When an intoxicated individual makes a decision to sit behind the wheel of an automobile and drive home, he endangers everyone on the road. This one decision, which may not seem important at the time, can have a crucial impact . When the choice whether or not to drive under the influence of alcohol faces a person, he often does not realize the consequences of his actions, and therefore makes an extremely uneducated decision. Many people believe that increasing fines for drunk driving offenders will play a significant part in the cutting down of driving under the influence. However, while stiffer DUI laws will look affective on paper, they will not make a substantial step in the fight against drunk driving.
The only benefit of increased drunk driving fines goes to the law enforcement agency that collects the fines. Because the majority of DUI stops happen to individuals who do not believe that they have become drunk, a person who chooses to drive does not even consider the fine that he may receive, no matter the amount. If an intoxicated person believes that he has the ability to drive home safely, a new law passed by state representatives will not stop them. A state increasing its DUI fines, will not make the police notice a decline in the amount of drunken driving stops, nor a decreased amount of alcohol related accidents. The only change that would come from such an increase would come in a boost in state government funds pouring in from DUI offenders.
While the fight against drunk driving seems to have no end, many other solutions exist besides the raising of fines. One such solution lies in education. If the general public becomes properly educated about the meaning of intoxication, they will have the ability to make a proper choice when it comes time to decide whether or not to drive home. An individual needs to know facts such as how many drinks it takes to push them above the legal blood alcohol limit to drive. The legal blood alcohol content in Kentucky stands at .08. this means that if an officer stops a driver who’s blood alcohol content proves above .08, the officer recognizes this person as impaired, and can proceed with giving them a DUI. The public also needs to know consequences far more great than a simple fine, such as the risk you take of killing yourself or others when driving while impaired. Simply knowing certain facts about driving under the influence can become the difference between a person driving drunk and taking a cab home. The difference between life and death lies in this choice, so it should lie in the hands of an educated person, not someone who does not know the facts about drunk driving.
Another factor that can affect a person’s decision to drive drunk comes with his friends. A person needs to possess enough common sense to not let someone who is obviously intoxicated sit behind the wheel. While a possible fine will not stop someone from driving drunk, a close friend telling them not to drive will prevent them from doing so. In order to stop an intent person who has decided that he wants to drive drunk, a friend must also prove intent in stopping them. The saying, “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk,” could not have any more accuracy. Many times, a person will use every excuse in the world to convince someone to let them drive. A true friend should never let someone drive drunk, no matter the circumstances.
The fact remains true, that no matter what anyone does, whether increasing the punishment, or educating the public, we cannot completely solve the problem of drunk driving. “Preaching to me about the evils of drinking didn’t stop me though.” This quotation from “An Indian Story”, by Roger Jack, demonstrates the average person’s attitude towards alcohol. People posses their own determination and will do what they want to do, and this willpower becomes even stronger when alcohol enters the picture. Judgment becomes impaired, and a person’s decision making goes downhill. This fact alone contributes greatly to the fact that people will always drive drunk, no matter what anyone does.
Although nothing can totally prevent drunk driving, certain steps such as the education of not only the potential driver, but his friends as well, can play a significant role. The increase in fines, however, would prove completely ineffective and have no impact whatsoever on the amount of drunk driving that takes place. People simply do not consider the legal punishment when making the decision to drive while intoxicated. Knowing that consequences can go so much further that an easy fine and even be as serious as death, however, may sway someone’s choice. The prevention of drunk driving does not lie in legislation, but in education. Educated people make educated decisions, and educated people will not make the decision to drive drunk.
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“Just one time, come on, loosen up!” At a party, you hear the taunting voices of those you thought were your “friends.”
“I don’t drink, I told you guys already,” You urge them to understand.
“Just one swig,” they chime in together.
“Oh, all right. Why not,” as you reluctantly give in.
These are frequent conversations between high school and college kids when it comes to drinking. A form of brutal peer-pressure, but one drink could send your world spinning in the wrong direction. Grasping the alcoholic drink in your hands and drinking it is only an outcome that will lead to trouble. Then, after what you thought was a thrilling idea only ruins your life and others for the worse. Drinking can cause excruciating pain beginning with hangovers, serious addiction, alcohol poisoning, and possibly ending in death.
One thousand four hundred students between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four die each year from alcohol related accidents. Five hundred thousand students are injured each year while driving under the influence of alcohol. I strongly believe the lives of many should not be risked for the sake of alcohol. Citizens in our society should not drive under the influence.
Think of the hurt one’s family must cope with when they lose a loved one to someone’s selfishness to drive after drinking. If you are driving under the influence and you kill an innocent driver and/or passenger, you will be charged with vehicular homicide. You would spend a large portion of life in jail that you would never get back. For example, the organization of Moms Against Drunk Driving (MADD) gives their testimonial of the hurt that their family has suffered when losing their loved one. One mother told a story of her only son, Peter who was killed in a drunk driving accident, leaving their family in a state of confusion and loss. Alcohol causes death in poisoning and wrecks. A person can become ill from alcohol poisoning and damage their organs affecting their life for the worst.
A common reason people drink is that they think it helps them “loosen up” or become more outgoing, and people will respect them. Of course, everyone wants to be popular. They hope that hosting parties where alcohol is available will assist them to becoming the “it” person at the campus. Truthfully, most classmates just find drinking bizarre. People also drink to escape the worries of life, thinking it will make them forget entirely the pain of it all. However, the feeling of oblivion is only temporary and you only feel worse in the end. In addition, peers may insist that one drink will not cause addiction or will not kill someone from driving under the influence one time. They will insist the chance is one in a million, but that is useless information to the person injured in a wreck.
Third, consuming large amounts of alcohol can cause hangover the next morning. A person will feel horrible with a hangover. A feeling of nausea overtakes, and you feel like death is near. Too much drinking makes your breath smell bad, gives a bad impression, and makes you character questionable. Mistakes and errors seem evident in your actions too.
Driving under the influence causes harm and guilt about what occurred. Just like the scenario in the beginning of the story, you may feel peer pressure when it comes to drinking. It is your choice, however, if you will stand your ground or play chicken. Which will it be?
“Su, zu leavin’ da purty?” You hear a complaining, slurring voice.
“Yesh,” you nod; unable to understand them clearly.
“Why?” They stumble into a chair trying to stop you.
“I goota gew, pash curfuuw,” you breath heavily. Why did you drink? At first, you swore to only one sip, but that plan failed.
Jumping into your new convertible, you begin to drive unsteadily. The road seems blurry and then... “BANG!” you rear-end a car.
“No!” your voice screams, you sound distant. Tears stream your blood shot eyes, you are desperate for an escape, but there isn’t one.
“Miss, have you been drinking?” Questions the officer at your car window. “I saw you swerving on the road, have you been drinking?!?” he persists.
“Huh, just a couple,” you sob hysterically.
Suddenly, you pause to think. Is drinking going to make you well-liked? It only brings trouble when you consume this much and drive behind the wheel. Is it wise? What can you afford to lose?