How to Prevent Drunk Driving?

“911, what’s your emergency?” No one ever wants to receive a call knowing a friend or family member has been involved in an accident related to drunk driving. I personally experienced this two years ago when I was informed that a friend from church was in a car accident and was taken to the hospital. At the hospital, the police informed the family that the cause of the accident was due to a drunk driver that crossed over into oncoming traffic causing my friend to swerve off the road and overturn her car.

After three days in the ICU, my friend had succumbed to her injuries and passed away. From this accident, the driver received minimal consequences for their actions even though this was not his first offense in drinking and driving. So, I became determined to find a way to make punishments for avoidable actions such as DUI or DWI more severe and maybe someday, preventable.

Alcohol consumption is an accepted practice in many parts of the world.

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This epidemic knows no boundaries; it affects people of all races, religions, backgrounds, and age groups. The age of legal consumption of alcohol differs in countries around the world, but in the United States, the legal age to consume alcohol is twenty-one. Examples of this acceptance are the many advertisements in magazines and on television for an array of alcoholic beverages. Social approval is noted in the amount of liquor stores and bars in each community. How many work parties, weddings, and social gatherings with friends and families include alcohol? People drink to socialize, celebrate and relax.

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Throughout the years and even today, there is a struggle to understand and manage the power that alcohol has on us. People knowingly partake in drinking alcohol with the desired side effects of endorphin release from the brain.

The question that does not seem to have an answer is, how much is too much? Without a solid answer to this question, people imbibe quantities of alcohol that render them incapable of operating a motor vehicle safely. The dilemma is the consumption of alcohol and getting behind the wheel of a vehicle and attempting to drive. How is this still sweeping the nation, even though punishments are in place? Would harsher punishments for first time offenders help curtail the desire to over indulge? Should people choose to repeat this heinous infraction, an even more stiff penalty awaits. With the modernization of taxi services such as Uber and Lyft, harsher punishments should be put into place for drinking and driving offenders.

One of the most influential ways to reformation of any kind is to have the popular vote, or public majority behind the general idea. Since its birth in 1980, MADD has been at the forefront of raising awareness, promoting education to the public, and influencing policymakers to see the grim reality this epidemic casts amongst its victims. Bewilderingly, “first time offenders drive drunk on an average of 80 times before they are arrested for this detestable transgression” (“Mother Against Drunk Driving”). How is this possible? “In 2012, Texas led the nation with 1,296 drunk driving fatalities. Statistically, drunk drivers account for more than one-third of traffic fatalities and at least 345,000 traffic injuries, annually” (“Mothers Against Drunk Driving”).

In addition, a committee of National medicine performed a study of factors that will prevent drinking and driving accidents from occurring. For instance, the article states, “Ignition interlocks—breath alcohol analyzers connected to a vehicle’s ignition system—are effective at preventing impaired driving, but only as long as they are in place (7). The current report recommends mandating interlocks for all DUI convictions, including ?rst convictions, and keeping them installed for a minimum of 2 years” (Teutsch and Naimi 2018). Another source that is performed by a University of Health Science, does a study on college students alcohol consumption. This study is done to show the percentage of contributing factors of why students tend to drink.

From 1,150 students that were asked to help with this study, the article states, “Of all the factors that prompted subjects to drink alcohol, the factors in order were: social gatherings(61.5%),lifestyle adaptation(25.9%), academic stress (20.6%), peer pressure (18.09%) and emotional stress/depression(17.7%)” (Apoorva 2014 ). Although these statistics are from college students, many people are possibly pressured to drink from these emotional and environmental aspects as well. Another reference that relates my topic to social responsibility is done by a Control Center of Disease Protection. This organization displays the BAC count with how many drinks one has, and the effects on driving with a certain amount of BAC level in one’s system. For example, the website shows the effects of driving when one has hit the illegal limit .08% of BAC as it states, “.08% which is about 4 alcoholic drinks will show possible effects on driving that include: concentration, short-term memory loss, speed control, reduced information processing capability, and impaired perception” (2017)

A very important resource written by an attorney states laws and penalties of DWI convictions. This is useful information as many people do not know what the consequences are or how different states have different rules. An example is when the article expresses that, “In some states, there’s a “wash-out” (or “look-back”) period for DWI/DUI convictions. And drunk driving convictions that are older than the wash-out period don’t count as priors. However, Texas doesn’t have a wash-out period for DWIs—meaning a DWI conviction stays on your record and counts as a prior conviction forever” (McCurley 2017). Lastly, a source done by a law office states possible solution to take when one plans to drink.

