Drinking and driving is a topic that should get most people pretty riled up. There is a stigma attached to those that choose to drink and drive and it is well deserved. The fact is, putting the key in the ignition with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit is equivalent to loading a gun and pointing it at everyone in your path. A car is a deadly machine and when operated by a drunk driver, it is almost certain to live up to its potential.
When we think about the terms drinking and driving we need to understand that this means consuming alcohol and then getting behind the wheel of a car (or another vehicle). It has been a primary contributor to road deaths and accidents. That is why authorities across the planet prohibit the practice of consuming alcohol and operating machinery of any kind. Particularly the kind that can cause bodily injury to innocent people.
The fact is, consuming alcohol impairs an individual’s ability to make good decisions. It hinders his/her response time and decreases natural inhibitions. Judgment is greatly impacted by the ingestion of alcoholic beverages. This makes driving an unfit activity for the person doing the drinking. No one who has been drinking to excess, or beyond legal limits, should have access to a car or other motor vehicle.
Explanation of Causes
No doubt the person doing the drinking will have a number of excuses for excessive alcohol consumption. People are responsible for their own behaviors and will frequently make poor decisions under duress or peer pressure. Young people are particularly susceptible to this kind of causality. They drink to impress their friends and then they think they can further show off by taking additional risks, like driving while under the influence.
Some kids are drinking to excess out of a sense of a need to rebel due to lack of attention at home. The economy has added significant pressure on parents to work long hours. This makes them less actively engaged in the lives of their children. Some young people will resent this situation and decide to drink to either gain the attention they are lacking or to erase their own feelings of sorrow and angst.
Of course, young people are not the only ones who choose to participate in these kinds of risky behaviors. It has been shown that middle-class people are just as guilty of this behavior. This can be attributed to the intense amounts of pressure placed upon them to excel and/or to simply get by, given the economic state of the world we live in. They will generally stop to get a drink on the way home as a means of relieving and forgetting the extensive amounts of stress they feel.
However, this does not make the choice right. No amount of excuse will ever “ok” putting other people’s lives in danger simply because you wanted to drink too much. Your troubles and feelings of insignificance can be better treated by a therapist than an alcoholic beverage.
Impact of Alcohol
Once an individual has consumed an abundance of alcohol, it is beginning to affect the brain. In fact, alcohol impairs the brain’s cognitive functions. This leads to poor judgment and application of positive and responsible choices. It will take the brain a good deal longer to makes sense of the information it is receiving via the senses. The receptors are inhibited from responding in an appropriate time frame.
That means that all the information entering the brain is being processed at a significantly slower speed. In truth, there are studies that suggest that the brain’s cognitive functions are 10-30% slower after alcohol has been consumed. Muscle movements and vision are slowed making everything happen within a dramatically decreased speed.
This is specifically detrimental when someone who has been overindulging in alcohol gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Drunk people have a hard time perceiving the things that are in front of them with any semblance of accuracy. Determining what objects are in the distance becomes nearly impossible. This makes the surroundings and the events occurring within them hard to interpret. And, that is exceptionally dangerous when on the road.
Unfortunately, drunk people don’t want to admit that their abilities are inhibited. So while they are actually functioning at impaired capacity, they believe that they are supremely in control and become overconfident in their own abilities. This makes them take greater risks and do far more danger to themselves and those they come in contact with, particularly if they are driving.
Statistics to Consider
Surely no age is immune to the dangers of drunk driving. But, it is important to understand some of the statistics before finishing an argument against drinking and driving. Young people are more prone to drunk driving accidents than people of an upper age bracket. This is probably because the older we get the more we (hopefully) learn from mistakes. Besides, young people’s tolerance for alcohol is less than those of people who have been drinking for some time.
Essentially, people can have about 80mg of alcohol for every 100mg of blood in their bodies. That can be further broken down to 107 mg of alcohol per every 100 ml of urine, or 35 micrograms in every 100mL of breath. This is not very hard to surpass though, based on how much you drink in a given period of time and how much you weigh. It is always best to choose a designated driver no matter how much alcohol you plan on ingesting.
Finally, note that most drunk drivers are male. Ten percent of convictions happen to males under the age of 21. That means they are drinking prior to the legal age limit. However, the other 90% of convictions happen to people who have exceeded the drinking age. While underage drinking and driving is a serious issue, it can’t be the sole focus of anti-drinking efforts. Everybody should seek out a designated driver prior to spending any time drinking.
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