What could alcohol do to me? What is the big deal with drinking and driving? What could possibly go wrong? These are many of the questions teenagers in America ask today. One reason alcohol is such a problem for teenagers is because of its acceptance in today’s society. The fact that alcohol is portrayed as acceptable, on television and in everyday society has made alcoholism and drunk driving a huge problem amongst teenagers and young adults today. Having recently lost a friend to a drunk driver I realize that this is unacceptable and that this issue must be addressed.
There are many reasons why teenagers begin and continue to drink. One of the obvious reasons teenagers drink today is because “it is associated with good times, pleasure, and occupational and social success” ( James B. Jacobs, pg. 7). For example, drinking is a large part of many teenage parties. Many teenagers believe that they will have more fun with everyone if they drink. One freshmen at Embry-Riddle stated, “Its fun to watch everyone acting stupid [while drunk].” For many teens, the reason they drink is because drinking is associated with sex as one ERAU student commented People drink because when your drunk and a girl is drunk its easier to get some . Another reason many teenagers turn to alcohol is to reduce tension or stress. Many teens are “turning to alcohol to cope with a hard day, family problems, or bad news” ( James B. Jacobs pg. 3). Family patterns of alcohol abuse may also be a part of someone turning to alcohol. Whether it is to deal with stress or to have fun, teens across America are turning more and more to alcohol.
Just as there are many reasons people drink, there are also many reasons people decide to drink and drive. Even though a person who is intoxicated may see their reasons as rational, the reasons will most likely sound very irrational to someone who is sober. For example, many teenagers are afraid to let their parents know that they drink. So, instead of calling them when they or their friend cannot drive home, they decide to get behind the wheel and drive anyway. The fact that this has become such a problem among teens has caused many areas to come up with a contract. This contract is called The Contract for Life, which is signed by both teens and their parent s. In this contract, the teen agrees to call home if they need a ride. Likewise the parent agrees to pick up their child no matter where or when, without asking any questions. Another reason many teens drink and drive is because they are too drunk at the time to even consider the fact that they are not in any condition to drive. This is a much tougher problem to deal with. The reasons a person would drive drunk may sound crazy to a sober person, but sound completely reasonable to an intoxicated individual.
Alcohol causes many different effects on everyone who drinks. It does not matter if it is a first time drinker or a regular drinker, everyone suffers the effects. The effects range from the slightest drowsiness, to unconsciousness, to death. Even though alcohol affects everyone, it affects everyone differently. Some things that may make a difference are a person s weight, age, and sex. People who are lighter and smaller, such as women and teens, tend to be affected by alcohol more rapidly. For this reason teens tend to feel the effects quicker than adults do because they are usually smaller, and they are still developing.
Drinking can have many serious effects on drivers. In most accidents involving drunk drivers, the drunk driver not only hurts himself, but also injures others. Out of 50,000 fatal car accidents in one year, “Drinking has been implicated as a major factor” in fatal car accidents (Alvin Siliverstein pg. 69). James B. Jacobs also stated that “50% of traffic fatalities are related to alcohol use” (James B. Jacobs, pg. 17). As a person drinks, the effect alcohol has on their body can cause different problems. A major problem for drinkers is their loss of judgment. After a couple of drinks the average person is unable to notice that the alcohol is impairing their judgment. Some physical effects that can occur and cause problems are blurred vision and hearing, slower reaction, and general clumsiness. All of these effects can cause great problems for a person behind the wheel of an automobile.
Knowing the aforementioned information on alcohol and its hindrance on one s ability to drive, it is hard to fathom why anyone would put himself or herself behind the wheel of an automobile while intoxicated. Yet every year thousands of people are killed by drunk drivers, regardless of the fact that these statistics are well known and even forcefully made available to the general populous by commercials and teachings in school. Stricter laws and heavy enforcement has become a trend in America today, yet these statistics still remain extremely high. So now the question remains What can be done to stop this negative trend? This answer, although sought after by many, is very elusive and even with research I still fail to see an easy way to fight this problem. For the future it seems like comments like I can drive fine when I m drunk, I do it all the time (an ERAU freshmen) will be the norm until a better way to combat this problem is discovered.