What Is Alcohol-Impaired Driving
Being in physical control of alcohol or operating a vehicle while being intoxicated is called alcohol-impaired driving. Alcohol-impaired drinking is also known as drunk driving. Using a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol count (BAC) of at least 0.08% is a punishable offense. Alcohol impairs the reasoning and thinking capabilities of the brain. Consumption of alcohol can impair driving skills, and it can be dangerous for the person in question and others out there. The amount of alcohol needed to affect an individual differs from person to person, so driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous in any situation.
Facts About Drunk Driving
If you are wondering why drunk driving is such a big issue, consider looking at the following facts:
- After drinking, it takes about six hours for a body to eliminate alcohol from its system with a BAC level of .08 g/dl. This level is dangerous as the drunk driver is 11 times more likely to face a fatal accident from the driver with no alcohol consumption.
- 75% of drunk drivers get involved in fatal collisions because of not wearing seat belts.
- Drugs are also involved in nearly 18% of the accidents and consumed along with the alcohol. Even consumption of 3-4 beers is enough for a 170-pound man to make him too drunk. For females, the quantity varies to 1-3.
- On average, each drunk driver has driven 80 times before getting arrested for the first time. In comparison, men are twice as likely as women to be involved in an accident under alcohol influence.
- Alcohol is responsible for over half of the teenage deaths due to road accidents. A teenager is likely to die every 15 minutes in case of drunk driving.
- Drunk driving mostly occurs in rural countries than in major cities.
Alcohol consumption is prevalent among the youth in the US, which is followed by dreadful outcomes. Underage drinking can cause many health problems that may show up later, like heart diseases, liver problems, high blood pressure, disrupt one’s sleeping cycle, and so on. It can also make room for risky behavioral changes such as drinking and driving and trigger depression, anxiety, and other mental health-related issues.
Underage drinkers most easily fall for binge drinking when facing problems, turning them into an alcoholic in the later stage. Apart from the health issues, it also affects their performance at school/college/universities and sabotages the concentration levels.
What Is Underage Drinking
Consumption of alcohol by people under the age of 21 is called underage drinking and is considered an offense in the United States. Underage drinking is punishable, followed by cancellation of license, fine/penalty, or jail. An individual can legally drink after the age of 21.
Adolescents are not considered responsible enough for drinking before a certain age. They can put themselves as well as others into problems that could be fatal at times.
Consequences Of Underage Drinking
Underage drinking can affect an individual physically, psychologically, and legally, potentially dangerous and deadly. You must be wondering how and why it is so. Well, here are the following consequences to educate you about the severity of this cause.
1. Physical Aspects
Underage drinking causes severe behavioral changes such as thrill-seeking and risky behavior, which includes drunk driving. Every year many teenagers lose their lives to accidents that involve at least one person who’s under the influence of alcohol. Teenagers might also get involved in violence where they can be the victim or the accused.
Binge drinking can also affect their brain’s development and cause other serious health problems like cancer, liver-related issues, and heart problems. There could be an increase in the risk of sexual assault and other risky sexual behaviors. Underage drinking also plays a significant role in leading them towards alcoholism.
2. Psychological Aspects
As stated above, underage drinking severely affects the development of the brain and hinders its functioning. Down the line could cause memory loss, lack of cognitive abilities, lack of concentration, and short attention span. All these factors can influence an individual’s grade and personal performance. Consumption of alcohol can also trigger mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
3. Legal Consequences
Under the laws of the United States, underage drinking is considered an offense and is punishable. It can cause legal consequences, including fines, imprisonment, community service, and license cancellation, followed by a lifelong trauma. The parent or guardian of the individual can also be held liable for any injuries caused under alcohol influence if consumed in their home.
How To Prevent Teenagers From Underage Drinking
Trying out alcohol is very common among teenagers these days. There is no safe amount of alcohol for consumption by teenagers or individuals practicing underage drinking. Why? Because it has a lot of harmful effects which start showing up later in one’s life.
1. Be A Good Influence
Their friends and family mostly influence a teen’s behavior. If you have an underage individual around you, you can play a crucial role in their future drinking habits. Being a good influence is all about how you pursue and talk about alcohol around adolescents in your company or family.
2. Creating A Safe Environment
One should not normalize the consumption of alcohol or other habits associated with it. Parents should build up a friendly environment for their children to make it easy for them to talk about such things. They should educate about the necessity for good company while drinking not to get influenced wrongly. Create a safe environment for any further discussions.
3. Education Is The Key
It’s indispensable to educate them about all the harmful effects of alcohol, how it affects their health, and how it induces risky behavioral instincts. Teenagers get influenced by the people around them, so it is imperative to drink responsibly in front of them.
