No matter the time of the year, the dangers of drunk driving cannot be understated. Drinking alcohol and driving is a dangerous combination that can have catastrophic and deadly consequences to life and property, as well as to one’s personal and financial status. There are many ways to emphasize the hazards of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, but none are more effective than resorting to the harsh statistics that show the pain and sorrow caused by drunk driving in the U.S.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) figures show that, during 2011, nearly 10,000 lives were lost in U.S. traffic crashes in which at least one of the drivers involved had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that was at or above the legal limit. These fatalities represented nearly 40 percent of the total number of deaths recorded on the nation’s roads and highways that year.
Alcohol suppresses the nervous system, which in turn reduces the human reaction time, or the time from when a person senses and can respond to a hazard. Hence, drivers who are drinking alcohol and driving while intoxicated will have difficulty focusing their eyes on—and thus, seeing—an object, and their general coordination will also be greatly reduced. Additionally, alcohol reduces a person’s inhibitions, which can make a driver speed, run through a stop sign, or recklessly change lanes.
Although the legal BAC level is 0.08, drivers can be impaired with much lower levels of alcohol concentration. A BAC of only half the legal limit can increase the risk of suffering a traffic accident by nearly 50 percent.
Those who drive while intoxicated may kill themselves, pedestrians, other motorists, and passengers in their vehicles or others on the road, possibly even their own family members. Those who are not involved in accidents face arrest and prosecution, fines, jail time, and higher auto insurance premiums if they are caught even without hurting anybody. More statistics on drinking and driving can also be obtained from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Obviously, the dangers of drunk driving are severe, and these examples should be reasons enough not to drink and drive. *