Drinking and Driving Prevention Guide

Drinking and Driving Prevention Guide

Every day, thousands of drivers choose to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking alcohol. Many misjudge the effects of alcohol. Just a few drinks can impair reaction time, physical coordination, and decision-making. Awareness is growing, but drinking and driving still rates as a leading cause of death in teenagers. The deaths and injuries caused by drinking and driving are preventable. No one should drive after drinking alcohol, and no one should ride with someone who has been drinking.

All drivers are responsible for making safe choices behind the wheel. There are also some proven prevention techniques everyone can use. School-based education programs can help. These programs target underage alcohol use, riding with impaired drivers, and binge drinking. Learning about these dangers can help you to make better choices.

Police use sobriety checkpoints to determine whether drivers are under the influence. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more sobriety checkpoints could save thousands of lives each year.

Friends can work together to make each other safe. Peers who care about each other are more likely to make good choices. For example, a designated driver (DD) can be an effective plan for reducing risk. The DD chooses not to drink for the night and gives everyone a ride home. By taking turns as DD, everyone in the group can reduce their risk.

Keeping alcohol out of the hands of younger drivers is also effective. Years ago, lawmakers raised the minimum legal drinking age to 21. Studies show that this brought down injuries and deaths. Using these techniques can keep everyone on the road safer.

The effects of drinking and driving can be severe. A conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) can follow the driver throughout their life. This can make it harder to get a good job. It may also strain relationships and ruin friendships. The legal penalties include losing the ability to drive. Fines and court costs can range into the thousands of dollars. The driver may go to jail, even for a first offense. Even more serious are the lifelong impacts on others. An impaired driver could be responsible for injuring or killing someone. That could be another motorist, passengers in their own car, or themselves. This can cause feelings of guilt, shame, and grief; being responsible for someone's death, whether it's a stranger or a friend, can be difficult to deal with. The driver's family has to live with these effects, too. There can be devastating effects on the victim's family, witnesses, and first responders as well.

Because drinking and driving can affect anyone, many groups have taken up the cause of preventing it. This includes law enforcement groups, government agencies, and concerned citizens. Police use enforcement campaigns to raise awareness of impaired driving penalties. The federal government uses nationwide advertising to raise awareness. Campaigns like Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over stress that police are on the lookout for drunk drivers. Groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have worked to eliminate drinking and driving for decades. They team with law enforcement and promote alcohol misuse education.

Driving a car is a privilege, and it's a privilege that should be used carefully. Everyone needs to know the dangers of drinking and driving, as understanding the consequences helps all drivers to make better decisions. Safer roads mean fewer deaths and fewer ruined lives.

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Author
Shift Editorial Team