How Does Drunk Driving Affect the Community?
Thousands of people die each year in alcohol-related traffic crashes. These injuries and deaths impact our society in many ways, from financial and legal expenses to the emotional and physical harm done to family members. In addition, there are long-term repercussions that can last months, years or even lifetimes.
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Despite its widespread popularity, drinking and driving is a serious issue. The Institute of Medicine recommends community-level interventions to combat excessive drinking. It is important to understand how alcohol-related traffic crashes affect the community to design effective interventions. To do this, it is necessary to consider factors such as the community’s socioeconomic status, geographic location, and social norms.
As a result of these factors, comprehensive community interventions that target substance abuse treatment and reduce the availability of alcohol may be the most effective approach. These efforts have been shown to have significant reductions in alcohol-related traffic deaths and injuries. These programs include saturation patrols, sobriety checkpoints, speeding laws, and responsible server training.
Moreover, these types of interventions can be effective when targeted at all groups of drivers. For example, drivers under 20 are 10 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than those over 21. Similarly, Asian drivers are less likely to be involved in drunk driving than white drivers. In a study of the effects of the Saving Lives program, six mid-size Massachusetts towns participated. In addition to alcohol outlet surveillance, the programs included school-based peer education, enhanced police enforcement, and beer keg registration.
However, without the proper resources and cultural sensitivity, calls for enhanced enforcement are unlikely to be successful. These calls are also unlikely to be effective in rural areas where language is not common and messages may be difficult to comprehend.
Several states have enacted laws to address alcohol-impaired driving. In Vermont, alcohol-impaired driving is the cause of 20 percent of fatalities. Across the United States, alcohol-impaired drivers are responsible for about 41 percent of all fatalities. Whether a person is a driver or a pedestrian, there is a high risk of injury or death from a drunk driving accident.
In addition to the monetary and emotional consequences, alcohol-related traffic crashes can have long-term consequences. They can disrupt the life of the victim and his or her family, including financial hardship, and can result in liability payments and jail time. The consequences of an alcohol-related crash can also negatively affect the victim’s job and social life. In addition, it can lead to high insurance rates. The financial and emotional costs of a DUI can be much more expensive than the damages to property.
Even though the CDC has found that the United States consistently ranks poorly in the rate of total crash fatalities, community-level initiatives to reduce alcohol-related traffic deaths and injuries be effective. These efforts focus on reducing the availability of alcohol and increasing the amount of substance abuse treatment services available.