4. Alcohol Is Not An Escape
Drinking under stress or portraying alcohol as an escape from a “bad day” should be avoided. You could unknowingly end up cultivating serious alcoholism problems in your child because they will start treating alcohol as their getaway.
Educating underage individuals about drunk driving, risky sexual behaviors, using other drugs, and binge drinking plays a vital role in their future drinking habits and how they handle them responsibly.
How Severe Is Drunk Driving?
At this point, you might feel drinking is preventable, so why make such a big fuss about it. Though it is indeed unstoppable, liquor’s addictive nature doesn’t allow a person to escape it that easily. Driving under the influence of drinking is a leading cause of death in the USA. Approximately 30 people die every day due to drunk driving, and these are just the reported deaths we are talking about. More than 100 million drivers detected driving under alcohol’s influence in a year.
Alcohol plays with your mind. It deceives you into overconfidence and makes you dizzy. The worst part is that the detected drivers make up for the population of drugged driving figures. Imagine how disastrous a person’s driving under the toxication of multiple drugs and alcohol would be!
There are multiple awareness programs for drinking addiction and drunk driving plight, but how effective are they? The number of drunk drivers is increasing day by day exponentially, and the strictest of laws are turning out to be redundant.
One more critical issue related to drunk driving is its prevalence in youngsters. Teenagers are not only drowned in drugs and alcohol but drive rashly and indulge in road rash daily. Though there are laws and penalties imposed on illegal drinking, as mentioned earlier, they are insufficient.
How To Detect Drunk Drivers
Do you ever ponder upon how police detect drunk drivers? Except for the breathalyzer and other medically approved ways, there are certain tell-tale traits of an impaired driver.
1. Looking For The Signs
Police look for signs like accelerating, zigzagging on the road, driving recklessly, hitting other objects or motor vehicles, jumping traffic signals, or any further indication associated with reckless driving. If any of the stated signs are registered, police are most likely to pull you over and check your alcohol consumption.
2. Screening And Breathalyser
Initially, there is a conducted screening at the roadside to detect if the individual is under the influence of alcohol. If tested positive, a breathing test is undertaken further at the police station. For more detailed analysis, police can also ask for a blood test. If the BAC is at least 0.08%, there will be an initiation of legal actions like license cancellation for another 24 hours or fine, or both. Repeated offenders will have to face the revocation of their license permanently.
3. How To Be Of Help
How can you help the police? First of all, don’t drink and drive. You can be of great help if you stop yourself and others around you from driving under the influence of alcohol. If you notice any other individual driving recklessly or sense any of the above-stated traits, call 911.
Do not try to stop or follow the vehicle. You might end up hurting yourself or breaking traffic rules. The best possible way is to inform the police about such situations and let them do their job. You can note down the number plate, the vehicle’s color, the car model, or any other specification that could help spot the car.
It is rather frightening to know that one-third of total crashes and deaths happen because of drunk driving. If these facts are not enough to warn you about the lethality of driving under alcohol’s influence, you must know that most drunk drivers are youth.
If there are pressing considerations upon this issue, the crisis is not unstoppable. Following are some preventive measures you should adapt to dodge any mishap and to lend a hand in the effective prohibition of drinking under the influence of alcohol:
1. Find A Driver
If you drink and immediately have to travel to someplace, ask a friend to drive you. There is no shame in asking for help in times of need like this, and this way, you can avoid dare consequences. Offer guidance to people after a party and ensure their safety as a responsible citizen. Your little efforts will not only save them but other people on the streets too.
2. Call For A Taxi
There could be circumstances where finding a friend to drive is impossible. Well, in such cases, you can always call a taxi or Uber and reach home without endangering your and other people’s lives.
3. Caution Friends And Loved Ones
Talking openly about this topic among friends and family is the need of the hour. Get comfortable in initiating such talks, and don’t be imposing. Try to convince the younger ones against drinking and, more importantly, driving afterward.
Children in their growing age enjoy the freedom and sometimes end up making bad decisions. In such times you need to talk them out of that situation and help them. Always look for warning signs. Monitor your child’s activities, and the kind of company they have, their behavior towards their studies and family members.
4. Do Not Over Drink
Keep your consumption in check. When drinking outside, consume alcoholic drinks within a limit. Over drinking can deceive you and make you believe that you can drive the day, but it’s an illusion. Be wise.
5. Do Not Mix Alcohol With Other Drugs
The blending of alcohol with drugs amplifies the total effect and cause various impairments. Keep in mind, never mix drugs with alcohol!
With the increasing anxiety issue and depleting mental health, consumption of alcohol has become the new normal. People of every age indulge in alcoholism without speculating its consequence in later life and suffer. When drinking and driving, coupled together, the outcome is nothing but deadly. Encourage talks around you and warn people against the severe aftermaths of drunk driving.