Driving is fun, but drinking and driving is not! Hundreds of people are killed and thousands are injured every year in an accident with a drunk driver. This issue doesn’t only affect the victim itself, but the families, loved ones and communities as well. Drunk driving amongst teens is a serious issue, and is growing by the minute. Drunk driving is somebody’s choice or somebody’s authorization to get behind the wheel when they are clearly impaired. The scars from a drunk driving accident take an emotional and physical toll on the victim, the families, their loved ones, and their communities. 45% of road accidents amongst teenagers are results of impaired driving(1).
If the legal age to drive in Canada is 19(2), and the legal drinking age in Canada is 19(3), why do they mix? Teens have the highest death rate, more 19 year olds die or are injured than any other age group. Vehicle crashes is the leading death cause amongst 15-25 year olds, 45% of those accidents are due to alcohol. Males account for 87% of the fatally injured drunk drivers. Teenage drunk drivers are more likely to be killed or injured during the summertime and weekends, a smaller amount of accidents happen in the wintertime. By the time a driver reaches a blood acohol level of .10%, they are 51 times more likely to get into an acciddnt than a non-drinking driver(4). Teenage drunk driving in Canada is a social justice issue, because someone is making the choice to get behind the wheel while intoxicated fully knowing the risks, not only that but they are breaking the law and endangering the lives of others. According to A Victim’s Guide to the Canadian Criminal Justice System there is no minimum penalty for a drunk driver that has caused bodily harm or a death(5), many drunk drivers seek “Justice with compassion” to flee the hefty fines and even imprisionment. I’m not saying they should remove justice with compassion, but they have to call things what they are when it comes to taking an innocent life. It’s injust that some drivers get let off without a scratch when the real victim is being lowered into their tomb or is scarred for life. Causing a death –being an accident or not- is still a felony and should be trialed as one, instead of just an accident.
When loved ones are lost through accidents related to alcohol, it is extremely difficult for two reasons: it could have been avoided and that the victims had no choice. There is no way of knowing whether the victims of alcohol-related accidents are guilty or not guilty; young or old, man or woman. Victims of impaired driving are innocent. Families and friends are struggling to cope with the loss. The fact that the person behind the wheel may have not actually been a criminal, but an ordinary person, only adds to the tragedy. Drinking and driving is a choice a person makes, or is authorized to do so by the people around them. Alcohol acts as a weapon when used in conjunction with the wheel. There are many options for any victim of a drunk driving accident and their families, MADD Canada offers their services in a form of victim support line and community leaders that can direct you to helpful hands. There are many ways to bring awareness to this issue, there are poster, commercials, ads, you name it. However, awareness that teens are drinking and ultimately getting behind the wheel should be exposed, the public should know what’s really going on and how they can educate themselves on this issue. TAC released a commercial on decembre 10th 1989 “A five minute retrospective of the road safety campaigns produced by the TAC over the last 20 years has been compiled. The montage features iconic scenes and images from commercials that have helped change the way we drive, all edited to the moving song Everybody Hurts by REM. This campaign is a chance to revisit some of the images that have been engraved on our memories, remember the many thousands of people who have been affected by road trauma and remind us...
Cited: (4) "Overview - Youth and Impaired Driving." MADD Canada. Copyright © MADD Canada | Charity Registration #13907 2060 RR0001, n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2013. <http://www.madd.ca/madd2/en/impaired_driving/impaired_driving_youth.html>.
(10) EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL AND DRIVING. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1991. Vingilis, Charles.
(13) Dworjan, Tania. "Statistics of Teenage Drunk Driving." LoveToKnow Teens. © 2006-2013 LoveToKnow Corp., n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2013. <http://teens.lovetoknow.com/Statistics_of_Teenage_Drunk_Driving>.
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