TRACES SPRING 2016 - Page 87

Drinking and Driving

By Madi Bruni

Alcohol is dangerous, and most are oblivious to that fact. Problems from the consumption of alcohol occur every fifteen minutes in the United States, especially with teenagers and drunk driving accidents. The thought process in teens is, “Oh, one or two beers or one shot of vodka is nothing,” but in fact, it’s everything. The worst mistake that a teenager will ever make is to get behind the wheel of a car, under the influence of alcohol. Every action has an equal opposite reaction, and if the choice is made to drink and drive, then death is most likely to be an intersection away.

As much as the subject of drinking and driving is proposed to teenagers, and as much as they witness real life events and tragic consequences, they will never believe that anything bad will happen to them if they drink and drive. Teenagers are common not to listen to this, and do it anyway. Most drinking and driving accidents happen to teenagers after coming home from an after party on Prom night. According to Edgar Snyder and Associates, 90% of teens believe that their peers are more likely to drink and drive on Prom night, and only 29% believe that driving under the influence comes with a high degree of danger. My question is, why would any teenager want to put their life in risk of death, just because they made the worst decision to drink and drive? Alcohol doesn’t make you look cool, and it’s not impressive that you consume so much that it takes control of your body. Also according to Edgar Snyder and Associates, alcohol is involved in almost ⅓ of teenage car accident fatalities, and 5,000 people under the age of 21, die each year from underage drinking. The choice to drink and drive not only affects you, but everyone else that is part of your life. Imagine putting your parents or little brother and sister in that place. Why would you want to make them go to your funeral because you choose alcohol?

In Leflore County, Mississippi, three high schoolers, around the ages of 14, 15, and 17, recently just died in a drunk driving accident. The police officer who was on duty that night of the fatal crash, attempted to pull the teens over for a suspected DUI earlier that night, but the teens sped off, without a care. The three teens were found in the middle of the highway, dead, after their vehicle flipped over after the drunken driver tried to pass a semi truck. The kids were in high school, and they were all so young with a whole entire life ahead of them. The 17 year old, who was the driver of the car, just recently scheduled a college visit, that now had to be cancelled because she choose alcohol over a college degree and major in education. The 14 year old didn’t even have any alcohol in her system, but because her sister choose alcohol over her, she was killed. The 15 year old was on the football team, and was well liked by everyone, but since he choose alcohol over being captain of the football team, he is now dead. The parents of these teens had to go to their kids funerals, and trust me, that is a parent's worst nightmare. These parents tried to raise their kids to make the right choices, but because the teens choose alcohol, their parents lost everything.

A program titled Every Fifteen Minutes, stages a real life situation of a fatal drinking and driving car crash. The biggest involvement in this program is the teenagers writing their parents letters, saying how they died. “Mom and Dad, every fifteen minutes, teenagers face fatalities in alcohol related collisions in the United States, and today, I died. I wish I could take everything back. I wish I could tell you I loved you, because I never said it enough. Now, I’ll never see you again and never be able to mend your broken hearts. You were right, I shouldn’t have gotten behind the wheel of a car drunk.” This explains that every action has an equal opposite reaction. If you choose to drink and drive, then you are also choosing death over life. The awareness of teen drinking and driving needs to be exaggerated everywhere, because alcohol kills and once you sit behind the wheel of a car under the influence of alcohol, death is begging to be your new best friend.