Cause And Effect Essay On Drinking And Driving

The Dangers of Drinking and Driving

Together We Can Make a Difference.

This article is also in Spanish. Click here for the Spanish version.

Millions of people worldwide do it. Many say “What’s the harm, I got home safely and no one was hurt?” Just because you made it home safely to your bed does not mean that you’re making a right decision. When putting those keys in the ignition and driving away after drinking you are not only putting your life at risk but you are risking the lives of all those you come across while driving.

Poor Decision Making

Alcohol affects you in a way that changes your judgement, depth perception as well as vital motor skills required to drive safely. Its easy to think you are driving normally when truly you are not. When the police take notice you could be hit with a DUI/DWI. This is the best case scenario. Getting into an accident your life could be lost as well as any others who too are involved in this accident. According to 2009 drunk driving statistics there were 10,839 traffic fatalities in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. This is those whose lives were lost not the total number of alcohol related accidents, or the number of individuals arrested for drinking and driving.

Is drinking and driving more important than your legal status or life? Take a cab, protect yourself as well as others on the roadways, don’t become another drinking and driving statistic. Operating a motor vehicle while sober can be difficult in itself, adding alcohol or other intoxicants into the mix is putting your life and the lives of others on the roadways at risk. Make the right choice and put your keys down.

Looking to quit drinking, and get your life on track? Check out the best rehabs of 2015.

The Legal Repercussions of Drink and Driving, DUI/DWI

The sound of a siren, the red flashing lights and a person in uniform knocking at your driver side window. An officer has pulled you over for suspicious driving. If the officer smells a strong odor of alcohol, you exhibit slurred speech or general incoherence you will be asked to exit your vehicle and move to the side of the road where you will undergo field sobriety testing. If you fail to demonstrate the proper motor skills or judgment to safely operate a motor vehicle during these field tests, the officer can then ask permission to perform a blood alcohol content test, commonly abbreviated BAC. In most states the legal limit for BAC is .10%, however many states have adopted a lower BAC of .08%. Failing these tests will result in a ride in the back of a police car, a night in jail and charges of a DUI or DWI. You are now facing the legal repercussions of drinking and driving.

All 50 states have taken serious action when it comes to individuals that DUI, driving under the influence, or DWI, driving while intoxicated. There is zero tolerance, all violators will be arrested and charged accordingly.

DUI

A DUI, driving under the influence, is the act of operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level, BAC, over the legal state limit. If you are arrested and charged for a DUI the state will prosecute you accordingly. First offense typically resulting in loss of license for 1 year, as well as, federally mandated outpatient alcohol abuse program and probation. Those who have had multiple DUI’s will most likely be prosecuted to the fullest ability of the law, which varies with each individual state jurisdiction. Regardless to if this is your first offense or second if in an accident while DUI you will be fully prosecuted, if an individual is killed as a result you will too be charged with vehicular manslaughter.

DWI

A DWI, driving while intoxicated, is too the act of operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level, BAC, that is over the legal state limit. If a law officer suspects you of DWI you will undergo a field sobriety test, breathalyzer test and/or blood test to determine intoxication level. The legal repercussions of a DWI are more severe in comparison to an DUI. If you are found guilty of an DWI, you will be charged with drinking and driving. The legal repercussions of an DWI vary with each individual state jurisdiction, often resulting with time in jail, federally mandated alcohol treatment programs and loss of drivers license for an amount of time.

Making The Choice Not to Drink and Drive

According to National statistics, an average of 12,000 people die every year in DUI-related accidents. There is an average of 900,000 arrested each year for DUI/DWI and a full 1/3 of those are repeat offenders. While National averages have dropped by half over the past 35 years there is still an ongoing problem with drinking and driving. The solution to this problem does not just rest in the hands of law enforcement to find these violators and prosecute them but within each and every person to make the conscious choice not to drink and drive. There is always a better option. Keep the roadways safe along with your loved ones and the loved ones of others by not drinking and driving.

