Drinking & Driving
More than 140,000 Americans Die Every Year From Injuries
Alcohol is involved in many accidents. According to former Secretary of Health and Human Services, Louis W. Sullivan M.D., "Half of all injuries could be avoided by not drinking when you are driving, boating, operating machinery, feeling angry, or using a firearm".
Research indicates that alcohol intoxication is associated with:
40%-50% of traffic fatalities 25%-30% of non-fatal motor vehicle injuries Up to 64% of fires and burns 48% of hypothermia and frostbite cases 20% of completed suicides
Alcohol is also involved in:
40% or more of falls 50% of homicides 47%-65% of adult drownings 70% of attempted suicides
Every year one in three people suffers a non-fatal injury serious enough to require medical attention or cause temporary disability.
Alcohol abusers increase their risk of accidents in two ways: greater likelihood and greater seriousness of injury
Alcohol abuse impairs the performance of complex mental and motor functions which is why it is associated with such a wide range of accidents and injuries. Recent studies indicate that as your blood alcohol content increases, your ability to perform skills steadily declines. This affects your ability to drive.
40% of all traffic fatalities and 60% of boating fatalities involve alcohol abuse
Jenny was so happy about the house they had found. For once in her life 'twas on the right side of town.
She unpacked her things with such great ease. As she watched her new curtains blow in the breeze.
How wonderful it was to have her own room.
School would be starting, she'd have friends over soon. There'd be sleep-overs, and parties; she was so happy. It's just the way she wanted her life to be. On the first day of school, everything went great. She made new friends and even got a date!
She thought, "I want to be popular, and I'm going to be, Because I just got a date with the star of the team!"
To be known in this school you had to have a clout, And dating this guy would sure help her out. There was only one problem stopping her fate. Her parents had said she was too young to date. "Well, I just won't tell them the entire truth. They won't know the difference; what's there to lose?"
Jenny asked to stay with her friends that night. Her parents frowned but said, "All right."
Excited, she got ready for the big event But as she rushed around like she had no sense, She began to feel guilty about all the lies, But what's a pizza, a party, and a moonlight ride?
Well the pizza was good, and the party was great, But the moonlight ride would have to wait. For Jeff was half drunk by this time. But he kissed her and said that he was just fine. Then the room filled with smoke and Jeff took a puff Jenny couldn't believe he was smoking that stuff.
Now Jeff was ready to ride to the point But only after he'd smoked another joint.
They jumped in the car for the moonlight ride, Not thinking that he was too drunk to drive. They finally made it to the point at last, And Jeff started trying to make a pass. A pass is not what Jenny wanted at all (and by a pass, I don't mean playing football). "Perhaps my parents were right....maybe I am too young. Boy, how could I ever, ever be so dumb."
With all of her might, she pushed Jeff away: "Please take me home, I don't want to stay." Jeff cranked up the engine and floored the gas. In a matter of seconds they were going too fast. As Jeff drove on in a fit of wild anger, Jenny knew that her life was in danger.
She begged and pleaded for him to slow down, But he just got faster as they neared the town. "Just let me get home! I'll confess that I lied. I really went out for a moonlight ride."
Then all of a sudden, she saw a big flash. "Oh God, Please help us! We're going to crash!"
She doesn't remember the force of impact. Just that everything all of a sudden went black. She felt someone remove her from the twisted rubble, And heard, "Call an ambulance! These kids are in trouble!"
Voices she heard...a few words at best. But she knew there were two cars involved in the wreck. Then wondered to herself if Jeff was all right, And if the people in the other car were alive.
She awoke in the hospital to faces so sad. "You've been in a wreck and it looks pretty bad." These voices echoed inside her head, As they gently told her that Jeff was dead.
They said "Jenny, we've done all we can do. But it looks as if we'll lose you too."
"But the people in the other car!?" Jenny cried. "We're sorry, Jenny, they also died." Jenny prayed, "God, forgive me for what I've done. I only wanted to have just one night of fun."
