Drunk driving has dangerous consequences


graphic by Andrew Brown using Piktochart

Steph Medina, Staff Writer

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Transportation is a public necessity that helps people get to their destinations in whatever time they require. The invention of the car has been a major evolution for the commuter because it has increased speed, efficiency and most of all convenience. However, with this major evolution comes negative consequences along the way, particularly due to those who are irresponsible enough to drive while being under the influence of alcohol intoxication.

“Alcohol is a substance that reduces the function of the brain, impairing thinking, reasoning and muscle coordination,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said.

Driving after drinking endangers yourself and those around you, yet still it continues to happen. Because of this, ways to reprimand this misdemeanor have been created. Now alcohol level is measured by the mass of the alcohol in a certain volume of blood, formally known as Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). At a BAC of .08 grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood (g/dL), crash risk increases dramatically .

“Because of this risk, it’s illegal in all 50 States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher,” the NHTSA said.

However, this is far from the only harm a drink can cause. Drinking too much can result in serious damages to the body through time. For example, alcohol can affect your heart and lungs. Daily consumers have a higher risk of heart-related issues such as cardiovascular disease.

“It’s bad for your body especially if you drink on the daily,” senior Bryan Estrada said. “It’s not good for your body, brain and liver.” 

Driving while intoxicated is also a criminal offense that can result in  imprisonment. Drunk drivers receive penalties such as fines, jail time and having one’s driver’s license revoked. It is also extremely expensive to be bailed, and first time offenses can cost up to $10,000 in fines and legal fees alone. Many of these pricey fines can affect your record later on through the years, preventing you from being able to regain your license or a new job.

“I’ve never been affected personally, but I’ve had family members who drank and drove,” senior Daisy Zuniga said. “Some had jail time, one got into a bad accident and was unconscious, but once they woke up and got better, they still had to go to jail. Personally, I wouldn’t even think about drinking alcohol.”

It is important to drive sober especially if driving with other people in the car because you are not only putting yourself at risk, but your passengers as well. The safety of others matters along with yourself, and driving while being drunk can make you forget that you are not the only person on the road. There has been a record of teenagers who have been in several car accidents for the intoxication of alcohol.

“More than 4,300 deaths among underage youth [occur] each year [due to drunk driving],” the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Remember to ensure that you or the person driving you is sober, and always watch around you for signs of intoxication in surrounding drivers such as swerving and reckless driving. If you find your driver is not sober, try to find a different, safer form of transportation.

“Honestly, I think if someone isn’t okay to drive, then they just shouldn’t drive,” Zuniga said. “They’re risking their own life and someone else’s.”