Resources and Organizations

  1. Mothers Against Drunk Driving, MADD
  2. College Drinking Prevention
  3. Drunk Driving Statistics and Facts
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  5. National Center for the Victims of Crime: Drunk Driving
  6. Response Ability Update
  7. Community Coalition for Healthy Youth
  8. NHTSA
  9. Alcohol Research Group
  10. College Alcohol Study
  11. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  12. Facts on Tap
  13. Alice
  14. Higher Education Center
  15. Monitoring the Future

How You Can Help End Drinking and Driving

First thing anyone can do is make the choice themselves not to drink and drive. With this said there are many other ways you can help to end drinking and driving. Educating the youth, your personal family members as well as youth within your community is very important. They must know the dangers of drinking and driving as well as the legal repercussions of these action. Another way to help would be to volunteer with an organization set out to end drinking and driving, this will help you to reach out to more individuals and get the word across about the dangers of drinking and driving. You can also donate to these organizations, contributions made by individuals like yourself are what make it possible to keep drivers educated and safe. If you or a loved one have a problem with alcohol, please read our resource on choosing a safe and effective alcohol treatment center.

Regardless to how you help; by making the choice not to drink yourself, personally educating youth, volunteering or donating, you will be working to end drinking and driving.

Help others by sharing:

Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle – car, truck, motorcycle or any other motorized vehicle – after consuming alcohol is a serious crime. Drinking and driving is referred to as driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), and involves operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of at least 0.08 percent. However, even a small amount of alcohol can lead to harmful situations. Some drivers may not even show warning signs of being under the influence, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less dangerous. It’s important to remember that any form of drinking and driving is illegal and can come with strict punishment.

The largest group at risk for drinking and driving are those who binge drink or are struggling with an alcohol use disorder (AUD). This means they consume a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time, putting them at risk for harmful side effects. It takes roughly 30 minutes to two hours for alcohol to be absorbed into your bloodstream. During this time, your breathing may slow down and your cognitive skills may be delayed. Because of this, it is always dangerous to drink and drive.

Alcoholism is a condition that can be treated with the help of a specialized treatment center. If you or someone you love is struggling with a drinking problem, it’s time to seek help and get your life back on track. Call us now to find top-rated rehab facilities that fit your needs.

Dangers of Drinking and Driving

Any amount of alcohol in your bloodstream can impact your driving ability. The effects of alcohol abuse vary greatly, putting you at risk for causing an accident or highway injury. Safe driving requires the ability to concentrate, make good judgements and quickly react to situations. However, alcohol affects these skills, putting yourself and others in danger.

Here are several ways alcohol impairs your driving skills:

Slow reaction time

When alcohol is in your system, it affects how quickly you’re able to respond to different situations. Drinking slows your response time, which can increase the likelihood of an accident. Therefore, if the car in front of you brakes suddenly or a pedestrian crosses the street, it will take longer for your brain to process the situation and prevent an accident.

Lack of coordination

Heavy drinking affects your motor skills such as eye, hand and foot coordination. Without crucial coordination skills, you may be unable to avoid an impending harmful situation. Some telltale signs of reduced coordination include trouble walking, swaying and inability to stand straight. Too much alcohol can even make it difficult to get in your car and find its ignition.

Reduce concentration

Alcohol, no matter how much or how little, can influence your concentration. With driving, there are many things that require your undivided concentration such as staying in your lane, your speed, other cars on the road and traffic signals. Your attention span is dramatically reduced with drinking, which significantly increases the chance of an accident.

Decrease vision

Excessive alcohol consumption can negatively impact your vision. After drinking, you may notice that your vision is blurred or that you’re unable to control your eye movement. Impaired vision can affect how you judge the distance between your car and other vehicles on the road. Additionally, fewer objects may be visible within your peripheral vision, or what you can see to either side of you when looking straight ahead.

Inhibit judgment

Your brain controls how you judge certain circumstances. When operating a motorized vehicle, your judgement skills play an important role in how you make decisions. For instance, you need to be able to foresee potential problems and make clear decisions if another vehicle cuts you off. Your judgement helps you stay alert and aware of surrounding conditions while driving.

