No Time To Drive.
Written by Zak Cronin.
Discussing Drunk Driving.
Driving while drunk continues to be a problem even as laws stiffen and cars get safer, with people continuing to get behind the wheel after a few too many pints. We ask ourselves, is it still as big a problem as it used to be?
On the morning of Sunday 31st October 2021, a man flipped his car on the A2. The Kent Police arrived on the scene at 4:32am, where they found the car and the driver upside down. The man in question has gone unnamed since the report went out to the police. After being arrested, he was immediately taken to hospital. No further details or footage have been released since the crash took place. However, the evidence points to this man driving while drunk.
And it’s not just in England either. Last week, NFL player Henry Ruggs was charged with a DUI for drink driving. Ruggs, who played Wide Receiver for the Las Vegas Raiders, was involved in a car crash with another driver. She was killed in the accident, and the player was allegedly driving under the influence. The Raiders will be in the market for another Wide Receiver, having terminated Ruggs’ contract. His punishment for vehicular manslaughter could range from 2 to 20 years in jail. This could happen to you, should you choose to drive while drunk. In this report, we’ll be talking about the dangers of drink driving and what you could face if you do.
What do the stats say?
Drink driving has always been an issue, and particularly in the UK. However, as time has gone by, the number of accidents and casualties in the country has declined. In 1979, there were a total of almost 20,000 reported accidents over the year, with 1600 people killed. In 2019, that number had been reduced to a quarter of that, at 5300 accidents, with only 230 killed. Even so, these are still huge numbers. The decline may have been due to several reasons. These can include stiffer laws on drunk driving, or better safety mechanisms in cars. It could just be people being more aware of the consequences. However, one’s decision to drive while drunk still rests with them.
People of all ages drink and drive. Whether you’re young or old, if you’ve had too many, then you shouldn’t drive home, or anywhere for that matter. According to the Department of Transport’s statistics from 2019, the most accidents involving a drink driver were people aged 25-29. The stats also show people between the age of 30-49 also tend to drive under the influence. Over time, it has been commonly found that male drivers are responsible for more accidents than female drivers. Finally, it has been proven that the most accidents occur late into the night, between 11pm and 1am. In the case of the Dartford crash, the accident occurred between 4 and 5am. Approximately 3% of accidents take place at this time of the day.
So why do people do it?
There have always been many reasons that people choose to drive while drunk. Sometimes it’s an emergency, perhaps it’s only a short distance between the pub and their house. Maybe they don’t realise that they’ve had too many and think it’s safe to drive home. There have even been reports of people driving home without the knowledge that their drinks have been spiked. Regardless, the law is there, and people are mainly either caught driving or in a crashed vehicle by morning.
Drinking and driving brings many dangers along for the ride, increasing your chances of having an accident. Anyone’s reaction time would obviously be slowed after a few pints, for example. If something was to happen in front of them, they may not be able to react in time. The main factor is that drinking alcohol, and too much of it, leads to worse judgement and poor decisions. This influences the choice to drive while drunk, and perhaps leaves you more vulnerable to distractions on the road. This could’ve been the reason the drunk driver in Dartford flipped his car, but we don’t know for sure.
How do I avoid it?
Nowadays, people remember the law is there, and they know the penalties too. It is protocol for the police to give a series of tests to determine whether you’re drunk or not. Often this is a physical test, like walking in a straight line or walking back. The consequences can extend from 3 months to 14 years imprisonment, depending on the damage you’ve done. You may get a fine or a driving ban lasting 1-3 years and forced to retake your driving test. To avoid this, there are many solutions. Social groups often choose a designated driver who cannot drink and can get everyone home safely. If somebody was to go out alone, it is best for them not to drink. Instead, they could call a taxi or an Uber back to their home to avoid getting behind the wheel themselves.
As well as making sure that you don’t drive under the influences, you shouldn’t let those around you either. Department of Transport stats show that 40% of people let their friends drive home while drunk. You shouldn’t allow anyone to drive a car after they’ve had a few too many, especially at night. Whether they’re a mate of yours or not doesn’t matter. If a friend does decide to drive home while drunk, don’t get in the car with them. Try and talk them down from it and get an Uber home. However, it is harder to reason with someone when they’re drunk, due to the alcohol clouding their judgement. Make sure to be firm with them, and if you can, get the bartender to take their keys away. It’s the responsible thing to do, and for all you know it could save an innocent person.
Choosing to drive while drunk can go wrong, badly wrong. At minimum, you could get caught and given a fine. At most, you could do serious lasting damage to yourself or others, perhaps even killing someone. It’s fully advised that you do not drink more than the allocated 3-4 units the government has set. Always remember to never drive after having a drink. It’s safer for everyone, and for you.
Department for Transport (2014). Reported drinking and driving (RAS51). [online] GOV.UK. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/reported-drinking-and-driving-ras51. [Accessed 2 Nov. 2021]
Mike Florio, NBC Sports. (2021). Las Vegas police say Henry Ruggs will be charged with felony DUI resulting in death. [online] ProFootballTalk. Available at: https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2021/11/02/las-vegas-police-say-henry-ruggs-will-be-charged-with-felony-dui-resulting-in-death/ [Accessed 3 Nov. 2021].
Immy Share, News Shopper. (2021). Suspect arrested for drink driving and taken to hospital after car flips on A2. [online] Available at: https://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/19684748.dartford-drink-driving-arrest-car-flips-a2/ [Accessed 2 Nov. 2021].