Claire Minnesota

Drinking and Driving

Why there should be even more strict laws about drinking and driving.

Dear Future President, 

In my life I have experienced a lot of hard things, one being having to deal with someone I know who has a problem with drinking and driving.  I've been through the late night phone calls from jail, the terrifying car crashes, and the rehab that never works.  I have also been through the stress of heavy fines and unbreakable ankle bracelets which have the sound of a fire alarm that goes off when the person wearing one strays too far from home.  I get that this is a problem, but these situations should never have to be experienced or seen, especially not by the eyes of a young girl, barely old enough to know what drinking is. 

So, the drinking problem is one thing, and it can be hopefully solved with therapy and rehab, but the part that should never be allowed in the first place is driving.  I think that we need to focus on the preventatives rather than the punishments like we are doing now.   There should be strict laws that prevent a person from even being able to get to their car once they've been drinking. The government is only focused on making sure those who drink and drive either went to jail after the incident or are in very serious trouble with large fines and on house arrest.  They aren't paying attention to the fact that someone under the influence may have a very hard time making the right decision at the time and maybe they should be helped before the incident even takes place.  I know that it is the fault of the drinker, maybe they shouldn't drink too much to not know that they shouldn't drive or maybe they should just know not to drive, but if they didn't even have the opportunity to get into the car they wouldn't put the lives of innocent people in danger. I never would've had to listen to the phone call from jail and hearing my dad's stern voice in response if there were more preventative measures taken place, and everyone who's lost a loved one because of drinking and driving may still have them today. 

I believe that one way that the issue of drinking and driving could be solved is that every car in the country would have a breathalyzer that starts the engine of the car.  If a person got in and blew into the breathalyzer and didn't blow a .00 they wouldn't be able to drive the car. This would require them to either walk home or find a different and safer ride.  Another way to prevent the issue of drinking and driving would be that at bars if you order a drink you would have to be patted down and have your car keys taken from you.  Then you would receive them again upon having a safe ride or you would have to come back and get them in the morning.  This would cause people to not want to come back and get their keys in morning so they would plan on having a safe ride instead of driving themselves home.  This would save the lives of so many people: not only those on the road but those actually drinking and driving as well.  

As someone who has seen first hand the affects of drinking and driving, I cannot stress enough why people need to be helped before the incident even takes place.  According to alcohol completely hinders the ability to make rational decisions, so it's very difficult for a person under the influence to be able to say no to driving.  This is a prime example of where the government could put into place a law that made sure in some way that the person wouldn't even have the option to drive home. Alcohol slows reflexes, which decreases the ability to react well to changing situations and it slows eye muscle function, alters eye movement, and alters visual perception, which limits vision and impairs it, especially in the dark (Understanding the Effects of Alcohol: Drunk Driving). A person under the influence is barely able to judge the cars position on the road, where other vehicles are on the road, the road lines and center line. Concentration, comprehension, and coordination are all reduced because of the alcohol.  Knowing all of this, why would the government not instill stronger rules regarding drinking and driving before a person had the opportunity? 


Claire Torgerson 

Works Cited

"Understanding the Effects of Alcohol: Drunk Driving." Understanding the Effects of Alcohol: Drunk Driving. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.

Benilde-St. Margaret's School

Non-Fiction Period 8

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