Are drinking and driving really worth it? Often, you hear stories of people putting their lives at risk as well as others. It is sickening to think that people would even consider jeopardizing everything for a few drinks. Thinking it is ok to operate a motor vehicle is unacceptable especially with all the transportation services at such easy access. Did you know that drunk driving claims about 10,000 lives each and every year? According to (Cdc. gov), that is about one death every 50 minutes. This is clearly a big problem in the United States that needs to be addressed and stopped. Within the last decade, alcohol-impaired driving decreased about 41% and hopefully continues to decrease over time.
The law presents that when your blood alcohol concentration, or commonly referred to as BAC, is 0.08% or above, driving is now illegal and consequences can be held against you. This law applies to those 21 and older because the legal drinking age nationwide is 21 years old. There is a zero-tolerance policy in effect for drivers under the legal drinking age limit. Officials are allowed to revoke and or suspend the license of a drunk driver. A lot of people believe in the saying, “one drink per hour rule”, which is believed to be if you had consumed 2 drinks within the first hour, your BAC would be .05. According to conventional wisdom, this rule then puts it into perspective that if you had one drink continuously each hour, your BAC will then continue to remain at .05 without increasing leading it to stay within the safe limits range. A standard drink is considered to be a 12-ounce beer, a one-ounce glass of wine, or one 1.5 ounce shot of distilled spirit. In other countries, the BAC is different for everyone,
Drinking and driving have been a major problem for a very long time. It goes back to the year 1897, in London, when the first person ever to be arrested and charged with the offense of drinking and driving was the 25-year-old man, George Smith. He was driving his taxi, under the influence, until he crashed into a building. Only a few years later, in 1910, laws about operating a motor vehicle under the influence went into effect in New York City, establishing the first drunk driving regulations in the United States. Despite early attempts to prevent this phenomenon, drunk driving has continued to exist as a major problem. Not too long ago during the 1960’s the age requirement to be able to drink or possess alcohol was 18. This led to a huge increase in car fatalities. During the mid-1970s about 60% of all traffic fatalities were alcohol-related. Traffic crashes were the leading cause of alcohol-related deaths and two-thirds of traffic deaths were from people the age of sixteen to twenty ( NIH fact sheet). In the year 1986, the united states changed the drinking age from 18 to 21. This helped shape some of the laws for drunk driving.
Over the years there have been many organizations that attempted to reduce drinking and driving such as the MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) organization.MADD is a nonprofit organization that had started up in the 1980s. The purpose of this organization is to spread awareness to prevent drunk driving and underage drinking to support those affected and to strive for better drinking while impaired policies. This program was started in California and was founded by a woman named Candace Lightner. Her reasons for starting such momentum were dedicated to the passing of her thirteen-year-old daughter that had her life taken from her by a drunk driver (lowest-Phillips). To this day, there is at least one MADD office located in every state across the U.S.
Another big method used in the efforts of preventing drunk driving is by targeting those who are lucky enough to have survived their previous decisions of driving while impaired and prevent them from committing their poor actions to happen an additional time (Alcoholic impaired driving). According to a recent study, out of the 1.5 million arrests each year, about one-third of them are repeated offenders. The government tried to make a difference with repeated offenders and was determined to enforce legal consequences for their actions. Many states have pushed for effective legal remedies to reduce impaired driving. Their conclusion states have authorized judges or state agencies to use breathalyzer ignition interlock devices as an optional sanction in drunk driving cases (Morse,) An ignition lock is a device installed in cars in which the driver has to blow into to determine if there is any alcohol in the driver’s system. Unfortunately, it seems that people are more concerned about passing their breath analyzer test or getting caught by police rather than being concerned about their safety and the lives of innocent people. According to the article “Impaired Driving: Get the Facts”, 29 people every day die in motor vehicle accidents that result in someone driving under the influence. This article also states that 17% of traffic deaths of children ages 0-14 involved an alcohol-impaired driver (CDC.gov). As stated in (Quinlan, Kyran) through the years 2001-2010 a Fatality analysis reporting said that 2,334 children under the age of 15 were killed in crashes involving 1 alcohol-impaired driver. Of those children, about 65 % (1,515) of children were riding in the car with the impaired driver. Campaigns combating alcohol-impaired driving especially target drivers under the age of 21, repeat offenders, and 21-to 34-year-olds, the age group that is responsible for more alcohol-related fatal crashes than any other(Alcoholic impaired driving).
Some other new forms of preventing drunk driving from happening are these new ride-sharing companies that have been taking over the united states. These companies such as Uber and Lyft are services that provide you rides at any given time at any point of the day. You are able to download these apps on smartphones and androids with a click of a button. The organization MADD is a big supporter of these driving services. According to ( PR newswire), MADD and Uber worked together to report “more options, shifting Mindsets, Driving Better Sources”. Throughout this report, they found that in California the rate of drunk driving fell about 6.3% with drivers ages 30 years or younger following the launch of users. That represents about 60 fewer accidents a month which totals to about 1800 accidents since July 2012 (Pr Newswire). The report also said that 78% of respondents said their friends are less likely to get behind the wheel after drinking since ride services as uber started in their cities. Another statistic shows that a remarkable 93% would recommend Uber as a safer way home than a friend who had been drinking. Uber also has its downfall to it which the other 7% of people surveyed would have to agree. Every uber ride costs money and it’s not the cheapest. In addition to the high fairs on tips, there have been reported cases of users and their safety. For example, there have been many stories on how people get into fake ubers. Instead of getting in the car with their expected driver people have gotten in different cars instead. On September 11th 2018 women by the name of Elizabeth Suarez hopped in her uber (so she thought) and was taking a ride to her set destination. When she realized the uber driver was going the wrong way Elizabeth asked to just get out of the car. That’s when the Uber driver refused to drop her off and then Elizabeth took action on her own and jumped out of the moving vehicle. Elizabeth was fine, but she’s not the only person who has experienced a horrible ride sharing service. This just goes to show how important it is to stay aware and use caution when using a ride share service. Ride-sharing companies are up and coming and you can already see the dramatic impact that they have on drinking and driving as well as some minor disadvantages that I hope they come to fix in the near future.