Such as the website states, “If you plan to drink, make plans for not driving. Plan a ride home before you go to a bar or anywhere you will be drinking. With Uber and Lyft available in so many cities today, there really is no excuse for getting behind the wheel after you have been drinking.” (Nathan 2018) Also, another solution is “If you have been drinking and do not have a ride home, you need to call a taxi or a ride service to get home safe. The NHTSA has a SaferRide app that you can use on your cell phone to call a family member or friend for a ride. It will pinpoint your exact location and help you to arrange to be picked up” (Nathan 2018). With so many resources and possible actions that we can control to prevent this problem, there needs to be more enforcement and consequences to scare people away from drinking and driving.

No amount of slogans will make people think twice about drinking and driving, and for reasons unknown, people choose not to call a friend or designate a driver. Maybe they think they’re stable enough to get behind the wheel. They might possibly think they didn’t get caught last time, so what’s the difference in that ride and this one? With the amount of consequences already instilled into the law, looking at the statistics provided, the amount of drunk drivers seems to increase rather than decrease. For instance, according to NOLO, “Jail time for first offense is 3 days to 6 months, second offense is 30 to a year, and third offense is 2 to 10 years.” (McCurley 2017).

Also, NOLO stated the amount of fines such as, “1st offense is 2,000 dollars maximum, 2nd offense is 4,000 maximum, and third offense is 10,000 maximum.” (McCurley 2017). However, with these consequences already in effect, people are still repeating the same actions. Thus, I have seen that minimal consequences will not prevent them from drinking and driving again. Therefore, stricter punishments should be put into place for those first-time offenders, possibly deterring them from any repeat actions such as: doubling the fines, longer jail time, mandatory community service, and even suspending their license for up to 6 months. The consequences must be severe enough to intrude on the offender’s life on the first violation.

As there are laws and penalties for drunk driving, increasing the consequences will provide a scare tactic for people who are involved with this action. Drinking and driving is not an accident, it is an intentional act. When people go out for an evening of dinner and dancing, many times they plan on having a couple of drinks. Their intention is to relax and have a good time, not to be over the legal limit and hurt someone while driving home. While it is understood people make mistakes, the proposal of penalizations costing these criminals an astronomical amount of money, as well as a fraction of their reputation would theoretically make them think twice about their actions and the possible repercussions. Lawyers and prosecutors hold murderers accountable, especially those with blatant intent, so the juxtaposition of letting wrongdoers off easily is completely unacceptable. This problem can be a life or death situation, so making wise choices to not drink and drive not only helps one from protecting themselves but others as well.

Being accountable for preventing drinking and driving helps society in several aspects. These aspects include: less accidents occurring, reduces the risk of diseases, and less family problems from aggression and violence. Although, the most important factor in preventing alcoholism is it helps preserve lives; other positive factors include saving money from paying hospital bills, expensive treatments, and the cost of paying bail. Mandatory education of the side effects of alcohol needs to be introduced at the elementary level with increased teachings throughout high school. Advertising on the television, magazines, and social media must stop. Remember, we the people are responsible for making the next generation better than the last. We can only do this if we can come together as a nation and agree on increased education along with harsher punishments for those that break the law.

In reiteration, the senseless loss of life due to drunk driving must come to an end. Unless one has personally felt the pain caused by a drunk driver, I do not believe the general public realizes the true number of victims each year. So many have senselessly lost their lives due to the carelessness of another. Harsher punishments for first offenders must be enforced. With newly enforced standards, maybe people will reconsider their actions prior to drinking and driving. The increase in fines and loss of freedom for first offenders is a good place to start. Finding a way to hold restaurants and bar owners accountable for patrons that overindulge is a much harder task to tackle. With having advantages that can prevent drunk driving, we as people need to take a stand in promoting coarse consequences to the state’s government starting with Texas, as it is historically an influence on other states. How many people must die from this act before we respond?

