Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) was founded on September 5, 1980. After 36 years, one would think the message would have sunk in by now.
According to MADD:
In 2015, 10,265 people died in drunk driving crashes – one every 51 minutes – and 290,000 were injured in drunk driving crashes.
That means people are still drinking alcoholic beverages and getting behind the wheel. Some are delusional enough to be drinking while behind the wheel. To those of us who don’t do that, such behavior seems utterly insane.
But expressing that frustration is no way to change behavior. The people who do it don’t believe they are behaving in an insane manner. They believe they are perfectly reasonable. We cannot eliminate the problem without getting inside of the heads of those who drink and drive.
In the majority of cases, they are good people acting on bad evidence. You might even be one of them. You may not be deterred by the specter of fines. But there is a lot more at stake. Here is a closer look at why people drink and drive, and why it is so costly:
May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor
In the book, The Hunger Games, the most ominous line was, May the odds be ever in your favor. But as everyone knew, the odds were always against them. People who drink and drive are lured by the deceptive fact that the odds are in their favor. The chances of them getting caught are quite small.
Again, according to MADD, only about a 100th of the people who drive drunk are ever arrested. Those are pretty good odds. Therefore, it is reasonable for the one who drinks to feel confident that they will not be caught driving under the influence.
But the more you do it, the greater your chances of being caught. And the consequences can be very difficult to overcome. For starters, once you are allowed to drive again, you will need to obtain SR22 auto insurance from a reputable provider. This is a mandatory document of driver responsibility imposed by the state. It is more expensive than regular insurance. And it must be carried until the state lifts the restriction.
You will lose your license for a certain period of time, if not permanently. And there may be jail, or even prison time depending on the situation. Remember, the odds were also in the favor of every person ever arrested fro drunk driving. Drunk driving is not a game. And there is more at stake than money.
Stages of Development
Teenagers don’t realize the effects of drinking. They are not intending to do something stupid. But their brains are not fully developed. They genuinely cannot tell that they are doing something dangerous until the consequences are upon them.
This is not limited to age. It is a matter of maturation. We all develop differently. Some 16 year olds are more responsible than some 36 year olds. But in general, parents must be careful about the freedom they allow teens as they simply are less capable of processing danger as well as they will be at a later stage of development. They’re not stupid. Their just teens.
Always the Last to Know
How drunk are you right now? If you happen to be drinking, the truth is you have no idea. You may not be drunk at all. Or you may already be over the limit. Perhaps you are in that between stage colloquially known as being buzzed. But buzzed driving is drunk driving.
Feeling drunk is a trailing indicator that you have already past the safety zone. Most people don’t set out to drive drunk. They genuinely do not know that they are impaired. Others around them can detect little problems like slurred speech and an uneven gate. But to the person experiencing it, everything seems just fine.
Again, the person drinking and driving is not evil, they are just wrong about their actual condition. The inability to assess your condition after drinking is what leads to deadly accidents.
The easiest way to avoid these pitfalls is to always avoid drinking and driving. In addition to the legal consequences, young people really are less aware of danger. The problem is even worse when drinking. And no one is able to accurately assess their level of impairment.
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