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Alcohol Essay, Research Paper

There are right and wrong choices to make when a person chooses to drink alcohol. A good choice would be to drink responsibly and make sure not get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Designating a driver that will not drink during your outing is a good decision to make. A poor decision would be to get extremely drunk and decide to get behind the wheel of a car and drive anyway. It might be the person?s opinion that they are capable of driving safely. This poor decision could seriously harm an individual, their passengers, and other innocent people. The decision between right and wrong in this situation demonstrates the meaning of orthodoxy. Pierre Bourdieu claims orthodoxy is ?. . .a system of acceptable ways of thinking and speaking the natural and social world. In orthodoxy, opinion plays a major role.? When choosing to drink and drive people have their own beliefs on what is right and what is wrong. They have their own opinion on a very important matter that should only be tolerated one way. It should not happen. Society frowns upon those who drink and drive and they hold little respect for those who make that choice because of the danger they place upon themselves and others. Orthodoxy brings out the choices a person has when they choose to drink alcohol. It allows the person to think about what their actions will be and whether they are making the smart decision to drink and drive under the influence of alcohol.

Alcohol affects people in many different ways. ?The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines a fatal traffic crash as being alcohol-related if either a driver or a pedestrian had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.01 grams per deciliter or greater in a police reported traffic crash? (Jacobs 124). While drivers are consuming alcohol they may not be thinking of the consequences should they decide drive an automobile. To drive safely, one must maintain alertness; make decisions based on ever changing information and executive maneuvers based on these decisions. They may not think about how alcohol slows down the motor skills and response time. Alcohol also acts as a depressant and can cause you to become tired and disoriented. All of these factors make it extremely dangerous to drive. Some of the penalties that face drunk drivers are not severe enough and many people believe that the laws on driving under the influence of alcohol are minor enough to continue doing it. They might also feel that they would not get caught and they take the chance by driving drunk. These people are usually repeated offenders and don?t consider the fact that conditions change or something unexpected might occur and they might not be able to react quickly enough to avoid an accident.

Driver?s license suspension and court-ordered alcoholism treatment are designed to deter drinking and driving. However, drunk drivers still cause many accidents in the United States every year and many of them are fatal, not just for the drunk driver but for the innocent people involved. The rate of alcohol involvement in fatal crashes is nearly three and one-half times as high at night as during the day. ?The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims that twenty percent of all accidents are caused by people under the influence of alcohol ? (Drunk Driving). If only half of the people that cause drunk driving accidents would decide to discontinue their dangerous actions out of the twenty percent that continue, many accidents could be avoided and lives would be saved. If people thought more about what they need to do in these situations and made good choices there would be far area for concern. All it takes is for people to think about what is the best choice before it is too late.

There are many groups in today?s society that protest drunk driving. They form powerful groups that persuade communities to look down upon drunk drivers. Most of these groups were formed because a drunk driving accident somehow affected the founders. Many of them have lost loved ones to drunk driving accidents. One of the most popular groups is MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving. This group was formed because these women lost children to accidents involving drinking and driving. ?Rates of drinking and driving remain unacceptably high among U.S. adults,? according to Catherine Clark of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers). A survey done by the group showed that people thought they needed to drink more than six beers to be impaired, but actually they were impaired after only four. This shows that most people?s opinion on drunk driving is totally wrong, and they have no knowledge of what is actually in their blood stream and how it affects their ability to drive. If they had followed this guideline that this orthodoxy gives them, they would not place themselves in drunk driving situations. Drinking alcohol is also orthodoxy because the person drinking has the responsibility to do what is right when they are drinking and has the option not choose to get behind the wheel of a car.

Progress is being made to decrease the number of drinking and driving related accidents. However, approximately 15,000 lives are lost each year from these accidents. The percent of alcohol-related crash fatalities has declined from 43.6 percent of the total number of crash fatalities in 1986 to 37.4 percent in 1998 (Jacobs 92). Heightened awareness through education by schools and groups like MADD has helped decrease this number. It has made people aware of the consequences of drinking and driving. Orthodoxy allows for the choices a person has when they drink alcohol. It provides the person the opportunity to think about what their actions will be and if they are making the right decision to drink and drive under the influence of alcohol.

Drunk Driving. December 1997: www2.potsdam.edu.

Jacobs, James B. Drunk Driving: An American Dilemma. Chicago:

University of Chicago Press, 1989.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving. April 2000: www.madd.org.

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