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Drunk Drivers accounted for 29% of all traffic fatalities years’ back in the United state, which amounts to someone being killed every forty five minutes by a drunk driver. It can partly be categorized with someone with a gun pointing at the other fellow human being in an attempt to kill. I am maniacally bewildered that, someone driving under the influence get lesser punishment than someone with the gun aiming to kill. The penalties for most states is just temporary suspension of driver’s licenses for up to a year, and to only pay associated fines accessed by the court.
Usually, drunken driving offenders are back on the road driving within a year, and with the assistance of a good attorney with weeks. Although, the product of a drunken driving accident may have ended in a fatality of an innocent motorist, the offenders are usually only charged with Manslaughter. However, the federal government needs to impose mandatory harsher penalties, such as one month to a year of prison time for first offenders, and then maybe people would think twice about drinking and driving.
Also, all states needs to impose even tougher penalties for first offenders under the age of twenty one, by revoking their driver’s license until the age of twenty five years old. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have been tracking drunk driving related statistics since 1982, and noted at that time drunken driving accidents were lower by twenty six percent than they were in 2009 (Dang). This should automatically raise concerns for state and federal legislatures to impose new laws that severe punish offenders.
Several groups has emerged that support tougher penalties as well, such as Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), Students Against Destructive Decision (SADD), The Century Council, and Bikers Against Drunk Drivers (BADD).
These groups represent victims of families that have lost a loved one in alcohol-related accidents, and is currently seeking legislature against tougher penalties for drunk drivers. In the state of California, the year 2010, it was reported that 1,768 people were killed in traffic offences that are related to alcohol. There were 24,343 traffic-related injuries involving alcohol. 195,879 people were arrested. 77.6% of all DUI arrest are males. Fatal crashes or injuries, where drivers had been drinking, 34.7% involved fixed objects; 52.7% involved multiple vehicles < www.adp.ca.gov>. In the year 2011, in the state of Virginia, 229 people were killed in alcohol related offences; 14 teenagers (ages fifteen to ninetee15 – 19) were killed in alcohol related offences, 1.81% of the 775 total crashes. 5,861 persons were injured in alcohol-related crashes, a 7.25 percent increase from 2011 four hundred and sixty four teenagers, age 15-19, were injured in alcohol-related crashes, 0.69 percent of the total (67,004) traffic injuries twenty two thousand five hundred and thirty one people were tested with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or greater, a(n)3.95 percent decrease from 2011 The average BAC of tested drinking drivers was 0.1397 twenty eight thousand, seven hundred and nineteen persons were convicted of DUI, a 1.98 percent increase from 2011 Of those convicted of DUI, 76.58 percent were male and 22.66 percent were female . “Stacey Heizer just began her senior year of high school in the fall of 2000. She was an honor student, a varsity tennis player, and the girl at school that everyone wanted to be around. Something disastrous happened on September 1st, just days before her 17th birthday, Stacey was driving with friends when a drunk driver crossed the center lane and crashed into Stacey’s car. Stacey was pinned, and the extreme impact from the crash lodged the orthodontic retainer she was wearing into the back of her throat. Fortunately, one of Stacey’s friends was able to clear her airway and support Stacey until the rescue team arrived. Without this friend’s lifesaving actions, the outcome likely would have been completely different for Stacey. Emergency responders pried Stacey out of the car with the Jaws of Life, and she was transported to the hospital where doctors prepared her family for the worst, including the possibility that she might never come out of the coma. Stacey remained in a coma for nearly three months, but slowly she started responding.
On Thanksgiving Day, she was able to say, “Mom, I love you.” Thirteen years after the crash, Stacey is still struggling with her injuries. She has a Traumatic Brain Injury that causes double vision, balance problems, short term memory loss, tremor in her hands and trouble with concentration. She also struggles with depression due to her constant pain, as well as the frustration of not being able to live a “normal” life” . “On August 17, 2002, 16-year-old Jamie Maier was backing out of a friend’s driveway when a drunk driver crashed into the passenger side of her car. The drunk driver was traveling more than 100 mph in a 30 mph zone, with a blood alcohol concentration of .12 percent. The impact instantly killed both Jamie and her friend who was riding with her. Jamie’s mother, Roseanne, describes her daughter as “a beautiful, kind and smart girl who always encouraged her friends to be good and safe.” In fact, the night of prom she insisted that her boyfriend call his mom for a ride because the people they came with had been drinking. After Jamie was killed, Rosanne was put in touch with her local MADD victim advocate, who helped the family during the trial. The drunk driver was convicted of two counts of manslaughter and sentenced to 30 years and because he had multiple DUIs, he will have to serve 85% of his sentence. Roseanne and Jamie after the trial was over, Roseanne began speaking about Jamie and sharing her story. Roseanne now speaks at schools, diversion counseling programs with teens and parents, DUI classes and at monthly MADD Victim Impact Panels. When Jamie was growing up, she always said she wanted to be famous. Now, 11 years later, Rosanne has shared Jamie’s story and given her photo to more than 140,000 people in hopes of preventing a tragedy like this for other families, while inadvertently helping Jamie’s dream come true to become famous. Jamie often shared her philosophy in life that “nobody promises you tomorrow, so be good today, and show the people you love, that you love them today.” Each time Roseanne shares Jamie’s story, she ends her presentation with this statement: “If you have love in your hearts, you won’t take chances with your life…you will think about the people who love you and need you alive and not in prison. Please remember Jamie’s little philosophy in life.” .
Shooting sporadically at people and killing them cannot be compared to killing innocent people while driving under the influence, but we need to understand that, if one or more people have been made to face harsh penalty for a situation that can be prevented, I believe life’s will be saved, people will not have to mourn their love ones base on someone’s negligence.
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