Driving involves the mind of the driver; for safe driving, drivers should make the right decision when on road; they should follow traffic rules as required by the law. When driving under the influence of alcohol, the risk of causing an accident is high. When someone is intoxicated with alcohol to a state of high blood alcohol content (BAC), his or her decision making capacity is hampered.
Different states have different laws and legislations to legal drinking limit (blood alcohol content (BAC)), that someone can be allowed to drive. For instance some countries have blood alcohol content in excess of 0.05% or 0.08% defines the offense while others have higher levels. Despite the varying rates, the underlying principle is that drinking under the influence of alcohol is risky (Laurence & Gusfield, 1994). This paper discusses issues and consequences relating to drunk-driving.
Issues around drunk-driving
In all states of the United States, it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol beyond the set limit per state, according the countries legal definition, drunk driving is driving when one has taken alcohol to the extent that his or her mental and motor skills are impaired.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 40% of death on road accidents in 2006 was as a result of drunk-driving; it estimated that 17,941 people died in 2006 in alcohol-related collisions. It is the realisation of such statistics that each state in the country has its own drunk-driving reinforcement measures and methods.
Consequences of drunk-driving
When driving under the influence of alcohol, the driver ignores traffic signs, symbols, and lights; with the ignorance there is high chance that he will do the forbidden causing an accident.
In the United States for instance, the leading cause of deaths for people under the age of 24 years is motor vehicle wrecks, of which 40% are alcohol related. When driving, the driver is in control of the machine with the decisions that he will make, when someone is drunk, the decisions that he or she will make are likely to be triggered by the intoxication resulting to the wrong decision.
Some of the common forms of accidents that drunkenness leads to include getting into ditch, rolling, hitting another car (either stationary or otherwise), using the wrong lane resulting to head on collision, hitting pedestrians, and unnecessary hooting. When any form of above form of accidents occurs, the passengers/pedestrian risks the chance of dying or suffering from permanent disability (Buddy, 2007).
Accident related medical bills are a challenge to the authorities, they led to economic retardation and stretching of medical facilities. When someone is a victim of an accident, the paid and the psychological trauma is likely to affect his lifestyle thereafter, the rate at which he will be producing or contributing to personal economic development will be hampered; the United States is among those nations with high rates of drunk-driving.
The United States of America has enacted various laws and legislations to control drunk-drinking in the country. The policies include strict penalties on arrested offenders; the penalties include cancellation of one’s driving licence, imprisonment, and fine. Of the late, the country has enacted the Paradigm Developmental Model of Treatment (PDMT) which aims at rehabilitating drunk-driving drivers. To ensure that the laws are being followed, state governments’ works with traffic police to enforce the laws (Appel, 2009).
Appel, M. (2009). Must physicians report impaired driving? Rethinking a duty on a collision course with itself. The Journal of Clinical Ethics, 20 (2): 136–40.
Buddy, T. (2007). Drunk Driving – The Dangers. Retrieved from http://alcoholism.about.com/cs/drive/a/aa070297.htm
Laurence, R., & Gusfield, F. (1994). Confronting Drunk Driving. Yale: Yale University Press