Holidays bring an increase of drunk driving


Sarah Boggins

In April 2015, Northwest High School simulated a car accident to warn students against drunk driving during prom season. Sponsored by the Victim Panel (VIP) of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving, this assembly provided juniors with an eye-opening, impactful message against drunk driving.

You’re on your way home from a friend’s house at 10 p.m. While on the highway, you notice a car diagonally behind you swerving left and right. What could be the issue? Before you know it, the car hits you, and your car rolls right into a deep shoulder off the road. Your parents get a call from the emergency room being informed that you are in critical condition from being hit off the road by a driver with .07 percent of alcohol in his system.

During the holidays, there tends to be an increase of drunk drivers on the road. 

38 percent of all traffic-related deaths come from drunk driving, and more than 10,000 people die from it yearly, but around the holidays, parties and social gatherings that involve alcohol contribute to additional inebriated drivers on the road.

“I would definitely say that there is an increase in drunk driving around the holidays,” driver’s education instructor Debra Fyler said. 

Alcohol causes drowsiness, slowed response time, distorted vision and impaired decision making. When you put all of these side effects together, it can make safe driving seem difficult and even impossible.

“People tend to go to these holiday parties and end up drinking, then get behind the wheel thinking they can handle it,” Fyler said. “They tend to get this euphoria that makes them feel like they can do anything.” 

Studies have shown that hundreds of lives are lost every holiday season and DUI arrests are at its peak between Thanksgiving and New Year’s weekend. Alcohol related crashes alone costs about $51 billion each year. The reason behind the high price is because every 51 minutes in America, someone is killed in an alcohol-related crash. This is about 27 people per day.

A number of drunk drivers will drive under the influence a number of 81 times before their first arrest. This leads to multiple drunk drivers not learning that what they’re doing is not only wrong, but extremely dangerous.

Most people tend to think that drunk driving is the most dangerous form of driving, but this is false. Studies have shown that drunk driving is just as dangerous as texting and driving, which is the leading cause of teen drivers.

“Drunk driving and texting are basically parallels,” Fyler said.