The Student News Site of Dyer County School High School

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The Student News Site of Dyer County School High School

Tribal Media

The Student News Site of Dyer County School High School

Tribal Media

Literary Corner

A Debatable Topic

A Debatable Topic

Should drunk drivers have their driver’s licenses permanently revoked? According to the United States Department of Transportation, “In every state, it’s illegal to drive drunk, yet one person was killed in a drunk-driving crash every 39 minutes in the United States.” This reveals the consequences that need to be placed on those irresponsible individuals who made the reckless decision to be behind the wheel while under the influence. Driving under the influence increases the risk of road accidents due to slow reaction times and poor judgment ability. Drinking alcohol while operating a motor vehicle not only affects the individual itself but also affects others surrounding them firsthand. 

Consequences of drinking under the influence range from a misdemeanor to a felony offense and are often paired with fines or jail time. However, these punishments aren’t stopping the number of deaths caused by drunk drivers. Instead, they’re steadily increasing in recent years. According to the Drunk Driving Statistics, the number of fatalities in Tennessee between 2003 and 2011 was 3,423. Victims of drunk driving collisions were once neighbors, friends, and families with meaningful lives taken away from them. Data collected in 2021 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recorded that 8% or 5,554 children were involved in fatal drunk driving crashes in the United States. This indicates the importance of extensive consequences for those who tragically took the lives of innocent children and still possess the privilege of driving. 

Reaction time can still be affected even if someone is under the legal drinking limit. Stapplaw states, “If someone has a 0.08% BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration), their reaction rate is slowed by 120 milliseconds.” This reveals how impaired drivers cannot be physically equipped to drive because they are not alert or capable of reacting to any potential hazards. Drivers under the influence cannot think quickly, endangering themselves and others around them. As a result, increasing crashes are caused each year by drunk drivers. Drunk driving accidents are far from just cars; many results from motorcyclists, boaters, and jet skiers. Thus, increasing the amount of accidents and injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Despite a high volume of drunk driving episodes, only a small percentage of impaired drivers are arrested.” This indicates how major change needs to be brought to drunk drivers. The administration also states that with 300,000 crashes caused by drunk drivers, in many cases only 0.013% of the cases reported are arrested. This serves little to no justice for the victims involved and for the drivers at stake, who need to have consequences for their actions. Consequently producing a need for drivers who choose to drive under the influence to have their driver’s license permanently revoked. 

Along with the poor judgment of getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while under the influence, those drivers also lack moral judgment as they continue to drive. Many intoxicated drivers make dangerous impulsive decisions along with exaggerated emotions and aggression. These toxic behaviors can result from very little consumption of alcohol and lead to irreversible harm to oneself or others. Being under the influence affects your judgment by how quickly you will respond to any situation. Stating this, many drunk drivers experience a delayed reaction time while driving. One example provided by Alcohol Rehab is,”….If the car in front of you brakes suddenly or a pedestrian crosses the street, it will take longer for your brain to process the situation and react to an accident.” This details the true dangers of driving under the influence by revealing potential accidents that many have faced firsthand. Drinking produces a lack of motor skills in your eyes, hands, and feet resulting in a lack of coordination skills. Hence reduces an individual ability to be a safe driver. 

Most would view permanently revoking a person’s license as too harsh of a punishment considering the punishments already set in place.  According to General Alcohol Statistic, “An estimated 15 million people struggle with an alcohol use disorder in the United States, but less than 10% of them receive treatment.” Most would consider providing those struggling with an alcohol disorder and giving them the treatment needed. However, these intoxicated drivers consume an extreme amount of alcohol within a short period. Stating this, it takes only 30 minutes for the heavy alcohol to make its way to the bloodstream. However, in many cases, we only discover these intoxicated drivers late after repeated accidents occur. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “ In 2021, 13,384 people died in alcohol-impaired driving traffic deaths, a 14% increase from 2020.” If there were a reduction in drunk driver’s licenses we would see a decrease in deaths per year from these fatal accidents.

In conclusion, drunk drivers should have their licenses revoked permanently. Driving under the influence increases the risk of road accidents due to slow reaction times and poor judgment ability. Drinking alcohol while operating a motor vehicle not only affects the individual itself but also affects others surrounding them firsthand. Although there are laws in place as punishments for drunk drivers, this doesn’t decrease those fatal and potential accidents.

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About the Contributor
Hannah Baker, Writer
I'm a senior at Dyer County High School. I plan to attend UT Martin after graduation.

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