Should Drunk Driving Laws (DUI) be Changed?
Driving after substance abuse or substance intoxication is dangerous and very common among drivers. Various strategies have been put in place to combat this problem by the relevant government authorities. However, despite the efforts, many drivers still find themselves in police custody. Unfortunately, many offenders, who found themselves in police custody because of drunk driving, knew that operating under the influence is unlawful. In fact, the majority of drivers who break the law are always aware of these consequences, but they are still involved in this unlawful act. It reminds the situation when a parent always keeps warning an adolescent child not to smoke, but he/she continues smoking instead. Sometimes, you might ask yourself where people go wrong and fail to take these laws seriously.
According to the NHTSA, it is estimated that two out of every five Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash during their lifetime. Some of the enacted laws do not sound practical. For instance, testing blood alcohol content of a suspected drunk driver in the hospital is ineffective because during the time when the intoxicated driver is pulled over, questioned and taken to the nearest hospital, his BAC will become lower, reflecting permissible blood alcohol limits. Every single harm and death caused by drunk driving is preventable (Dearing, 2008). Unfortunately, in spite of immense progress in reducing the accidents, driving under alcohol influence remains a severe national challenge that affects many victims yearly.
This paper explores solutions that can safely address this problem and reduce the number of road accidents due to driving under the influence. Therefore, should DUI laws be changed? Majority will not agree with reality until they fall victims or lose a close relative due to drunk driving. If you have ever imagined losing a person you love or family member through road accident, you can understand what impact it will have on the family. It is obvious that it will be painful if a family loses a close person or when a family member is permanently injured, which means he/she will spend most of his life in hospital. Moreover, it is costly. If these are the real consequences of drunk driving, then it is high time the government, community, and individuals do something effective in combating this menace. Keeping old DUI laws means losing more lives and impairing people. The paper identifies DUI laws that can be changed, proposes implementation of new legislation, and provides ideas for the adjustment of old laws to effectively address alcohol related accidents. Thus, we should stop fatalities and imprisonments simply because of breaking laws, which can be avoided.
Solution to the Problem
Intoxicated driving, similarly to most other social troubles, resists simple solutions. However, there are a number of measures, which can help to minimize the problem. Laws that were enacted to curb the offenders are not severe enough to end the problem. For example, according to traffic laws, a driver under age 21 charged with a second conviction can only be penalized by losing his/her driving privileges until he reaches the age of 21. This penalty does not have a heavy impact on traffic offenders. However, if the penalty consisted in driving license nullification over six years, the impact would have been heavily felt, and the offenders would not wish to fall victims again.
Automatic 4-year license nullification along with a mandatory jail sentence can be more efficient than a license withdrawal for a particular period. This will help people to take the laws, enacted for breaking the traffic rules, seriously. The concerned authority should also not focus majorly on implementing laws to control driving under the influence, forgetting to deal with cases of driving under other intoxicants, such as marijuana and cocaine, which is called drug-impaired driving. For instance, a child, when warned against watching TV during late hours, will divert attention to playing other games, which will not solve the problem. It works on the same principle and means that the government can concentrate more on alcohol consumption, forgetting about drug intoxication.
NIDA’s research (2004) showed that 12.7% of secondary school students in the United States operated under the power of marijuana, while 13.2% were under alcohol influence. The research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2015) revealed that an increase in the percentage of weekend night drivers with confirmation of drugs in their bloodstream climbed from 16.3% in 2007 to 20% in 2014. The number of drivers who abused marijuana and had concentrations of THC in their blood rose by almost 50% (Nhtsa.gov, 2015). This clearly shows how the problem has spread not only because of alcohol drinking, but also because of other drugs intake.
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Stringent penalties should be imposed by the concerned authorities to end DUI practice. Passing instant compulsory alcohol and drug test after road accidents would endorse successful trial of drunk and drugged drivers. This will assist in prosecuting the perpetrators with solid evidence. The case should also be featured in the media to inform the public of the offenders. It implies that if a person is once prosecuted, it will be impossible for him to drive with passengers on board since his or her identity will be publicized. If someone commits a road crime and tries to go unnoticed, but the crime suddenly goes public, it will restrict an offender from driving. A larger percentage of the DUI accidents involve adolescents, high school seniors and college students. The road safety authority should formulate laws to restrict the youths and under-age drivers from drug-impaired and drunk driving. The Road Safety Authority should lower the legal blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) limit from 0.8 to 0.5; this will help to reduce the number of DUI accidents.
Effective measures should be implemented to solve this problem, varying from risk reduction trainings on DUI complications to safety trainings at driving schools. This can help drivers to seriously consider the complications brought by DUI because they will be trained on basic road rules and signs. It is obvious that as a driver you know that you can take erroneous turns, but it is also apparent that you should not overtake on the wrong side and ignore the road signs. Hence, we should be aware of these risky road behaviors in order to avoid them. Improving DUI laws will make road offenders take the law seriously. Parents should also engage their children in alcohol and drug-related conversations to help them be informed about the possible risks of driving under the influence. Appropriate physical control of the vehicle depends on the blood alcohol concentration, which results from alcohol consumed either before or while driving.