How to Prevent Drunk Driving in BC?

It is true that automobiles make it convenient for people to get around. Drunk driving is a serious crime – in terms of its prevalence and its consequence. A statistic from British Columbia Ministry of Justice shows, from 2008-2012, 472 people were killed in road crashes that involves at least one driver with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) over 0.08 in BC, and these alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities accounted for 26 percent of the total motor vehicle traffic fatalities (MVFBC). Alcohol-impaired driving remains a serious problem that tragically effects many victims annually. As a result, a great emphasis is needed on the implementation of effective and efficient strategies to prevent drunk driving. Many experts have been trying to use various strategies to prevent people from impaired driving over the last 50 years. Faye S. Taxmana and Alex Piquerob claim, “[i]n particular, license suspensions and license revocations provided the most consistent evidence for deterrence.”

On the other hand, J. Yu claims, “[w]hen both license actions and fines are considered, the latter is likely to be more effective than the former for repeat offenders”. In addition, R Reis and J Nichols claim, “[l]onger term treatment programs are the only approaches that have demonstrated reductions in DWI (driving while intoxicated) offenders”. Although these strategies taken by other researches contain merit, they fail to consider the fact that only a small portion of drunk drivers can be found by policemen each day. In fact, the most useful and feasible solution to prevent drunk driving is setting more DUI (driving under the influence) checkpoints to arrest all drivers who have an illegal BAC level. The key supports exist to prove the superiority of setting more DUI are that the possibility for the drunk drivers being caught will be higher, people’s belief will be reduced, and, ultimately, the number of drunk drivers will be lower.

The possibility of the drunk drivers being caught will be higher if more DUI checkpoints are set. A DUI checkpoint is a roadblock set up by law enforcement officers to detect and deter impaired driving. At checkpoints, multiple law enforcement officers funnel all traffic into a controlled area and perform brief interviews (10 – 30 seconds) with drivers to determine if they are impaired by alcohol. If a driver shows the evidence of drinking alcohol, the police can run a more thorough screening, including using alcohol interlocks (Low-Staffing Sobriety Checkpoints). Every drunk driver can be detected when they pass though DUI checkpoints and as a result, the possibility of drunk drivers being arrested would be much higher. A study conducted by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that for 562,611 Vehicle Contacts made, 3187 drunk drivers be arrested (Checkpoints Strikeforce).

DUI checkpoints play an increasing efficient and effective role in detecting drunk driver as a dependable means. In a road system with more DUI checkpoints, the average distance a drunk driver goes through will decline, which means having more DUI checkpoints can arguably prevent a large portion of traffic incidents caused by intoxicated driving in an earlier stage and provides an efficient way to find and punish impaired driving. Although license suspensions or revocations is a popular way to prevent drunk driving, it is a limited solution because it cannot prevent people who dare to break the law from driving without license. An estimated 25-75% of drivers who are suspended, revoked, or otherwise unlicensed, continue to drive anyway (Robertson, Robyn D.and Erin A. Holmes.). Setting more DUI checkpoints can also prohibit this driving without license phenomenon to a large extent.

Consequently, people’s beliefs will be reduced since drunk drivers have a high possibility to be arrested. Citizens aware of checkpoints probably are more likely to use a designated driver or to make arrangements to stay over if they are drunk. An expert in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims, “[c]heckpoints deter motorists from driving under the influence. With zero tolerance, it identifies and arrests those who get behind the wheel while impaired (Checkpoints Strikeforce). Setting more DUI checkpoints can not only arrest drivers but also deter people. Melissa Walden and Troy Walden claim, “[t]ime spent by officers interviewing unimpaired drivers is not wasted; these interactions provide the impetus for the community to recognize an increased arrest risk when driving while intoxicated, and respond by choosing not to engage in this activity”(2).

