Why Drunk Driving?
Drunk driving is the operation of motor vehicles while one is under alcohol influence (Beck 1696). The influence is to a great degree such that the motor and mental skills become impaired. Is there any one jurisdiction in the United States that drunk driving is not illegal? Not one. Illegal as it is, why is it so prevalent and causing so many fatalities? It is because of the law enforcement in different states. The law enforcement against this vice varies within territories in our beloved country. Drunk driving became a major societal problem immediately the automobile became popularly used (Boufard and Richardson 276). The formal control mechanisms instituted in the country attempted to control the problem by using the general deterrence theory or the rational choice. Does the deterrence theory really have in grasp the reigns to control drunk driving? It does not. It will never be in control of the vice because its attempts to control the problem by criminalizing it ignores the root causes that result in drunk driving. Alternative rehabilitative sanctions need to undergo an implementation in conjunction with all the sanctions running currently (Chen et al. 581). Great measures need to be in place for the social acceptance of drunk driving to change.
Statistics: How Fatal is Drunk Driving?
The statistics of the vice conducted by various firms worldwide all converge to a single conclusion about the ignored severity of the problem. By the year 2000, alcohol-related crashes in the US cost the taxpayer an estimated $114.3 billion. To make matters worse, it also cost $51.1 billion in terms of monetary costs and an approximate $63.2 billion in terms of quality lives lost. The bills of the alcohol-related crashes were paid by other people and amounted to $71.6 billion. Why are the taxpayers this quiet when much of their effort is going down the drain to cater for drunk driving fatalities? Is it because of ignorance? Is it that these statistics are not put out in the open? In 2012, the degree of driving fatalities caused by alcohol-impaired minds per 100,000 population was 3.3, a representation of a 64% decrease since 1982, the year when record keeping began. In The Times Staff Writer, an article dated August 2, 1988 by Eric Malnic talks of the actor, Trinidad Silva’s demise. The actor, Trinidad Silva, got killed, and his wife and son injured when their vehicle got smashed into by a drunk driver in Whittier. As seen, alcohol not only takes a life, but destroys what it leaves behind. The children lost a father and the wife a husband, and the world lost great talent. Such is the price of intoxicated driving. Since the founding of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility back in the year 1991, there has been a 48% decrease recorded. The data would get translated as, for every 100,000 Americans, slightly above three people left this world in a drunk driving fatal accident. The above rate has been cut nearly to half in the last two decades – all the way down from a rate of 6.3 in 1991 (Cullen and Agnew 58).
Alcohol-impaired driving accidents resulted to 31% of the total motor vehicle traffic fatal accidents in 2012. Referring to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 33,561 people lost their precious lives in traffic fatalities in 2012 in the United States. In addition to that, an estimated 10,322 people died in drunk driving accidents involving a driver with a prohibited body alcohol content of 0.08 or greater. Of the people who died in drunk driving incidences, 27% were the vehicle occupants (2,824), 65% were drivers (6,688) and 8% involved non-occupants (810). Is it that the citizens of the US are so timid to voice their complaints at any level? Why do they always have to risk their live by getting into vehicles quite aware that the driver is drunk? The law should be widened to have passengers in a vehicle with a drunk driver prosecuted in equal measure. The average is one person dying every 51 minutes in a drunk driving accident (Eensoo 143).
Looking at all levels of authority, why are they allowing such devastations to continue? Does it not feel like terrorism that is arranged by and against our people? To casualties, why would they try to prove their sobriety while they are not? At all the levels of blood alcohol content, there is a higher risk for young people being involved in a crash than older people. Among the drivers involved in fatal accidents in the year 2012, those between the ages 21 to 24 had a percentage of 32. The ages 35 to 44 had a lower percentage of involvement which was 24. 29 percent of the motorcyclists who lost their lives in the year 2012 had a blood alcohol content of greater than 0.08%. In an article dated April 23rd 2014 by Oren Yaniv of the New York Daily News, a little boy, Dylan, succumbed to injuries when his father, Pollydore, 65, crashed into a light post. His alcohol blood level was 0.094, over the legal limit of 0.08. Had the father survived, a lawsuit against him for attempted murder should have been filed by the country’s prosecution. Would the judges turn ear to the pleas that he would not murder his son? Possibly, yes and maybe, the reason nature performed justice all the same and executed the death sentence even before the prosecution.
How Well Can It Be Prevented?
Prevention of the fatalities caused by drunk driving would require some measures put to place. Using sobriety checkpoints would have drunk drivers arrested before they cause accidents (Flango 22). Confiscating licenses of drunk drivers would also enforce the laws against driving when one is under the influence. Zero tolerance laws for drivers suspected of DWI or having been caught drunk driving are subject to interlocking devices with slight alterations to the conditions of enforcement among the different states (Elder et al. 364). Having health promotions influencing the organizational and economic policies in schools and communities would bring sensitization to the ground level where most of the affected live. Another preventive measure would be to raise the unit price of alcohol through an increase in their taxes. In Kootenai County DUI court those driving while intoxicated face mandatory substance abuse tests and undergo treatment before return of the already confiscated driving license. Reducing the blood alcohol threshold from 0.08% to 0.05%, would ensure a safer road to anyone who is driving in the US. Finally, there should be a mandatory blood alcohol test done when a traffic accident results in injury.
Is There Any Feasible Plan?
On September 30, 2014, in the CNN, Ray Sanchez made headlines of the arrest of Michael Phelps. Sanchez reported that the legendary Olympic swimmer got arrested on a DUI charge. The question about how serious this problem is should not get underestimated. It cuts across all walks of life regardless of economic or social standing. The occurrences of all the epidemic level offenses committed while drivers are drunk should coerce all United States jurisdictions to develop a unique and special sobriety or an impaired driving problem-solving court. That court would directly and to a large extent emulate the drug court model. On their own, threats of punishment are not likely to turn around the behavior of individuals. The philosophy of impaired driving courts would be to treat the problem and also punish the offender. Establishing impaired driving courts would protect the public safety. It would also reduce recidivism by duly addressing the main causation of all the impaired driving-alcohol and substance abuse. The main mission of impaired and sobriety courts would be to make the law offenders accountable. It would cause a change in behavior reducing recidivism. However, hard it may be to change public attitudes with respect to drinking and driving, media programs can substantially help in building of public support in addressing the issue.
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Eensoo, Diva, Marika Paaver, Maarike Harro, and Jaanus Harro. “Predicting drunk driving: contribution of alcohol use and related problems, traffic behavior, personality and platelet Monoamine Oxidase (MAO) activity.” Alcohol & Alcoholism 40.2 (2005): 140-146. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. Retrieved from http://alcalc.oxfordjournals.org/content/alcalc/40/2/140.full.pdf
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Flango, Victor E. “DWI Courts: The Newest Problem-Solving Courts.” Court Review: The Journal of the American Judges Association 42.1 (2005): 22-25. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1045&context=ajacourtreview
United States. Kootenai County Government (Idaho). DUI Court: Eligibility Criteria. Idaho, 2014. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. Retrieved from http://www.kcgov.us/departments/districtcourt/trialcourt/dui.asp#top