Every 53 Minutes: The Devastation Of Drinking And Driving
Politics and Activism

Every 53 Minutes: The Devastation Of Drinking And Driving

Don't become a statistic.


Every 53 minutes someone in the U.S. dies in an accident involving a drunk driver, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s 28 deaths each day and 10,220 deaths each year.

Let that sink in.

Every year there are over 10,000 deaths caused by something that is, quite frankly, unbearably stupid and entirely preventable.

Every time I mention anything to my mom about weekend festivities, she asks if I have a ride. But what’s most relevant here is the follow-up question. Without pause, she asks, “Do you know a lot of people who drink and drive?” And each time, I respond quickly with a definitive, “No,” as if it’s the dumbest question she’s ever asked before. I think this defensiveness spurs from my subconscious — the part of me that likes to believe that this doesn’t happen, and that it certainly doesn’t happen at my school. But the truth is, it’s more common than we’d like to believe.

In 2010, U.S. News and World Report revealed, “Drinking and driving among college students is still a major public health problem . . . with one in five admitting to driving while drunk and 40 percent acknowledging they have ridden with a drunk driver.” As you can probably already tell from those statistics, there are two major problems here.

The first, of course, is the fact that one in five students are reckless enough to get behind the wheel while wasted. Although penalties vary depending on circumstances, there is a pretty clear set of guidelines that are generally applied according to one’s blood alcohol level (BAC). For reference, the legal limit is 0.08 percent. According to the Minnesota DMV, an intoxicated driver with a BAC under 0.16 percent will be charged with a misdemeanor and could face up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of $1000. Anyone who’s really sloshed with a BAC that skyrockets above 0.16 percent will be charged with a gross misdemeanor and could face up to one year in jail and/or a fine of $3,000.

Now please explain to me why anyone would be willing to risk driving drunk when the penalties are this severe? These aren’t temporary punishments either. They go on your record, and they’ll follow you throughout your life.

Let’s not forget that these punishments become even more severe if someone is endangered or killed because of your negligent driving. U.S. News and World Report interviewed Amelia Arria, director of the Center on Young Adult Health and Development at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, who said, “Drinking and driving endangers the safety of not only the drinking driver and passengers, but also other individuals on the road. College students have limited driving experience, making drinking and driving possibly even more hazardous.”

As much as we hate to admit it, we’re less experienced in this respect than almost everyone else. It may seem like you've been driving for an eternity, but most college students have only been legally driving for two to six years. And let’s not pretend that driving is any easier with a car full of other loud, messy drunk people.

This brings me to the second major problem. The statistic from the U.S. News and World Report cited earlier revealed to us that 40 percent of students are willing to get in the car with an intoxicated driver. This means that, out of 10 of your friends, four would be willing to risk their lives — would put their trust in someone who can’t even walk straight. This means that four of your friends might not come home. Although the drunk driver is certainly to blame in this case, I think the passengers are almost just as much to blame. By agreeing to ride in the car with an intoxicated person, we’re promoting drunk driving. We’re saying it’s okay to risk our lives, and it’s okay to endanger other drivers and pedestrians. Granted, I don’t think any of us genuinely feel that way, but that’s what our actions say. And, as is true in many other aspects of life, if our views don’t align with our actions, something needs to change.

Sometimes I think we like to stay in our little bubble where bad things don’t happen — at least not to us — and we like to believe that national statistics on issues like drunk driving don’t apply to our own communities. But that’s not realistic. I know people who have driven drunk, and I know even more people who have been a passenger to a drunk driver. You know them too. Statistically, there are only so many times you can drive drunk and get out unscathed. It’s only so long before you become one of those 10,220 people who don’t leave the car alive.

So the next time you need a ride home from the bar or a party, don’t be stupid. Get an Uber, call a friend, take a cab—but don’t drive drunk. Don't become a statistic.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

For a long time, Goya has been a staple in some Latino households. People carry around jars of Adobo when they eat at friend's houses and packets of Sazón Goya can be found in almost everyone's pantry. Many BuzzFeed lists, videos, and memes aimed at Latinos reference Goya somewhere.

But in a year that just keeps hitting us with bad news, Goya Foods CEO Robert Unanue said that Trump was an "incredible builder" and that the US was "blessed" to have him as president at a White House event on Thursday.

Keep Reading... Show less

Honey has been a staple in my Ayurvedic skincare routine since I was a kid and my grandmother used to make me homemade paste-like face masks by mixing chickpea flour, turmeric, honey, and yogurt together.

I now use honey head to toe — on my hair to make it extra shiny, on my face for its natural smoothing and anti-bacterial properties, and the rest of my body for its extreme textural and brightening benefits. Some people even use it on their armpits for honey's lightening effect on the skin.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

People Are Eating Salads For Breakfast, And It's About Time

As Americans we know we all need to eat more fruits and veggies, why not do it at breakfast?

I first started seeing a dietitian in late 2017. At the time, I was the heaviest I've ever been at about 210 lbs. At the first appointment, my dietitian asked me to record what I ate in a food diary so she could better understand my habits and give me better direction in changing my lifestyle. I did exactly that and returned a week later, diary in hand. After a cursory glance at the pages, she first remarked at how few fruits and vegetables I ate. Deep down I had already known that, but what I didn't know then was that I was far from being alone in that respect. According to a Times article, about 90 percent of Americans don't consume enough fruits and vegetables to meet current dietary guidelines. It's hardly rocket science as to why that is — many of our diets consist mainly of carbs and non-planted based protein. This isn't to say that carbs and protein are the devils; they're both parts of a balanced diet. However, vegetables and fruit are also part of a balanced diet — a part that often gets neglected. So, when I see people on Instagram eating salad for breakfast, I think to myself "It's about time!"

Keep Reading... Show less

Founders Of Color Q&A: Yarlap's MaryEllen Reider On Destigmatizing Women's Health

The father-daughter duo co-founded the brand and has since generated a passionate, dedicated community of women.

MaryEllen Reider

I was lucky enough to meet MaryEllen Reider over a decade ago as a fellow freshman in college. Since then, I had the luxury of being able to witness her evolution from the faithful companion I went to my first job fair with to the woman who is now a pioneer in destigmatizing the portrayal of women's reproductive health.

Keep Reading... Show less

My favorite Editor was feeling under the weather yesterday. All I wanted was to make her a vegan iced matcha latte. With distance forbidding it, I instead decided to write up this quick, easy recipe. I made it to be vegan and organic for optimal health benefits.

Matcha green tea is made from grounded green tea leaf and it comes with the most antioxidant boost ever.

Keep Reading... Show less

This coffee brand is USDA organic. Newman's Own Keurig coffee flavors are all organic. They have French Roast, Decaf, and a Special Blend. I'm in a committed relationship with the French Roast flavor. The smell alone from dispensing 1 cup of coffee sets a whole cafe jazz vibe.

I'm already relaxed when I smell the coffee all ready for dressing. The way I make my coffee is simple and sweet, literally. I add a spoon of organic brown sugar and a splash of organic almond vanilla milk. This cup of coffee has changed my life forever. I have never been so productive in my life and I truly believe it's because the coffee is organic.

Keep Reading... Show less

These organic, cruelty-free skincare products are great for hot, sweaty summers. I use them every day, so you will find my honest opinion about them all. I highly recommend using organic products because they are least likely to be harmful to your body.

This may seem like an extra step when it comes to your beauty routine, but it's really easy. These 5 products could be the start of your next beauty venture.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments