The Increasing Problem of Drunk Driving

            In today's society drunk driving is a problem that increases every year. America experienced its largest increase in alcohol related traffic deaths in the year 2000 (NHTSA). Three out of every ten people will be affected by a drinking and driving accident at some point in their lives. Statistics such as these are appalling. Something must be done to decrease the amount of alcohol related accidents. Increasing the penalty for drinking and driving will address this problem. Studies imply that mandatory jail terms will serve as a notice that drinking and driving will not be tolerated and in turn, play an important role in shaping the attitudes of the public on this issue (Century Council, 2001). Mandatory jail terms should be imposed for drinking and driving. .

             Drunk drivers are destructive forces to not only themselves but to the innocent people around them. Alcohol related crashes represent 40% of all fatal crashes (MADD, 2001). In the year 2000, 16,653 people were killed in crashes involving alcohol. Drivers age 21 to 29 drive the greatest proportion of their miles drunk. For one of every 140 miles driven in the United States in 1998, a legally intoxicated person sat behind the wheel (NHTSA, 1999). Since the establishment of Mothers Against Drunk Driving in 1980, the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities has decreased by nearly 29 percent, saving more than 48,000 lives. Although the results of MADD have proven to be effective through their public awareness campaigns, they are not nearly effective enough to save the thousands of lives that have been taken by this violent crime. If mandatory jail terms were imposed these drivers might think twice before getting behind the wheel. Suspending someone's license or giving them a fine is just a slap on the wrist for the crimes they commit. Most drivers who have suspended licenses drive regardless of the fact that they are driving illegally.

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