Drunk Driving: Wrecking More Than Your Own Life

Written by Bonnie Gringer

Drunk driving is a very serious matter. Not only does one endanger their own life when driving while intoxicated, but the lives of others can be endangered as well. This includes passengers in the same vehicle as the drunk driver, other drivers on the road, and pedestrians. Unfortunately, despite tough laws for those driving under the influence, dire consequences drunk drivers have to face, and the tireless efforts of groups against drunk driving, it continues to be a problem in the United States.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, three people are killed every two hours in alcohol-related crashes on our highways. In 2010, four million Americans admitted to driving while under the influence at least once. In 2011, more than 1.2 million drivers were arrested for driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers, 25% of which involve an underage driver who was drinking. Another statistic states that drunk driving is the most frequently committed crime in the country.

People who are charged with driving under the influence face all kinds of consequences. They can lose their driver’s license for a certain period of time, their auto insurance rates can increase, and they could even spend time in jail. Besides all of that, they also end up paying thousands of dollars in fines. Worse yet, some drunk drivers injure or kill another human being. This can not only ruin the life of the one driving drunk, but it also ruins the lives of family members, friends, and relatives of the one whose life was severely injured or so needlessly taken from them. As a result, drunk drivers can face vehicular manslaughter or homicide charges.

More often than not, it’s because of the loss of a loved one that organizations are formed to try to increase awareness about drunk driving, pass tougher laws against drunk driving, and try to put a stop to it altogether. One example of such an organization is Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). This nonprofit organization was founded in California by Candace Lightner after her 13-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver. Currently, there is a MADD organization in each state across the country as well as each province in Canada. Since its inception, the number of drunk driving instances have decreased by 50%. Other organizations, such as Fathers Against Drunk Driving (FADD), have followed suit with a mission to reduce the amount of deaths and accidents caused by drunk driving.

Besides the public doing their part to curb the problem of drunk driving, there are also many things law enforcement tries to do. For instance, during holidays when drinking and driving might be more prevalent, police set up sobriety checkpoints so they can stop drivers and give breath tests if a driver is suspected of being intoxicated. There are also devices called ignition interlocks that can actually measure the amount of alcohol on a driver’s breath and keep the vehicle from starting if it’s over a certain percentage. If everyone steps up and does their part (which includes not driving drunk in the first place), the number of accidents and fatalities due to drunk driving can be reduced or possibly eliminated altogether.

Facts and Statistics on Drunk Driving

Laws About Drunk Driving

Consequences of Drunk Driving

Groups and Organizations Combating Drunk Driving

Drunk Driving Prevention

News and Other Resources Related to Drinking and Driving