Drunk driving Sources scholarly it a problem solution research paper ( argue / solution) Solution: Increase fines ( jail time / suspend licenses permanently) - educating teens Only ONE solution pick .
Driving nowadays has become a relatively common aspect of every day life. More and more people are inseparable from their cars, motorcycles or other private means of transportation. As the number of people using private vehicles increases, so does the number of serious accidents on the motorways. One of the reasons for these accidents is drunk driving which has become a serious concern not only for the authorities but also for the civil society. There are a lot of aspects that can be taken into account when discussing possible means through which the number of fatal casualties as well as injuries can be reduced. Given that the civil society and the population at large has an immense role in producing these accidents, one means through which action can be taken is a more sustainable education on the implications of drunk driving, starting from at the level of the high-school.
The issue of road accidents is serious not only through the distinct cases that point out the loss of lives, but also at the level of statistics. More precisely, "In 2002, 42,815 people were killed on the Nation's highways and an additional 3.03 million people suffered serious injuries. Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death and disability for Americans between the ages of 2 and 33." (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2003) Therefore, in one year alone, the over three million people were affected, one way or another, by road accidents. This is an important aspect because it points out not only the gravity of the situation but also the implications for the other traffic participants.
The issue of drunk driving as well as the effects it brought on the traffic participants was a worrisome aspect in the 1980s when statistics pointed out that drunk driving was the cause of more than 25,000 deaths nationwide. In this sense, "in 1982, 26,000 alcohol-related fatalities occurred nationwide. By 1994, alcohol-related fatalities had dropped to about 17,300 as a result of new state and national laws, media attention, more law enforcement and an increase in public recognition of the seriousness of impaired driving" (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2003). The swift in the statistics in a decade revealed that indeed the modifications brought to the legislation as well as the increase in fines and punishments made people more aware of the gravity of drunk driving. At the same time though, it pointed out that change could indeed take place and further improvement would be possible. The most important modification however that influenced the drop in the statistics was due to "federally mandated zero tolerance and age 21 drinking laws. In the group with the highest rate of alcohol- related fatalities (per year of age), ages 21 and 24, fatalities dropped by almost 50% between 1982 and 1994." (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2003)
Further improvement was achieved since 1994. Even so, in 2010, the number of road accidents to include impaired driving as a result of consumption of alcohol exceeded 10,000 victims (NHTSA, 2012). The legislation and punishment for this type of crime are rather severe. The legal consequences for drunk driving depend from state to state. For instance, the Californian law concerning this offence ranges from suspension of license to months in jail, depending whether it is a first time offense or recidivating. In other states, such as Connecticut, there are severe fines, jail time, as well as possible community service mandatory and suspension of license in case of recidivating (DUIconsequences.com, 2011).
The changes in the legislation have also included the modification of the accepted limit of alcohol in the blood and ability to drive. However, there have been studies conducted that pointed out that unfortunately the changing of the limit did not reduce the number of drunk driving. More precisely, "Using difference- in-differences estimators of U.S. state-level data with standard errors corrected for autocorrelation, we find no evidence that lowering BAC limits to 0.08 grams/decaliter has reduced fatality rates, either in total or in alcohol-related crashes." (Freeman, 2005)
The aspects regarding drunk driving may have serious consequences in terms of loss of life, injuries, long time mutilations, and affecting innocent people, or causing important material damages (National Safety Council, 2012). Other statistics point out that "Roughly 33% of Americans are involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point in their lives. In 2006, the number of people who died in traffic crashes involving alcohol accounted for 41% of the total number of traffic fatalities. That same year, 1.46 million arrests were made concerning people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs" (DUI Foundation, 2008). This is why it is important to take into account any possible means to ensure a reduction of the number of people drinking and driving. One of this means is a better education especially for the young people that are more prone to drinking irresponsibly and driving, thus putting in danger their own lives and the lives of others.
Certain initiatives were undertaken at the national and state level alike. The major player in terms of acting on this area is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) "NHTSA has a leadership and coordination role in the national effort to reduce impaired driving injuries and death. For instance, NHTSA has provided leadership for the You Drink and Drive. You Lose. national crackdown to increase high visibility law enforcement throughout the country and publicize it. The agency has worked closely with the Department of Justice to enhance the adjudication of impaired driving offenses throughout the country" (NHTSA, 2003).
One of the first important steps in furthering the education of young adults is represented by awareness campaigns regarding the risks of drunk driving and what may be the consequences for the driver and the ones around him/her. These include accidents, mutilations, damages, risks as well as convictions and jail time.
Another step in better educating young adults with regard to drunk driving is related to the consumption of alcohol. Young adults have the tendency to drink irresponsibly out of curiosity or peer pressure. However, they need to be aware of the exact effect drinking has on their bodies and minds to potentially reconsider and drink responsibly. At the same time, if better knowledge is provided to young adults on the issue of effects on the body and mind of alcohol, they may decide not to drive if they drink.
There are countries in Europe where there is zero tolerance for alcohol consumption and driving. Although it is difficult to change such rules and regulation and introduce zero tolerance, people should be aware of the fact that regardless their capacity to resist to alcohol and to drink responsibly, either way alcohol has effects on the brain and will prevent them from acting rapidly in a time of crisis or if faced with an immediate situation. Therefore, when driving, young adults should be educated to have a zero tolerance to alcohol consumption even if the legal level is not zero.
Another aspect that can ensure a more effective understanding of the risks drunk driving poses for the safety and security of the driver and the people around is a more efficient understanding of the legal aspects drunk driving implies. Young adults should be aware of the consequences drunk driving and fatal injuries may have on their future, from a legal point-of-view. These aspects are essential because they may ensure a more serious approach of the matter of driving while under the influence of alcohol.
Finally, parents must be the first "teachers" of the young adults and must always provide positive examples for their children. Despite the fact…