In the United States, roughly 28 people die every day in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver.

In 2014, nearly 10,000 Americans were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. Alcohol-related accidents accounted for nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths.

More than 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics in 2014.

How Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Levels Affect Driving

A blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 percent is considered legally impaired. However, alcohol can start to affect many of your senses after only one drink. No matter the circumstances, you should never drink and drive. It’s not worth the risk of putting yourself and others in danger.

Here’s an example of how your BAC level affects your driving:

BAC of 0.02

Lack of judgment, increased relaxation, slightly increased body temperature, mood swings, decreased visual functionality, inability to multi-task

BAC of 0.05

Increased lack of judgment, exaggerated behavior, lack of coordination, reduced ability to detect moving objects, lack of alertness, lack of inhibitions, decreased small-muscle control, reduced response rate

BAC of 0.08

Reduced muscle coordination, lack of judgment, lack of reasoning, lack of self-control, loss of short-term memory, reduced ability to concentrate, lack of speed control, reduced ability to process information

BAC of 0.10

Poor coordination, slowed reaction times, reduced ability to control the vehicle, reduced ability to keep vehicle within a lane and brake at appropriate times, slurred speech

BAC of 0.15

Extreme loss of balance, nearly zero muscle control, vomiting, impaired visual and auditory information processing, significantly reduced attention to driving tasks

Additionally, fatal crashes involving a 0.08 percent BAC level or higher are charged as alcohol-impaired driving fatalities. Although the the alcohol-impaired driving fatality rate decreased 27 percent between 2005 and 2014, motor vehicle crashes involving alcohol cost the United States roughly $44 billion each year.

The economic costs of these crashes include:

  • Lost productivity
  • Workplace losses
  • Legal expenses
  • Medical costs
  • Emergency medical services
  • Insurance administration
  • Congestion
  • Property damage

Who is Most at Risk?

Alcohol consumption can put anyone at risk of causing an accident or other serious injury. However, some populations are more likely to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking.

Drivers who are between the ages of 16 and 20 years old are 10 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash, than drivers over the age of 21. While the number of underage drinking and driving cases has significantly decreased, many communities are pushing out new initiatives to keep adolescents safe. In 2011 alone, close to one million high school teens admitted to drinking and driving.

The second highest alcohol-related crash risk includes individuals between the ages of 21 to 24. In 2012, 21 to 24 year olds had the highest percentage of drivers in fatal crashes with a BAC level of 0.08 percent or higher – 32 percent. Many of these cases involved binge drinking, a form of consuming too much alcohol in a short period of time. This often affects college students and young professionals who attend parties and other social events that have easy access to alcohol.

Get help for alcoholism

Take your life back by getting started in a treatment program today.

Learn more about treatment

Drinking and Driving Laws

Federal regulation constitutes a DWI as driving with a BAC level of 0.08 percent or higher. A motor vehicle may include car, truck, bicycle, golf cart, snowmobile and jet skis. Each state has its own laws surrounding DWI convictions such as the fines involved, jail time and possible revoked or suspended license. Depending on the legal charges, some states may also require community service time or alcoholism treatment.

Many states have enacted various laws in an effort to reduce the dangers of drinking and driving. For instance, zero tolerance laws are aimed at adolescents who get behind the wheel of a car after consuming alcohol. Drinking under the age of 21 is illegal in the United States and comes with strict punishment. If you are charged with underage drinking and operating a motor vehicle, you could face severe legal penalties.

A DWI or DUI conviction can impact your life in a number of ways. Consequences of drinking and driving can hurt your family and relationships, cost you employment opportunities, cause financial difficulties, high insurance rates and possible time in jail.

Don’t Let Alcoholism Destroy Your Life

Learn about the risk factors of alcoholism and the different forms of treatment available.

For more information about alcohol treatment, speak with a recovery specialist today.

0 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *