RUNNING HEAD: Drunk Driving Harrawood 1

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1 RUNNING HEAD: Drunk Driving Harrawood 1 Community Problem Report on Drunk Driving in El Paso Erika Harrawood ENGL 1311

2 Drunk Driving Harrawood 2 Community Problem Report It is said that El Paso is one of the safest cities all over the nation. If that was so true, why are there so many fatal accidents that occur in this city? El Paso might be one of the safest cities, when it comes to the crime rate but not the safest on the road. About every week or so, the news broadcasts a fatal car crash that took place late that night due to alcohol. People don t realize how serious this issue really is. If more people are informed on how many lives are taken from drunk driving, what type of people and possible causes of it, and they could take their own precautions and do their part on preventing it. Families need to suffer and see a loved one pass away because they were hit by a drunk driver. This is such a common story that repeats itself over and over again. El Paso might be safest city when it comes to crime, but not so much out on the road. After researching drinking and driving, the research states that age is one of the main factors of the fatal accidents that take place. College students make up a very large portion of the drunk driving population. Most college students vary from ages and are known to party and have fun. By the time most people go into college, they have already experienced drinking beforehand. Being in the early stages of the college life and having such easy access to alcohol, there is a great chance that most of them will fall into temptation to have a drink or two. As stated by Fromme, Wetheril, & Neal (2010), 70% of college-enrolled youth report drinking alcohol on a monthly basis and 44% report binge drinking at least once during the previous 2 week period. Since coming into college a person is still under age for 2-3 years, the excitement and the want for alcohol, is much greater than once you are that legal age. When a person is at their legal age they can now simply go to the store and purchase their alcohol themselves and now it isn t as fun and as having to get it secretly. Because alcohol is no longer a forbidden

3 Drunk Driving Harrawood 3 fruit, it may lose its allure, and consumption could decrease upon turning twenty one(fromme, Wetheril, & Neal, 2010). The amount of alcohol intake decreases after a person hits the age 21 but the number of drinking and driving accidents increase. Underage drinkers tend to do, what s called, pre-gaming. This is when they drink before the event because they aren t legal so they can t drink at the club or in public. Once a person is legal they can drive on their own and get their own alcohol, meaning they are more at risk of getting in an accident. After the study done by Fromme, Wetheril, & Neal in 2010, to examine drinking and driving before and after turning 21, they came to a conclusion. In conclusion, as students transition from being underage to legalage drinkers, they also experience different risks. Prepartying represents a particularly high risk for underage drinkers, whereas driving may be the greatest risk for legal-age drinkers (Fromme, Wetheril, & Neal, 2010). There are countless number of causes and reasons why drunk driving occurs in the first place. It s the going out, having a fun time, but having to drive home. It s the denial that a person says when they say they are okay to drive. There are so many different scenarios that can take place, but what about banning smoking from bars? A study done by Scott Adams and Chad Cotti answered that question. Many counties banned smoking from bars as a health issue, but they had no clue that it would lead to an increase in drunk driving accidents and fatalities. If the miles driven by smokers to avoid a ban are great enough to offset the potential reduction in driving by smokers who stay home to avoid the ban, then there will be an increase in alcohol-related accident risk (Adams, Cotti, 2008). In this study on observing the change in alcohol-related accidents, Adams and Cotti used country-level data from the US, a country that didn t ban smoking in bars but had large states, and countries over 6 years. According to Adams and Cotti, the fatal accidents involving a drunk driver increased by about 13%. El Paso also passed the

4 Drunk Driving Harrawood 4 smoking ban from years and there was an effect on the drunk driving incidents, just like every other county experienced after the ban. Besides the increase in accidents, the bars that banned smoking also lost business because smokers would drive far to another bar that allowed it. Drunk driving is a huge issue that people need to be aware of. If people are educated about the problem and they know what not to do, the alcohol-related accidents could decrease. The relative risk of death for drivers in single-vehicle crashes with a high BAC is 385 times that a zero-bac driver for male drivers the risk is 707 times that of a sober driver, according to estimates by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) (Hanson, 2013). These accidents that take place on the daily are completely preventable. It just depends on how much precaution people want to take. DWI courts, sometimes called DUI courts, sobriety courts, wellness courts or accountability courts have proven effective in reducing the crime of drunk driving (Hanson, 2013). A couple solutions, given by Hanson, to the drunk driving problem are impounding or confiscated license plates, vehicle impounding or immobilization, and expanding alcohol sever training programs. Automatic license revocation appears to be the single most effective measure to reduce drunk driving, but automatic license revocation along with a mandatory jail sentence appears to be even more effective than just automatic license revocation (Hanson, 2013). Besides just preventions in a society, there are many things an individual can do to avoid drunk driving accidents. Also given by Hanson, volunteering to be designated driver, always using the safety belt, driving defensively are all simple actions a person can take to avoid being the reason for an accident or even being the victim. Figure 1 shows a man who was charged with intoxication manslaughter, killing four people. This tragic incident could have been prevented just like many others.

5 Drunk Driving Harrawood 5 Figure 1 People don t understand how serious and delicate this issue really is. The preventions are only as good as people take advantage of it. Every day in America, another 27 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration FARS data, 2012). Not only does a drunk driver put himself at risk, but also the drivers around him. Some unfortunate people just happen to be at the wrong place, at the wrong time. There is nothing that some can do when a situation like this comes up. Jacqueline Saburido was one of those unfortunate victims of drunk driving. Jacqueline came from to the U.S. from Venezuela to learn English and to have a successful future, she was at the wrong place at the wrong time. As Jacqueline, along with four of her friends were driving back home from a birthday party that took place in Austin, the most tragic thing happened and her life was changed forever. Reggie Stephey was the one that was drunk behind the wheel and not only ruined Jacqueline s life but took two peoples lives. Figure 2 shows a before and after picture of Jacqueline and how she transformed due to the accident. Jacqueline lost all of her facial hair and even fingers. Her father is the one who helped her throughout the tough years and still to this day he is like her guardian

6 Drunk Driving Harrawood 6 angel, says Jacqueline. This can happen to anyone and this is the reason why people need to be careful and have their designated driver if they decide to drink. Every weekend a story is heard on the news of how someone passed away due to a drunk driving accident here in El Paso. Something needs to change. El Paso might be safest city when it comes to crime, but not so much out on the road. Figure 2. References

7 Drunk Driving Harrawood 7 References Adams, S. Cotti, C.(2008). Drunk driving after the passage of smoking bans in bars. Journal of Public Economics, 92(5-6), Fromme, K., Wetherill, R., Neal, D. (2010). Turning 21 and the associated changes in drinking and driving after drinking among college students. Journal of American College Health, 59(1), Hanson, D. (2013). Alcohol problems and solutions. Retrieved from: Hernandez, K. (2012). El Paso s violent crime rate belies its top ranking as a safe city. Retrieved Nordqvist, C. (2013). One Quarter Of Teens Drive Under The Influence. Retrieved from: from: Ramji & Associates Personal Injury Law Firm. (2012) Man is Charged with Intoxication Manslaughter After Single Car Crash Kills Four in San Antonio. Texas Department of Transportation. (2013) Every face tells a story. Retrieved From:

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