"Tell those people's family, I've made their lives dim, And wish I could return their families to them." "Tell Mom and Dad I'm sorry I lied, And that it's my fault so many have died. Oh, nurse, won't you please tell them that for me?" The nurse just stood there ~ she never agreed. But took Jenny's hand with tears in her eyes And a few moments later Jenny died.
A man asked the nurse, "Why didn't you do your best To bid that girl her one last request?"
She looked at the man with eyes oh so sad. "Because the people in the other car were her mom and dad."
This story is sad and unpleasant but True, So young people take heed, it could have been you. Drinking and driving is Not cool. Be careful of your habits and who you're hanging with. Give everything a second thought. Author Unknown
Common Reasons for Driving Under the Influence
We now know that there is a problem with drunk driving. In order to find out what can be done to stop this problem, we must identify the cause of the problem. People are driving drunk. Why?
Alcohol-induced loss of judgement:
After three or four drinks, a drinker's good judgement is undermined by alcohol. After drinking, it will often fail to cross the mind of the drinker that getting in a car while in his or her current condition could be fatal. Also, alcohol often has the consequence of boosting confidence. A controlled demonstration was done at the University of Kentucky by an organization known as BACCHUS, in which campus leaders drove a simple course on the parking lot laid out with cones to represent pedestrians. At half-hour intervals, the leaders drank another drink and drove the course again. In less than two hours, the leaders were boasting about their performance -- but several cones lay knocked down.
Lack of planning:
Since alcohol can impair judgement, it is essential to plan in advance for any consumption. If you are going someplace to drink, you must consider how you are going to get back. If you don't make a plan in advance, you may not be sober enough when the party is over to make a safe decision on how to get home. This is the primary reason many people end up driving drunk. They hadn't planned on getting drunk, they failed to arrange a ride, they didn't plan on calling a taxi. The right thing to do is to always make sure that you know how you are going to get home if you plan on drinking, and if you don't plan on drinking, to actually refrain from drinking. With simple, proper planning, drunk driving is easily avoided.
"My home is only a few minutes away. What could happen?" This thought crosses the minds of drunk drivers all too often. Especially when judgement is compromised by alcohol, people will rationalize, until the idea of driving while drunk doesn't seem that bad after all. "I've driven home before drunk, I can do it again." If you have driven once while drunk, you should consider yourself lucky to be alive to remember it. Doing it twice is pushing that luck. This kind of thinking is either recklessness or stupidity. Once somebody has driven drunk once, it seems many get a false sense of security.
This ties in closely with:
Overconfidence: "I drive better while drunk!" Also closely related to the effects on the brain by alcohol, overconfidence is created when one has already driven drunk and survived it. Many seem to think that their driving skills are enhanced by alcohol (see the BACCHUS demonstration described above).
Lack of education:
A frightening number of people are unaware of the effects that drinking can have on driving skills. Because both drinking and driving separately are such normal parts of many people's lives, they do not think to draw a connection between the two. This seems painfully ignorant to us, but it happens. However, since education on drunk driving has increased in recent years, the focus on driving under the influence of alcohol has overshadowed the real issue, driving under the influence of drugs. While most know that driving drunk is risky, the issue has been overlooked that driving under the influence of any drug can be very risky. And this means any drug -- from decongestants to marijuana. Serious drug users tend to be even more intoxicated than drunk people, so one must not overlook the risks of driving under the influence of drugs. But the most overlooked of all is over the counter drugs (OTCs).
What teenager would not have second thoughts about calling home to say that he or she has been drinking alcohol -- illegally -- and now needs a ride home? Who wants to put their friends through the inconvenience of letting them stay the night because they got too drunk? The decisions to do these things are difficult, but they can mean the difference between life or death. Any parent would rather pick up their child drunk at a party than dead at a morgue. Any host would gladly see a guest off sober in the morning than drunk and dangerous at night.
All these reasons are closely related, and they all make it easy to find yourself driving drunk. But with just a little planning, and knowledge of the situation, you could save your life, or somebody else's.