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Whenever people plan to have a good time at a party, there are three things they always consider: good food, good conversation, and alcohol. Since most parties are set at night and usually people go to bars after work, it is only natural that the majority of the population goes to drink using private transport. One of the major causes of drunk driving is the lack of preparation when someone drinks more than they planned because they are not thinking about how they will get home. Sometimes it is also overconfidence in oneself, which ironically is an attribute of alcohol consumption. Some people become more arrogant when they are drunk and so they do not seek assistance when they need it.
In other cases, people just don’t care; they know the consequences but they drunk-drive anyway, maybe because they have done it before so they feel they can handle it. Others have difficulty acknowledging when they are intoxicated so, in most cases, they do not realize their personal tolerance levels. The thing is that alcohol slows one’s reflexes and their ability to make accurate judgments, while, at the same time, making the person overconfident to the extent that he or she thinks it is possible to drive properly in such condition. Experts say that alcohol intake level varies among people depending on sex, age, weight and body type. Some people are capable of taking more volumes of alcohol than others and still are able to maintain their composure.
Specialists use a standard measurement that is the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) to measure how drunk a person is. Depending on the state, one is only allowed to drive when they have a BAC under a certain level. For example, in Australia, a full license holder is not allowed by the law to drive with a BAC level of over 0.05g per 100g of blood. This information is provided by the Drug and Alcohol Services of South Australia on Alcohol and Driving (2012). In some cases, one may still be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) even when their BAC level is under 0.05g%.
In other countries, like the United States, the BAC level is higher: 0.08g% depending on state regulations and the general tolerance of the citizens. Once one is caught driving while drunk, he will have a record that is put on his license and stays there forever. One might not be able to renew his license without going through a series of court proceedings, and records of any law infringements are also shown in their professional profile.
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The kinds of punishment for getting caught drunk driving include a substantial fine, higher insurance premiums, license confiscation, and possible incarceration. Even though state laws and penalties are different concerning DUI, in all countries the operation of any kind of heavy machinery while drunk is a crime and it ruins one’s reputation. The FBI in an article Crimes in the United States (2010) reported that 1.41 million drivers were taken into custody for either alcohol abuse or drug charges.
When someone drives drunk, he puts in danger not only his life but also the life of people around him. Driving while drunk will result in no one wanting to come on a ride with you, in a case where the passengers can not drive that puts everyone in an awkward position where there is no choice but to let the drunken person drive. People who suffer the most are those that are dependent on the drunk driver, for example, children, older citizens, those who cannot drive and people with disabilities that might not have an option. They may suffer emotional distress because of fear they feel for their lives while being driven, or even worse.
According to a newspaper article by San Diego (CNS 2012), in southern California, a woman was sentenced to 1 year in jail because she killed her best friend when she lost control of her car while driving drunk. The report stated that her BAC level was up to 0.11g% after the horrible accident. Now, this lady has to live with the burden that she took her best friend’s life just because she thought she could drive while drunk. In addition, drunk driving not only puts the passengers at risk, but it also puts other drivers and pedestrians in danger.
Drunk driving becomes even more dangerous when driving in busy streets, at night, in high population zones, or passing through school zones. When one drives being drunk, his vision and concentration are limited, so if there are a lot of people the driver may become confused and this may cause accidents. Other drivers are also at high risk due to the inability of a drunk driver to ride in a straightway. A drunk driver that moves from lane to lane may destruct vehicles coming from the other side and those coming behind.
Perhaps the most fatal and, yet, the most popular effect of drunk driving is car crashes that usually cause deaths or severe injuries. It is generally known that alcohol suppresses the nervous system and makes the brain numb. Drinking too much causes people to have very slow reaction time, their accuracy is also decreased. They lack balance, impaired reasoning, and depth perception. In short, alcohol weakens one’s ability to drive or control any form of heavy machinery with precision. In fact, according to an article by the National Institute of Health (2003), the higher the alcohol level in one’s body is, the less he or she is capable to drive. When people become drunk, not only do they drive badly, but they also tend to drive faster.
This is bad because in situations where immediate decisions are supposed to be made lack of coordination will have fatal results. The problem with miss judgment is that even in situations that do not usually require extra effort one can make silly small mistakes that could be very catalytic. Many people die because of accidents that are a result of DUI, a lot of people get injured. In most of these cases, if the drivers were not drunk, they could have avoided many accidents. According to statistics by Johnston, L. D., O'Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., &Schulenberg, J. E. (2011), half of the drivers that died during car crashes were intoxicated with alcohol.
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It is almost impossible to make sure that every driver has no alcohol in his body before he starts to drive. Thus, policymakers resolve in trying to limit the amounts that people can take and still be able to drive safely. Scientists and researchers work on the development of devices and methods that help to make sure people do not drive when their BACs are above standards. In some states of America, there are laws obliging every convicted drunken driver to have an ignition interlock - a device that would turn the engine off if the driver’s alcohol levels get above standards. There are also sobriety checkpoints being put in place. These are checkpoints where law enforcers test drivers to see their alcohol levels.
To avoid drunk driving, people are encouraged to get a taxi instead of driving after alcohol intake, ask a friend who will not drink to help get home. Policymakers also try to help decrease drunk driving by enforcing the BAC laws, using sobriety checkpoints, confiscating licenses from chronic offenders among other things. Everyone’s participation in reducing drunk driving is necessary because at the end of each day someone is affected, loved ones can be lost as a result of DUI, injuries can occur and property can be damaged.
It is always good to make plans earlier; it is a good idea for someone who is going to drink to make arrangements on how he will get home before he starts drinking. When people drink in groups, one should not allow their friend to drive while intoxicated, and if someone is hosting an event where people will drink alcohol, it is always good to remind guests to make prior arrangements on how to get back home.