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This essay considers arguments by Debra Leach in her article “Drunken Driving”.
The debate on the acceptable level of alcoholic content that a driver should take has been an intriguing one in the past decades. In most countries, the governments have imposed restriction on the amount of alcohol that an individual can consume and still be allowed to drive. The restriction is aimed at reducing the exacerbating road carnage that has been claiming thousands lives each year.
Due to the high death rates, most states in the US have restricted the amount of alcohol drivers should consume to 0.08 BAC. This limit surpass the set limit the victim is liable for heft penalty. However, antagonists of belief have been quick to nullify imposition of tough penalties on drunk drivers as well as restricting the amount of alcohol a driver should take and drive. Since the topic has attracted diverse opinion, this essay attempts to evaluate the arguments of both sides of the divide.
Argument for Tough Drinking Laws
Following the steady increase in drunken driving associated accidents, Christie Wright- the then New Jersey Governor, imposed strict penalties for drunken driving in her state. She helped to enforce the “Teri’s Law”, which stipulated the legal amount of alcohol a driver should taken and be allowed to drive. The law set 0.08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and any excess intake would attract penalties such as imprisonment, fines or even confiscation of the driving license.
Her decision was supported by the traffic police reports that asserted that up to 55.3 percent of all the accidents that were experienced in the previous decade originated from drivers under alcohol influence. Further field, similar decisions have been adopted by authorities to restrict drunk drivers from taking to the roads. The penalty that have been imposed in different countries, some have imposed the maximum amount of alcohol one can consume while other have opted to confiscated victims driving Licenses.
Imposition of Teri’s Law has resulted to a drastic reduction in the road accidents. The traffic report has revealed that up to 7000 people have been saved from road carnage in the previous decade. Regulating alcohol consumption does not only help drivers decision making but also it helps their visibility. It has also been understood that drunk drivers are often victim of losing their control as their vision is impaired by the alcohol content beyond the 0.08 level.
Investigation done by the police on exact of the death that claimed 3 people revealed that the driver had more than twice the amount of alcohol thereby exceeding the legal intake. The report revealed that the vehicle was over speeding and as a result, the driver lost control. Most of the road accidents are of similar nature and the loss of people can be mitigated by imposing the rule.
The adoption of strict driving penalties has not only helped reduce the amount of accidents but also it has promoted morally accepted behaviors amongst people. Most people have refrained from drinking excessively, especially from social palaces. However, they prefer to indulge excessively from the confines of their houses. The tough rules have discouraged the young and practicing addicts from indulging in alcohol while others have been forced to fully refrain from the addiction.
From this point of view, the tough rules have done much good to the entire state. The endeavor to uphold the sanctity of life remains one of the key aims of imposition such strict laws. Majority of the victims are innocent family members driven by a drunken man. The foundation of this argument is stemmed from the point many innocent people should be saved from the action of a single person.
All the states, which have adopted the tough rules, have been counting much progress in curbing unwanted deaths. New Jersey, Alabama and thirteen other states have successively set the maximum alcohol level in the blood that a person should have and drive. All these states are experiencing huge gains from reduction of death resulting from the road accidents. According to the highway traffic, excess of 0.08 alcohol content in the body makes the driver to be a potential killer.
Hence, the need to restrict alcohol consumption need not to be overemphasized because the result of these measure have been encouraging. Although, some section of the government are crying fault due to decrease in revenue as a result is reduced sales, the public good achieved is of more importance. It is evident that the annual revenue generated by the saved lives by far outweighs that of reduced sales and therefore it is imperative to impose the law.
Argument against Tough Drinking Laws
Although the decision to impose the strict law seems beneficial and acceptable, it also has its darker side. A critical assessment of the impacts that Teri’s law generates reveals that there is much inherent social harm than it meets the eye. Imposition of 0.08 alcohol level would shift the attention of the police to dealing with innocent people rather dealing with the main terror problem that has worse impact.
The rule would mean that American jail would be filled up by the alcoholics and there will be no room for real state offenders. According to the FBI, more than 1.4 million people were arrested in 1994 for impaired driving. This figure arise the question should more people be jailed for excessive drinking. Biased resource allocation means that the country attracts more trouble that it is necessary. The only way to address the issue is to have a holistic perspective of what the country wants and then distributing resources according the need.
On the other hand, allocation of more resources in dealing with alcohol problem would mean that overlooking other crimes that are rampant in the country. Historically, the US has always been a terror target and therefore substantial effort should be put in place to curb the problem.
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It is discouraging to note that in US more than 40 percent of murder cases and about 80 per cent of property crimes go unnoticed. Hence, the biased attention to alcoholic drivers paves room for more dangerous crimes to thrive in the country, which is unacceptable. In fact, the country should consider lifting the law to allow the police resources to be utilized for a nobler course. Unless, the government decides to without the alcohol law other crimes will continue to thrive and the public security will be at stake.
According to the study which was carried out by the Harvard Injury control Centre about 67 and 41 per cent of males females who succumbed to road accidents had more than twice the legal amount of 0.08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). This implies that setting the BAC at 0.08 misses out the actual killers.
Similarly, some people vision is impaired by overworking, lack of enough sleep or due to poor eyesight. Hence, generalizing that road accidents are only caused by drunken drivers is an erroneous idea. Therefore, the law should either be amended to Increase BAC to target the main victims or be abolished. Whatever the action that is taken some problems are associated and thus the government should be vigilant in dealing the issue without generating more troubles.
The decline in death from road accidents does not justify tightening of the law or increasing the penalty. The government should look for other ways of dealing with the impeding problem rather than witch-hunting drunk drivers. A diversified approach to the problem would provide a better solution while putting into consideration the other aspects, which are affecting the wider population.
Campaign to enhance people to engage in responsible practices can effectively deal with the problem at hand. It should also be borne in that imposing tough penalties will lead to some related issues such as unemployment alcohol related fields. Worse still is the strife that tough penalties would generate, as people will be forced to rebel restriction. Such a situation would aggravate the whole issue.
Although this debate has attracted sharp divisions, the imposition of strict penalties to drunken drivers does not provide sufficient solution to the exact problem. The evidence presented by the police has revealed a strong correlation between fatal accidents and excessive alcohol consumption. However, different researches associate the more fatalities with excessive drinking beyond the legal 0.08 BAC. The conflicting opinions have left this issue with much controversy and more differences are expected to emerge in the future.
Having analyzed the ensuing argument I am convicted that the government should withhold the 0.08 rule and concentrate on the more severe issues such as insecurity and property crimes. Nonetheless, this does not me I encourage drunk driving but all individuals should practice restraint from indulgence of excessive alcohol consumption. An overwhelming adoption of the self-control would save the country much agony and struggles. Eventually, the country will be in position to distribute its resource equally.