Despite decades of anti-drunk driving activists and the work of grass-roots organizations such as MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers), nearly 11,000 drunk driving deaths still occur each year. Friends still let their friends drive drunk instead of taking the keys, or offering to drive a friend home.
A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention summarized data from the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey, which shows there are more than 110 million instances of impaired driving each year.
Too many young people are still climbing behind the wheel despite admonishments from parents, teachers, and friends. Adolescents, because of their age, often feel invulnerable and shrug off warnings and attempts at intervention when they’ve had too much to drink. Binge drinking on campuses remains a huge concern with alcohol companies sponsoring events and targeting young adults with provocative images of a coveted lifestyle surrounded by friends and partying.
The study shows that men, ages 21 to 34, and binge drinkers are most likely to drive drunk and that the proven methods that to curtail drunk driving are underused. Twelve states do not use sobriety checkpoints. Ignition locks, which do not allow a person convicted of drunk driving to start the car are only used in one out of every five cases. Designated drivers aren’t as popular in the U.S. as they are in other countries where they are used more effectively. These preventative measures that could make the roads safer simply are not utilized enough.
Although the incidence of drunk driving arrests has decreased, drunk driving is still the most preventable of violent injuries. Friends need to stop allowing friends to drive drunk, lest the friend kills another friend, or tragically, himself.