Of the many consequences that result from drunk driving, it is hard to determine which is the worst. And yet, right now drunk driving-related deaths in young people between ages 18-24 are currently rising.
I was lucky. I didn’t know anyone affected by drunk driving until 2020 when a young man who went to high school close to where I lived died in a drunk driving accident involving four people.
Recent high school grad dies
The four were at a party with some friends from high school. The driver decided to drive home when he was far too intoxicated to take the wheel. What makes this scenario even worse is that three of the driver’s friends got into the car with him because they trusted him.
At around 4 a.m., the driver, traveling between 60-70 mph, swerved off the road and hit a tree. Three of the four wore seatbelts.
The fourth, a young man known as a great wrestler in his community, was launched out the windshield and later died from his injuries. The driver was charged with multiple offenses, including homicide.
I was a firsthand witness of how deeply affected the local community was when that young man died.
Not only was the community upset about the loss, but they were also upset about the driver, another wrestler, and a college-bound recent graduate. When he got behind the wheel that night, he had no intention of crashing his car and killing his friend; unfortunately, that is one of the many consequences that can result from driving impaired.
Drunk driving can not only destroy your life, but it can also destroy your community and those close to you.
Statistics speak for themselves
In Pennsylvania, the legal blood alcohol content limit, or BAC, is .08%. For the typical man, that is around four drinks per hour, and for a woman, it is around three; this also depends on how much someone weighs.
Each year, almost 2,000 college students ages 18-24 die each year from unintentional alcohol-related injuries; this includes accidents related to drunk driving.
The 21-24-year-old age group has the highest rate of drunk driving. Many students in high school and college between ages 18-24 also think it is okay to drink and drive, even if they believe they have not had too much to drink. That is always a common mistake.
Nineteen percent of drunk driving accidents involve college-aged students. Every year, 10,000 Americans are killed by drunk drivers; about 1,000 of these Americans are children.
Did you know that one person dies every 45 minutes as a result of drunk driving in the United States? On average, that is about 32 people per day. Drunk driving is a serious problem that is not going away.
Drunk driving can lead to impaired judgment, reduced reaction time, poor coordination, an increased risk of accidents, and severe legal consequences.
It puts both the driver and other road users in danger and can result in devastating consequences.
Even with efforts by the U.S. government and law enforcement agencies to combat the issue, drunk driving remains a significant problem in the U.S. among people who are the ages of most Cabrini students.