Drunk Driving, A Forever Controversial Issue

Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, drunk driving has been a controversial issue that has cost many people their lives, their families, or their happiness. Many families are compromised each year because of this potentially deadly act.

Driving while either intoxicated or drunk is extremely dangerous and many drivers who have a high blood alcohol level or BAC are at a higher risk of causing a wreck or injuring an innocent bystander (Alcohol Problems and Solutions). According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “A motor vehicle crash is considered to be alcohol-related if at least one driver or non-occupant (such as a pedestrian or pedal cyclist) involved in the crash is determined to have had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .01 gram per deciliter (g/dL) or higher. Thus, any fatality that occurs in an alcohol-related crash is considered an alcohol-related fatality.” In 2011, 9,878 people were killed and approximately 350,000 were injured.

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Not only are the people in the crash affected but also their friends, family and many more (MADD). In the year 2011, there were a total of 8 states who had a total number of fatalities greater than 1000, including California, Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, New York, Ohio, and Tennessee. California had the highest number of both fatalities in general and those that were a result of alcohol at 924 deaths at 34%. Florida right behind had 751 alcohol related deaths with 34% and the others follow closely behind. In 2011, it was recorded that a total of 1,140 children who were either 14 or younger were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Of those, 181 happened people of the use of alcohol.

In fatal crashes in 2011, people who were between the ages of 21-24 had the highest percentage of having their blood-alcohol level higher than .08. 14% of those drivers were female while 24% were male. In 2011, the accidents that occurred were 29 percent for motorcycles, 24 percent for passenger cars, and 21 percent for light trucks. Others were various types. The rate of the presence of alcohol during night time was reportedly 4.

5 times greater than during the day. During the week, an average of 15% of drivers in a fatal crash were alcohol related unlike on the weekend when it is 31% (2011 Drunk Driving Statistics). Unfortunately, when people do begin drinking, they either tend to like it so much that they start to do it all the time and get addicted to the feeling or they become immune and feel the need to try other methods of relief. Unfortunately, many drunk drivers who have been caught have actually drove an average of 80 times before being caught or arrested (Why You Should Never Drink and Drive). Bad things happen to successful people though, like Bernard King, who was a very strong basketball player who even recovered from a knee injury most people do not over come also faced a serious drinking problem.

King was addicted to alcohol and was only really accepted with the Golden State Warriors, the only team who was willing to risk his addiction with his ability to perform. Drinking made his teammates always worry he would be hungover or unable to play to his best ability in their games and compromise their chance to succeed (Fact Cite). Also, it has been discovered that Teens who drank five or more alcoholic beverages twice a week, which is also called binge drinking, had damage to their brain tissue that could later cause memory loss, the inability to focus, and make them incapable of decision making while in adulthood. A separate study showed that drinking alcohol can lower test scores, but it differs between males and females. Girls tend to struggle with reading comprehension and interpreting visuals, while guys are less able to pay attention to their surroundings (Which Is Worse For You: Drinking Alcohol or Smoking Weed?).

When a driver is either intoxicated or drunk, distractions are a greater problem for them and others. A Pew study showed that 34 percent of teens who text have also done it while driving, and 47 percent of adults who text have done it while driving. When people do this drunk, they are double likely to get in an accident because they are visually impaired already and they let their cell phone distract them more (Is Texting While Driving Really Worse than Drunk Driving?). When there are other people in the car with you, they may cause you to focus your attention more on them than on the road or your surroundings which is very dangerous, especially when there is alcohol involved (2011 Drunk Driving Statistics). While driving, at the .

02 blood alcohol level, experiments have proved that people can exhibit some loss of judgment and relax. But the tests have also shown that drivers at the .02 level have a decline in sight, unable to watch a moving object, lack the coordination to multitask. At a .05 BAC, drivers are even less able to see clearly or track a moving object.

They began to loose feeling in some body parts and experience difficulty in turning the wheel. At .08, drivers find it difficult to concentrate, maintain speed of their car, focus on the road, unable to speak or hear clearly which is very dangerous. When drinking, you began to develop a slower reaction time which could be very risky if an emergency situation appears. This could determine life and death.

In some states, officers have the right to arrest a driver even if they have not reached the .08 level if the driver has provided the officer with probable cause to the arrest like swerving and causing danger to others. The distraction of another person could help determine this factor (Why You Should Never Drink and Drive). Methods for measuring intoxication include field sobriety tests. During these tests, the driver may be asked to perform certain tasks, such as walking a straight line or balancing on one leg or even repeating the alphabet backwards in front of a police officer.

Many decide to decline the test and just get arrested in hopes to not get charged with a DUI (World Book Discover). The first offense results in a DUI, the second offense is called “Illegal per se.” These wrecks have accounted for 31% of all accidents in the U.S. (2011 Drunk Driving Statistics). On the other hand, some people firmly believe that they can maneuver a vehicle after having a couple drinks or being drunk than they can while sober.

But, most people may not realize it but most impairment takes place before you reach the BAC which is considered to be drunk. A 120-pound woman can reach the .08 level after only having two drinks while a 180-pound man can be at .08 after only four drinks. One shot of liquor, a five-ounce glass of wine or one beer are all considered one drink because they all contain the same amount of alcohol.

When drivers reach a .08 alcohol level they are 11 times more likely to get into a car accident than when sober (Why You Should Never Drink and Drive). Over the years, the number of people who have been drinking and driving have generally gone down, for example in 1982, there were a total of 43,945 fatalities, 26,173 of those being alcohol related making it at 60% while in 2011. there were 32,367 fatalities, 9,878 of those were alcohol related making it a lower 38% but that does not mean the problem will go away unless we take action (2011 Drunk Driving Statistics). In conclusion, drunk driving has been a very dangerous action that has been taking place for a long time.

Research shows that one alcohol-related crash happens every 53 minutes. Drinking and driving tears families apart, can lead to other problems, and is highly controversial to some who believe they are more aware when driving drunk. Drunk driving has decreased over the years but it is still at a high number and needs to be stopped now. What can you do to help?