“Have one drink for the road” was, until recently, a commonly used phrase in American culture. It has only been within the past 20 years that as a nation, we have begun to recognize the dangers associated with drunk driving (Sutton 463). According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this year 519,000 people, or one person per minute, will be injured in alcohol-related accidents. 10,839 people will die in drunk-driving crashes this year – that is one death every 50 minutes. The heartbreaking part is, every injury and lost life due to driving after drinking can be prevented. Drinking while driving “accidents” are not merely “accidents.” Getting in a vehicle after consuming alcohol, which severely affects the function of the brain, is not an accident. It is lack of responsibility. Individuals that consume alcohol irresponsibly must begin to take responsibility for themselves and for other innocent drivers on the road. Unfortunately, in spite of great progress, alcohol-impaired driving remains a serious national problem that tragically affects many victims annually (Hanson). It is time that laws and consequences for drinking while driving strengthen and people begin to think twice before driving a vehicle after drinking. Individuals who make the decision to drive after consuming alcohol, not only put themselves in a dangerous situation, they also put an entire community at risk. Current laws, which are not strict or powerful enough, must be increased in order to keep our neighborhoods around the nation safe. Although many people think current drinking while driving limits and laws are strict enough, the rising number of individuals who continue to make an irresponsible decision to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol, make it imperative that current legal limits, laws, and consequences for drinking while driving, be increased in order to punish drivers appropriately and help repair communities, relationships, and, most importantly, damaged lives. Undoubtedly, the legal limit for drinking while driving desperately must be reconsidered. Driving after consuming any amount of alcohol is negligent and hazardous. The concern of drinking and driving is a state law; therefore, the rules and laws may vary among the states. Regardless, drinking while driving is an enormous concern in all 50 states and getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming any amount of alcohol should not be tolerated under any circumstances. “The amount of alcohol in the bloodstream is called Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). It is measured in milligrams percent. In most states, drinkers are presumed to be legally impaired if they have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher. This is the same as one drop of alcohol in 1,200 drops of blood. While this may seem a small amount to worry about, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.30 can cause a person to go into a coma, while a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.40 could easily kill you” (Chaves County DWI Program). A surprising statistic to most people is, on average about three drinks will put an individual over the legal limit. One drink is considered 12oz beer, 3oz of wine, and 1oz of hard liquor (Arizona Department of Public Safety). Many people get behind the wheel, after having just a few drinks, believing that they have not had too much to drink and that they are fully capable of driving home safely and legally, and sadly, many times they are wrong (Wagner 42). One of the most dangerous short-term effects is that many people who are intoxicated do not think they are impaired. Their false confidence leads them to think they can drink and drive safely--when they cannot (Saunders). This is extremely alarming because people cannot monitor themselves when drinking. If social drinkers understood beforehand that drinking while driving was illegal under all circumstances, perhaps less drunk drivers would be driving on the road. Additionally, it is...
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