Drunk Driving: It Affects Everyone
Drinking and driving don’t mix. Yet, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every two minutes, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash. Drinking affects judgment, depth perception and physical reaction time. The effects of a split second decision cannot be reversed. Know these risks posed when choosing to get behind the wheel.
Driving is a risk we all take every day. Drivers need to be alert and attentive when operating a vehicle. Drinking impairs that ability. Driving under the influence puts all lives at risk, not just the life of the driver. Passengers place trust in all drivers on the road. Bikers, pedestrians, children crossing roads, pets chasing a ball, even people enjoying the outdoors in the safety of their property are at risk of being a victim of a careless drunk driver. Careless decisions can erase all the boundaries that protect us.
The cost of a DUI resonates years beyond the incident. Fines are the immediate impact, and insurance premiums increase for the long term. Job opportunities can be lost years after a drunk driving incident occurs. Credit reports can be impacted. These costs are tied only to a drunk driving arrest. Next are the rehabilitation costs such as treatment. Finally, an accident or loss of life that results from a drunk driver can lead to endless financial consequences. The legal fees, the cost of repairs to property and the liability paid out to victims can paralyze individuals and their families.
Mental and Physical
Distress from drunk driving remains with victims, families and the accused for months or years following an incident that may have lasted only minutes or seconds. Sudden physical impairment or unexpected death is traumatic. Few people can cope with these losses even with a strong support system and professional resources.
Grief, depression, anxiety and many other emotions can impact someone affected by drunk driving. Split second decisions to drive can lead to life-altering events and unimaginable consequences. Guilt can overcome convicted drunk drivers while anger may harvest within victims or their families. There is no permanent remedy that heals feelings of loss and safety. The emotional impact remains forever.
The effects of drunk driving cause a ripple in so many lives. Take steps to prevent long-term impacts in anyone’s life: designate a driver, have taxi numbers and trusted friends’ numbers on hand, and most importantly, hand over your keys. Protect yourself and the lives of your friends and family. Drink responsibly. Stay sober. Don’t drink and drive. It’s not just your life you will affect.