In so many ways, it’s ridiculous that the message of not drinking and driving needs to be reiterated over and over again. Even more interesting is that statistics show that by the time a drunk driver has been caught by law enforcement – statistics show that they have likely been intoxicated to some degree behind the wheel of a vehicle around 80 times prior. 80 times!?
Essentially, drunk driving is one of those things that people begin to feel comfortable with after they have don’t it so many times. They figure that if there were able to get home safely the past few weekends, then this weekend will be no different. Never mind the extra shot of Jagermeister that they have had. And so drinking and driving often becomes a habit, one in which people start feeling a false sense of confidence about. This is likely why over half of all people that cause a drinking and driving fatality accident are repeat offenders. It cannot be that they don’t HEAR the message, because the message is loud and clear. Plus its law.
Many people will go out to dinner with family (kids included) down a pitcher of beer and feel completely capable behind the wheel. Then, when pulled over or involved in an accident there blood alcohol levels are to an extent that they are legally drunk. Were they coherent? Did the alcohol have anything to do with the ticket or accident? The ‘drunk’ will probably say no but the truth is, there is no way to know for sure. Except to know that even one drink of alcohol changes perception times and cognizant value. One drink. You might not be wasted, and feel as though you are in total control but your cognitive and motor skills have been diminished.
So why risk it? Why cant people just get it through their thick skulls that they if they are going to drink they don’t need to drive? Let’s repeat! If YOU are going to drink….please don’t drive! Please! Not for you, but because by doing so you put others in this world unnecessarily at risk. You could kill someone’s child. You could hurt yourself, take away a parent – and be left to with an immense amount of guilt for making a bad decision. And, it is not a bad decision that takes much thought either. This one is pretty dang easy and simple to understand. Drinking and driving are two things that NEVER, in any situation – go well together.
Since the onset of MADD and SADD and other anti-drinking and driving agencies – drinking and driving awareness has been raised. Between 1991 and 2009, statistics show that drinking and driving arrests, accidents, and fatalities have decreased by as much as 44%. Of course, this also has a lot to do with the fact that laws have been made more stringent for offenders and enforcement is in full force. Most local law enforcement agencies have task forces designed to catch drunk drivers, and roadblocks across the United States and abroad to find drunk drivers have now become the norm.
But still, in 2009, around 34,000 DIED in drunken driving accidents. That’s 34,000 people that could be alive today if one person had decided not to get behind the wheel after drinking. That is 34,000 unnecessary and illegal deaths that were the result of a person’s ego thinking they were sober enough to operate a motor vehicle. It’s one thing if you want to kill yourself or compromise your own life, but to make that decision for another person is truly incorrigible!
Consider this for a minute. A criminal shop lifts. They may shop life time and time again. Another type of criminal robs people cars or causes property damage. Then, of course, there are the maladies of criminals who abide or injure other people. Now, do you consider you or any of your friends a criminal? You would never dare shop lift, right? Because it’s against the law and because it’s immoral? You wouldn’t beat up your girl/boyfriend. You wouldn’t break into a neighbor’s home and steal their television. But getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after you have been drinking, makes you no better than the other people in this world who are criminals. You know you are breaking the law before you even turn on the ignition. But you do it anyway. The question is it ego or stupidity that makes the choice?
While around half of all drinking and driving arrests are made on people that have committed the crime once before, the other half are newbie’s. And around 97% of those newbies admit to have been intoxicated behind the wheel before. Perhaps the punishments are not stringent enough, or the legal system has let down on their preparedness to keep the population safe. Maybe if people who were caught behind the wheel with alcohol on their breath should have their licenses taken away forever. Would that be the answer? What about mandatory jail time with no no-low defenses? Would the fear of 5 years in a prison cell drive home the message that drinking and driving don’t mix?
The controversy about drinking and driving touches nearly 1 out of every 2.5 people in the United States alone. When it does, the consequences are never pretty. They might be in the form of a funeral, a hospital visit, a court case, or a jail cell. In every instant – the ones often affected the most are the innocent bystanders who are sober in their vehicles…driving home from Grandma’s house with a car full of kids after a nice family meal. It is totally unfair, not to mention ignorant to get behind the wheel of a car after you have been drinking. Ever.
So once again, here’s the little reminder! If you are going to drink, please don’t drive. Use the buddy system. Call a cab. Walk. Sleep it off and come home in the morning. Just make your plans before you go out and make a commitment to you humanity – that you will not be the one to affect another person’s life with YOUR bad decision.