on to the Governor. However, if it’s changed, its returned to the Senate for concurrence in the amendments.

The reverse procedure is followed if the Assembly first passes a bill identical to a senate measure or if the Senate amends an assembly bill. The Senate majority leader and Assembly speaker, each appoint 5 members from their respective houses to serve on this committee. After agreement is reached, a bill is printed and processed like any other bill. While the legislature is in session, the governor has 10 days (not counting Sundays) to sign or veto bills passed by both houses. Signed bills become law; vetoed bills do not.

However, the governor’s failure to sign or veto a bill within the 10-day period means it becomes a law automatically. Vetoed bills are returned to the house that first passed them, together with a statement of the reason for their disapproval. A vetoed bill can become a law if two-thirds of the members of each house vote to override the governor’s veto (The New York Senate). Then people will stop drinking and driving while being under the influence if they don’t want to go to jail or get their license taken away. Then it’s a matter of do people want to save lives or harm them like they have to take that into consideration before they even get behind the wheel. We have to do better in our society so there wouldn’t be as many accidents from people drinking under the influence.

Works Cited:

  1. DDPO​,
  2. “Alcohol Awareness Month - April 2019.” ​Facing Addiction​,
  3. “Facts Statistics: Alcohol-Impaired Driving.” ​III​,
  4. “Get Help.” ​National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence​,
  5. “How Effective Was/Is the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Campaign?” ​​,
  6. “How a Bill Becomes a Law.” ​NY State Senate​, 5 Oct. 2015,
  7. “Impaired Driving: Get the Facts | Motor Vehicle Safety | CDC Injury Center.” ​Centers for Disease Control and Prevention​, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
  8. “Reflections and Looking Back by Doug Abernethy Founder OADD.” ​Orillia Against Drunk Driving - Home Page​,
  9. TheCat, Glace. “IDDPA.” ​​, 17 Dec. 2014,
  10. The Parliament Office Of Education,
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