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The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

Is a drink worth your life?

The risks of drinking and driving
Sophia Eljamal
Drinking and driving can lead to consequences such as impaired judgment, bad license records, mental health issues, and death.

Every year, over 10,000 people die from drunk driving and it costs over $44 billion dollars in damages and death. Ten thousand people may not seem like a lot but there is a fact that people don’t realize, the fact that a person that died could be somebody’s grandma, a parent, a sibling or even a best friend. 

When you are driving while drunk, it may not seem like a big deal. You may just be driving five minutes home, or the streets may be “empty.” Some people get lucky and make it home safely, while others never make it home at all. Alcohol lowers your motor coordination, which in simple terms means that you can’t react as quickly as you need to. Your senses aren’t as strong, your vision is blurry, and your perception of distance is messed up. The legal limit for being able to drive after drinking is .08 BAC. Two to four drinks can actually cause you to be above the legal limit. It is different for everyone depending on weight and height. 

It doesn’t take much to get you into an accident according to NHSTA.gov, where their website states that 2,266 people were killed in drunk driving accidents, even though their BAC was well below the legal limit. Along with that, in 2021, 13,384 people were killed in accidents. All deaths could have been stopped if someone made the right decision. The CDC states that 18.5 million people were reported for drunk driving in 2020, along with 127 million counted for having drunk driving episodes. Although no one was killed, this puts the person driving, along with others on the road in danger. 

People truly do not think about these situations until it is happening to them. If you are a female, you are more affected by alcohol due to your lower percentage of body fat, even if you drink the same amount as a male. Because of this, there is a higher concentration of alcohol in a female’s bloodstream after drinking and it is less diluted when reaching the brain of larger people. A thought to keep in mind is the females more affected by alcohol could be your mom, your sister or even your best friend. Although women are more affected by alcohol and their rate of driving under the influence is slowly increasing, it is more likely for a man to be involved in these types of accidents. Men are accountable for four out of five drivers arrested for driving under the influence. 

Your license can be taken away for many reasons, such as withholding information on a license, leaving the scene of an accident without leaving their information or even having someone else take your license test. But driving under the influence will stay on your license for five years, along with an accumulation of six points on your license and the possibility of getting your license suspended. If you receive another one within 15 years of your previous one, it will count as a second offense. Community service and proof of you following the law can help you set aside a conviction. But you wouldn’t have to go through all that trouble if you worked to prevent it in the first place.

Drinking can impact mental health negatively. Everyone drinks for different reasons, whether it’s for fun, relaxation or even to experience euphoria. Whatever the reason is, it is extremely important to monitor yourself and make sure it doesn’t become an addiction. Drinking can cause negative feelings and slow down brain processing and anxiety. If your mental health is not doing so great, drinking may not help it. If you’re sober and you’re not making great decisions for yourself, you probably won’t make great decisions for yourself when you aren’t aware. One of those bad decisions could be drinking and driving, which can lead to the death of a person and more mental health issues. It’s always important to not just think about “fun” factors while drinking but also factors that influence you to drink for the wrong reasons.

People who drink are more likely to have mental health issues and people who have mental health issues are more likely to drink. Over 29.5 million people 12 and older had experienced alcohol use disorder in 2021, which may make people question if adults influence their kids’ actions. If that is true, this could mean that drinking and driving is becoming more common. Research was conducted to show that 5.9 million kids aged 12 to 20 had drunk more than just “a few sips” in 2021. Underage drinking is also reported to impair judgment, the judgment that will influence you to decide if you should drive home drunk or hide from your parents and sober up at a friend’s. Underage drinking is a poor decision and poor decisions lead to more poor decisions. 

At the end of the day, it is no one’s fault for a decision made by yourself. But with these proven facts in front of you, it should be obvious that even a little choice like getting a designated driver is safe, or even not drinking if you know you won’t have a safe way of getting home. Having a little bit of fun for one night is not worth your whole life.

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About the Contributor
Sophia Eljamal, Staff Reporter
Sophia is a junior at Millard West and this is her first year on the staff for the CATalyst. She likes traveling around the world and running. Over the summer, she traveled to numerous countries in Europe. In her free time, she enjoys going shopping, hanging out with her friends, and listening to music. She also loves to work and watch her favorite shows and movies on Netflix. Sophia looks forward to writing stories about sports and working with her classmates to produce interesting stories.

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