Writing Assignment #2
March 20, 2011
Drunk and Distracted Drivers are Top Causes of Accidents
Drunk and distracted drivers cause more accidents on America’s roads and highways than any other reason. In August 2009 Diane Schuler, made national news when she caused an accident that killed eight people on the Taconic State Parkway in New York. She had a blood alcohol level of 0.19 percent and was also under the Influence of marijuana at the time she drove her minivan carrying her two children and three of her nieces the wrong way onto the off ramp of the interstate. The accident not only killed her, but also killed her daughter, nieces and the three people in the SUV she hit as she drove into oncoming traffic. The only survivor in the horrific crash was her young son.
As tragic as it was, the Schuler story is not unique. In 2008, there were 5.8 million auto accidents in the United States, resulting in 2.35 million injuries and more than 37,000 deaths. Nearly one third of car accident deaths were caused by a drunk driver.
California’s numbers reflect the national average as well. In 2008, there were 3,434 fatalities caused by car accidents in the state. Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, and San Diego County were the three counties with the highest accident rates. In fact, according to statistics released by an insurance company, drivers in Los Angeles have a 46.6 percent increased chance of being involved in an auto accident than the national average, while those in San Diego have a 13 percent increased chance.
Over 1,000 of the deaths on California roads, or about 30 percent, were attributed to drunk drivers. While some like to boast on the fact that the state’s total number of alcohol-related deaths decreased by 103 from 2007 to 2008, the statistical decrease is of little or no value to those who have lost a loved one to a drunk driver.
For example, consider the death of...