Driving License Nullification
Imagine facing an automatic four-year license nullification and mandatory two-year imprisonment for drunk driving offence, or involvement in mortal road accidents. You have just killed someone or your son was killed by a drunken motorist as he was coming from school. This penalty will be effective in dealing with the law breakers because of the psychological, economic and social impacts of the offense. Four-year driving license withdrawal will make drivers take the law seriously since no single driver can allow himself or herself losing driving license in such a situation. The trauma caused by the accident scenes may affect one heavily, making a person experience stress for a long period of time or for entire life. Hence, we will better avoid drunk driving and enjoy the benefits of being safe. Such safety means that lives of young energetic people, who can provide labor in the industrial sector, will be saved. Moreover, economy of the country will grow, and billions of dollars, which are spent on purchasing new cars, repair services, hospital bills, and on insurance cover, can be channeled to other social services, such as funding education (Fwa, 2006).
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Fines will turn into revenue for the government. There will be less injuries and traffic jams caused by accidents, resulting in smooth transportation of people to work and easy transportation of goods and services to the markets and industries (Fwa, 2006). Environmental benefits include reduction of wreckage wastes, which contaminate the environment and roads. The penalty will also remind people of their moral rights in society and proper behavior on the road. Substance abuse among the teenagers will be in control, helping to minimize criminal cases due to drug influence. If the person is under drug influence, there is a high probability of committing crimes. It creates insecurity owing to which the majority will not enjoy freedom of movement. However, advantages of license nullification include law chances of being killed, imprisoned, or injured, as well as fewer frustrations, lower insurance cost and more opportunities to participate in social activities.
Implementation of Tough DUI Laws
A young family lost their father in the weekend night road accident. Now, this family consists of two young children at the age of six and four and their jobless mother. After the burial, the family was forced to move to informal settlements. When the wife was interviewed, she reported her husband used to drink before driving home and it was not his first time involvement in a road accident though the previous ones were minor. Tough DUI laws and penalties, as well as instant mandatory blood alcohol concentration test (BAC) at the accident spot, will have significant advantages for society in dealing with impaired driving cases. Economic benefits to the government include court tribunals and sermons, which act as government revenue sources (Fwa, 2006). The whole society will also benefit from a decrease in car crimes and other crime-related cases. Less serious accidents will mean fewer imprisonments and reduced loss of lives.
As a result of fewer accidents, the Road Supervisors enabled the police to spend less time concentrating on the roads and permitted them to use their resources more efficiently; they would have considerable time to focus on other forms of crime. Everyone would gain from the overall fewer crime rates. When the accident cases are reduced, the citizens will have better health. When you lose a significant other, you receive a major psychological trauma; hence, those affected will usually require some time away from work or compassionate leave (Kappeler, 2008). Some may even end up having to give up work permanently in order to take care of the injured person. Since road misfortunes intensely depend on health care facilities, a considerable decrease of accidents would signify that valuable resources could be concentrated in other areas.
Media coverage about driving under the influence laws will assist in creating public awareness since it can reach many people and make them knowledgeable about the DUI laws. If people are not informed about lawbreakers, then it means they will continue committing more crimes and causing injuries and fatalities. Moreover, people will know that it is unallowed to board a vehicle driven by unauthorized driver due to DUI laws. It will cost the involved authorities less to carry out the public campaign regarding the rules and their consequences (Kappeler, 2008).
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Implementing Driver’s Trainings
People acquire knowledge through trainings and reading. Thus, when you train youths on correct morality, they will be expected to practice the good morals in society. However, if you assume that they are knowledgeable about the accepted norms, they can go against the morals, not being blamed. Drivers’ fundamental trainings about the adverse effects of DUI accidents and the importance of their avoidance will help to create awareness among the drivers and other road users. This strategy, when implemented successfully, will significantly reduce road accident cases due to alcohol drinking and drug intake. Economic benefits will include industrial growth due to excellent transportation systems free from accidents, less money spent on road repair and another maintenance cost due to breakages (Dearing & University of Central Oklahoma, 2008). At the individual level, people will save their money that they could have spent in bars drinking alcohol, avoiding unnecessary injuries or even loss of life, resulting from driving under the influence. Social benefits include good morals, peaceful living in homes, fewer cases of domestic violence and alcohol or drug related crimes.
Road accidents caused by driving under alcohol or drug influence can be avoided when valid laws are formulated and implemented correctly. Majority of the victims are not always first offenders, but they have been involved in previous accidents or have been charged before with the same case. Consequently, when practical laws are implemented effectively and offenders are prosecuted according to the law without any favoritism or corruption, the road accidents can be minimized. Alcohol drinking among college students should also be addressed effectively since they are at a greater risk to cause road accidents under the influence of substance intoxication. If this problem is put under control, then both the public and the government will receive huge benefits. More funds will be channeled to other departments, such as health care, education, and youth programs, improving general welfare of the citizens.
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