Dear Future President,
“Don’t drink and drive.” Everybody hears the phrase but it seems like the words are meaningless to a alcohol-impaired person who gets behind the wheel without thinking of the possible consequences. If stricter procedures are not taken to curb drunk driving, the amount of people who die or get injured will not change.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 9,967 people were killed in 2014 because of alcohol-influenced car accidents. That accounts to almost a third of car accident deaths in the United States. The amount of people increased in 2015, reaching 10,265 deaths. That equals a death from alcohol-related car crashes every fifty-one minutes. In 2016, there are around twenty-eight people who die a day from alcohol-related accidents. Thirty-four percent of vehicle occupants die from drunk driving crashes. Despite a thirty percent increase in female alcohol-impaired drivers, men still are more frequently arrested in a ratio of four men for every woman.
The New York Governor’s office reported that the state arrested 242 people for drunk driving around Halloween time, October 28 to November 1, in 2016. In 2015, there were 167 arrests for driving under the influence on the same days. This shows a major increase in drunk drivers just during the time span of a few days. Late October 2016, Andrea Corbani, who has a revoked driver’s license, killed a woman and severely injured another after veering off the road while intoxicated. There was nothing to prevent Corbani from driving despite her revoked license.
As of September 2016, there were only five states that did not have repeated offenses from drunk drivers. If there are not stronger policies implemented to prevent multiple misdemeanors from the same drivers, there will be no change in the amount of deaths or injuries. There are too many cases where an alcohol-impaired driver escapes their necessary punishment. There are also too many cases where drivers walk into court to get a trial for their nth court case, knowing they will be released from their sentence all too soon. The only way to reduce drunk driving incidents is to implement much harsher policies.
Ignition interlock devices, breathalyzers, are installed in a person’s car after they commit their first drunk driving offense. A study by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety stated that the devices have reduced drunk driving by 12% in Washington State alone. However, this does not make drunk driving just disappear. A more strict punishment for first offenses should be used to prevent multiple occurrences. If a driver is caught driving under the influence, they should have their license suspended immediately in addition to the interlock device. The length of the suspension will be dependent on what the driver did while under the influence. A serious or fatal action, such as death or serious injury to another person, will result in a long period with a revoked license. An incident that does not hurt anybody will result in a shorter suspension period. The interlock device will be added in case a driver decides to operate a vehicle on a revoked license. Should a driver continues driving under the influence after their license is put back to use, they should be imprisoned, again the length of imprisonment will depend on the severity of the driver’s actions while inhibited. If a driver is once again caught under the influence after being released from prison, then they should be sent to a confined place that can assist them with coming to realize why they continue to drink and drive. While in a prison-like environment, the driver will come to terms with what causes them to feel like they have the ability to drink and drive so in the future they can gain control of their actions. If a driver resumes driving under influence, then their sentence should be life in prison. Parole will also depend on severity of the driver’s actions.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is a problem that is not addressed as frequently as it once was. The number of people who were drinking and driving has decreased since the 1980’s; however, that does not make it any less of an issue. Stricter methods must be implemented to ensure a major decrease in the amount of alcohol-impaired accidents.
ALBANY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV). "242 Arrested in NYS Halloween Drunk-driving Crackdown."
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CDC. "Impaired Driving: Get the Facts." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 Apr. 2016. Web. 05 Nov. 2016.
Insurance Information Institute. "Drunk Driving." III. Insurance Information Institute, Inc.,
unknown. Web. 05 Nov. 2016.
Thomas, Kelsey. "Police: Suspected Drunk Driver in Deadly Crash Had Revoked License,
Previous DUI." KSNV. Sinclair Broadcast Group, 01 Nov. 2016. Web. 08 Nov. 2016.