To normal drivers, frequent checkpoints can also ring an alarm bell, reminding them not to drive after drinking next time. It cannot be denied that some people drive after drinking just because they do not expect the potential danger or punishment, with no intention to violate the law. If there are more checkpoints on the road, drivers will bear in mind that drunk driving is always dangerous and easy to be arrested. Although fine is another popular punishment for drunk drivers, Comparing it with arrest to jail, this punishment is too mild to prevent people from impaired driving since most rich people do not care a fine of few hundred or even thousand dollars at all. To the extent that checkpoints as an effective tool can prevent drunk drivers from escaping punishments.

Finally, the number of drunk drivers will decrease due to more checkpoints on the road. A successful sobriety checkpoint program, in which all drivers who have an illegal BAC-level will be arrested when they pass through checkpoints, can increases the real or perceived risk of being arrested for driving while drunk. If a driver is hesitating between driving while drunk or designating a driver, they will likely consider the risk of arrest and the resulting punishment from choosing to drive. By this logic, the phenomena of drunk driving will be reduced. Actually, many law enforcement agencies all over the world believe the relationship between the increase number of roadblocks and the decrease number of drunk drivers, and they have set up more DUI checkpoints on the road in the past few years. For instance, a statistics conducted by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that police departments across the United States conducted 36,511 sobriety checkpoints in 2010, nearly tripling the number in 2009, 12,700 (Increasing Impaired-Driving Enforcement Visibility).

This kind of implements has produced desired results. Melissa Walden and Troy Walden claim, “[a]n overview of the research from the past 30 years consistently demonstrates that sobriety checkpoints reduce alcohol-impaired crashes by 20% and fatal crashes thought to involve alcohol by 20% and 26%”(1). It shows that setting sobriety checkpoints is also an efficient and effective way to prevent crashes caused by drunk Driving. Although using treatment programs is another popular method to prevent drunk driving, it usually does not work for repeat DWI offenders. Taxman and Alex Piquero claim, “[f]or repeat DWI offenders, most research suggests that education and treatment programs have little impact on DWI recidivism and no impact on alcohol-related crash involvement.”

As analyzed above, in order to tackle drunk driving, which remains an important traffic safety priority despite the overall reductions in fatalities, a successful sobriety checkpoint program will definitely make sense. More DUI checkpoints will effectively enforce the law and arrest those drivers who deserve the punishment. What’s more, it will pose deterrence and have an educational function to those normal drivers and remind them not to drive after drinking at any time. In the light of related research and persuasive factual statistics, setting up more DUI checkpoints will be a good starting point from which we would make more sensible important modifications on today’s society to promote public safety.

Works Cited

Canada. British Columbia Ministry of Justice. _Motor Vehicle Fatalities in British Columbia: Statistics._ 2013. Web.

Taxman, Faye S, and Alex Piquero. “On Preventing Drunk Driving Recidivism: an Examination of Rehabilitation and Punishment Approaches.” _Journal of_ _Criminal Justice_ 26 (1998): 129-143. Print.

Yu, Jiang. “Punishment Celerity and Severity. Testing a Specific Deterrence Model of Drunk Driving Recidivism.” _Journal of Criminal Justice_ 23 (1994): 355-66. Print.

Reis, R. _The Traffic Safety Effectiveness of Education Programs for Multiple Offense Drunk Drivers._ Technical Repor_t_, DOT Contract HS-6-10414. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“Low-Staffing Sobriety Checkpoints.” _National Highway Traffic Safety_ _Administration_. N.p., Apr. 2006. Web. 3 Mar. 2014.

“Checkpoints Strikeforce.” _National Highway Traffic Safety Administration_. N.p., Nov. 2008. Web. 1 Mar. 2014.

Robertson, Robyn D., and Erin A. Holmes. “Effective Strategies to Reduce Drunk Driving.” The Knowledge Source for Safe Driving. N.p., July 2011. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.

“Increasing Impaired-Driving Enforcement Visibility: Six Cases Studies.” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. N.p., Feb. 2013. Web. 1 Mar. 2014.

Walden, Melissa, and Troy Walden. “Sobriety Checkpoints.” _Texas A&M Transportation Institute_. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Mar. 2014.


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How to Prevent Drunk Driving?. (2021, Apr 24). Retrieved from

How to Prevent Drunk Driving?

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