Drunk Driving Prevention

Michaela Broder, Reporter

The sobering fact is that impaired driving contributes to 23 percent of all Missouri traffic fatalities.

 In 2016, 219 people were killed and 669 seriously injured in crashes that involved at least one impaired driver According to Arrive Alive, Save Missouri Lives.

A person’s brain is still developing into their early 20’s, and the teenage years are a critical time for certain parts of the brain to develop correctly.  If this doesn’t happen, because of something like alcohol use or abuse, there could be permanent defects in memory, learning, decision making, judgment, and impulse control. Regarding alcohol itself, it is a central nervous system depressant which causes symptoms such as confusion, slower reactions, lack of coordination, poor vision, poor muscle control, and judgment. None of those make for a good student at school,” registered nurse Donna Davis said.

Many drunk drivers are under the age of 21. From 2012-2016, there were 78 fatal crashes and 274 serious injury crashes involving an impaired driver under the age of 21. There were 94 people killed and 389 seriously injured in these crashes also according to Arrive Alive, Save Missouri Lives.

“Timberland does a number of things to help prevent and raise awareness of drunk driving especially in youth. Health has a specific part of the curriculum regarding drug and alcohol use. Before prom every other year, there is an assembly that discusses safe behavior,” counselor Tammy Braun said.

Recently, there was an occurrence involving Tesla and a drunk driver. The driver fell asleep at the wheel and drove approximately 7 miles due to Tesla’s autopilot feature, before getting pulled over by police for being intoxicated at the wheel. According to Electrek’s Fred Lambert when he spoke to California Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Art Montiel.

“Drunk driving is becoming more and more occourant by the day and it is quite an easy fix, so there is no reason we cannot prevent deaths from drunk driving,” junior Madison McMullen said.

Drunk driving laws make it illegal nationwide to drive with a Blood Alcohol Content at or above 0.08%. For people under 21, “zero tolerance” laws make it illegal to drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in their system. This law is one of the few that enforce intoxication while driving, along with laws that maintain the minimum legal drinking age at 21. Some other things that have been put in place are; sobriety checkpoints, ignition interlocks, multi-component interventions, mass media campaigns, administrative license revocation or suspension laws, alcohol screening and brief interventions, and school-based instructional programs according to CDC for Motor Vehicle Safety.