Danger of Drunk Driving

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Updated: Aug 30, 2023
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“In 2016, 10,497 people died in the United States involving an alcohol-impaired driver, accounting for all traffic-related deaths,” (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Drunk driving, a tragic occurrence in today’s society, has greatly affected many lives. The damage caused by an alcohol-impaired driver is extremely costly. Vision impairment, delayed reaction time, and unsteady balance are just among the few effects a drunk driver may experience. Due to the damage and tragedies associated with drunk driving, there must be higher restrictions on BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) levels, increased use of sobriety checkpoints, and expanded education about the dangers of drunk driving in schools.

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Drunk driving has caused immeasurable damage and heartbreak for many individuals and communities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that, “in the United States, every day, twenty-eight people die in an accident involving a drunk driver, which equals to approximately ten thousand fatalities per year” (“Drunk Driving”). A driver under the influence of alcohol not only endangers his own life but also the lives of everyone around him. Although many perceive drinking as harmless, it can cost the lives of innocent people, especially when it involves an intoxicated driver operating a large vehicle. Every 48 minutes, one person passes away due to drunk driving-related crashes, and on average, a drunk driver will commit eighty-seven impaired drives before being apprehended (Wessel). Unfortunately, the significance of the dangers associated with drunk driving often eludes intoxicated drivers; however, the impacts of these actions can drastically alter the course of an individual’s life and those around them.

Drunk drivers often don’t perceive the potential consequences of their decisions, resulting in poor judgment calls. The public cost of drunk driving is an astronomical $115.2 billion per year in the United States, inclusive of attorney fees, court costs, and medical expenses (Gold). If an intoxicated driver is involved in a crash, he or she should be held responsible for all associated costs and participate in educational programs. Drunk drivers must complete these requirements prior to regaining their driving privileges. Although many continue to endanger lives due to their inability to recognize their problem, numerous solutions can address this issue.

One such solution is lowering the permissible BAC levels. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that “BAC levels at 0.08% or higher impair the driver’s ability to operate a vehicle effectively, also affecting their reaction time, vision, balance, and speech” (Lacey). Therefore, reducing the BAC level to 0.05% could be a proactive prevention measure. Decreasing blood alcohol concentration levels can result in fewer deaths and damage related to drunk driving. The elimination of alcohol from the body with a BAC level of 0.05% takes about three and a half hours, and with a BAC level of 0.08%, it requires approximately 6 hours (Preidt).

Basically, at a BAC level of 0.05%, it takes about half the time for alcohol to be removed from the body than at a BAC level of 0.08%. Many lives could be saved in that time period. Research shows that even at 0.05 BAC, the driver immediately experiences reduced reaction time, difficulty steering, and impaired judgment (Michael). When a drunk driver experiences reduced reaction time, they don’t react until the last second. Also, as the driver has difficulty steering, they begin swerving into other lanes, putting others at risk. Lowering the BAC limit could prevent the loss of many innocent lives, the driver himself, and everything around him.

There are many precautions against drunk driving, one of them being sobriety checkpoints. Sobriety checkpoints are where police stop most or some people driving through the checkpoints to check their level of alcohol. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “sobriety checkpoints are very expensive, but it is one of the best ways to prevent alcohol-impaired driving crashes” (“Motor Vehicle Safety”). Even though these checkpoints carry a big cost, they are one of the best ways to reduce the deaths and tragedies of many people. As more sobriety checkpoints are set up and are visible in many areas, drivers will think twice before drinking and driving. Law enforcement sets up sobriety checkpoints during holidays or weekends at night when there is usually a “significant spike” in alcohol-impaired driving crashes (Maryland). Sobriety checkpoints occur almost every night, not just on holidays or weekends.

Although the cost is very high, it’s better to have that person stopped than to let them go on and potentially cause a crash that takes the life of an innocent person. In many states, if a driver gets one drunk driving conviction, he or she is required to use an ignition interlock, which necessitates them to blow into a device before operating a vehicle (Wutke). Once a driver goes through the consequences of breathing into a device, he or she will be inclined to make smarter decisions and to think twice before drinking and driving. Ignition interlocks are embarrassing and frustrating to the driver and therefore will deter the driver from recurrently offending. Sobriety checkpoints and ignition interlocks are among the most effective ways to make people reconsider before drinking and driving, sparing them from the penalties of tickets and receiving a DUI.

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Danger of Drunk Driving. (2020, Jan 11). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/danger-of-drunk-driving/