In spite of the declining trend in the number of drunk driving cases and alcohol-impaired fatalities, operating under the influence still remains an aggravating problem both to youngsters and adults.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration fatalities resulted from drink-driving have decreased 38% nationwide over the past 17 years (NHTSA/FARS, 2009). Nevertheless, operating while intoxicated continues to be a serious problem, which can be overcome thorough examination of the relationship between its causes and effects and strict legal regulation meant to prevent drunk driving behavior.
Since adults are blamed for the majority of the intoxicated driving accidents, it’s worth looking into main causes and effects of an irrational behavior that leads to these dire consequences. It usually happens that some people who are asked to attend a party, drive to the place by car making plans to avoid drinking at all, or stopping to drink after one or two shots (glasses) of alcohol consumed. Those intentions are by all means righteous, but most people are unable to control themselves after drinking. So having succumbed to temptation and losing control are major reasons for getting your car keys in your hands and driving car while being drunk. Another variation of the same cause might be a person’s assumption that the amount of alcohol consumed is quite negligible and that he/she is absolutely “okay” to drive. This type of false “self-confident” behavior is typical among tipsy or intoxicated people, who are not aware of their level of impairment. The last type of behavior can be linked to another cause, namely lack of “drinking culture”, such as mixing drinks, taking medication while drinking, using drugs etc. It’s very important to recognize another issue leading to over-drinking and consequently to impaired driving. The issue is related to personal problems, that may result in person trying to rescue himself/herself from heart-gnawing reality and hence stopping to care about anything or anyone around. The outlined types of behavior and losing control over oneself can be causes that spur an individual to drink-drive.
However, while lack of “drinking culture”, loss of control and some other common types of behavior can also be attributed to young people, there are still a few causes that specifically identify common patterns in teenagers behavior. And the first among them is so-called “peer pressure”: showing friends your car and your super-ability to drive it while drunk; pretending to be quite sober so that others think you can drink a lot more than others; not wanting anyone else to drive your car; feeling oneself grown-up and engaging in broadening your personal freedoms etc. All these reasons are putting teenagers at risk and can easily become a cause of intoxicated driving.
The effects of drinking are pretty straight-forward: incomprehensible speech, double vision, loss of coordination and concentration, sudden outburst of hostility or any impulsive changes of mood, black-outs etc. And while these effects can be dealt with, the effects of drinking and driving can be a lot more gruesome. As a result there might be terrible accidents, which include but are not limited to: knocking someone down by car, injuring or killing him/her, dying in a car crash, getting behind bars, incurring legal costs, hurting your family with your thoughtless actions etc.
While statistics show the drunk-driving cases are becoming less frequent, they, unfortunately, do not disappear, and people still do the same mistakes irrespective of warnings. Legal actions undertaken in the past few years have contributed to tackling the problem, but installing more sobriety checkpoints, lowering BAC levels or raising penalty fees or imprisoning drunk drivers won’t help. We should evidently stop “stopping to care” and start being more responsible. It is a high time people realized that it’s no longer actual to think only for themselves. I strongly plead Americans to become more conscious towards other people’s lives.