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Alchohol Essay, Research Paper

Have you or someone you know ever been to a party and got drunk and then drove home? The next morning did you ever wonder what might have happened if you had been in a crash? Did you know that about half of all highway deaths are alcohol-related? There are about 25,000 every year. Or did you ever think about the fact that alcohol-related crashes kill more teenagers every year than any disease? Have you ever thought to yourself, what if I had killed someone last night while I was driving under the influence of alcohol? Was it someone I knew that I had hurt? What if it was my best friend? Would you be willing to risk hurting or killing yourself, your friends, or others just for the sake of having fun and getting drunk? Is it a necessary risk? Is it really worth the risk?

Here are just a few of the many facts about the negative affects of alcohol and how they affect us as teenagers. Really pay attention to these results and hopefully they will help remind you of the right decision to make the next time you are at a party.

- An estimated average of eight young people dies every day in alcohol related accidents.

(CSAP, 1996)

- More than 40% of all 16 – to – 20-year-Olds deaths result from motor vehicle accidents.

- Nearly half of these fatalities (38.9 %) were caused by alcohol-related accidents.

- Estimates are that 2,222 persons ages 16 – 20 died in alcohol-related accidents in the year


(NHTSA, 1995)

- Based upon 1992 data, an estimated one out of every 280 babies born today will die in a crash involving an intoxicated driver.

(NHTSA, 1996

- More than 40% of all the 16 – to – 20 – year Olds that passed away in the year 1994 were killed in car accidents. The excessive use of alcohol was the cause of nearly half of these accidents.

Alcohol affects the body, and while under the influence, it also impairs the ability to drive. The alcohol most severely affects the control center of the body, the brain. There are seven very important ways that alcohol affects the body, each one having a direct effect on a persons driving ability; First, it affects a persons reaction time, tracking examples: (keeping the car s position on the road), it also affects attention, comprehension (understanding what you see and hear), one of the more important aspects, it affects your vison (the peripheral vision is the ability to see objects to one s left or right, this out of all seven is most affected), next alcohol affects the coordination of hands and feet, and also road test performance (some examples of this are steering, braking, speed control, lane tracking, gear changing, judgements of speed, and safe stopping distances).

You can tell from the diagram below how, once you ve consumed alcohol, the path it takes through the body and the effects it has.

The latest figures show that alcohol is involved in about forty percent of all traffic fatalities. Two years ago California decided to go zero-tolerance with teens and alcohol, and now President Clinton is suggesting a national zero-tolerance law. The figures on teens who drink show that about three-quarters of high school seniors drink alcohol, and half have gotten drunk. And when the party’s over, they get behind the wheel of a car and try to drive home.

In the past, a blood alcohol level of .08% was the standard for a DUI conviction. But with the increase in teen drunk driving, states like New York, Kentucky and California are enforcing a zero-tolerance law with teen drivers, which means a DUI conviction for even .01% blood alcohol level. A DUI conviction also means a fine of $1,071 and a three-year probation time. In addition, first-time offenders have to take a weekly class that costs $445. And of course, if your insurance company doesn’t drop you, your rates will double. Add in attorneys fees and you’re looking at a total cost of $7,500.

But some convicted drunk drivers, such as “Tom,” count these things as small sacrifices. “I could have wrecked myself around a telephone pole or I could have hit somebody,” he says. “I just think that I’m very lucky and I’m glad that it worked out the way it did. I think something needed to be done. I mean that I m glad I was caught.” By the way, DUI’s stays on your driving record for ten years, and some employers actually check that, so watch out.

There are many consequences that come into play after you have abused alcohol. Several examples of these are that a person would have a lowered immune system, and damage to critical and vital nerve cells, physical dependency, lung damage, heart problems, liver disease, physical and even mental depression, increased risk of infection, irreversible memory loss, personality changes, and thought disorders.

Under the Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act there is no tolerance for a DUI between the ages of 15 and 21. A DUI is considered .02-.07 percent blood-alcohol content. On a first offense a teen’s license will be revoked for six months with no reinstatement period. The offender must attend DUI school, retake the driver’s test, and perform at least 20 hours of community service to begin within 60 days of sentencing. Revocation of a license occurs for 12 months after a teen’s second DUI offense. Then the offender must take the driver’s test over and go to DUI school again. Each month, there are approximately 10 million people under the age of 21 who drink alcohol. 81% of high school seniors say they have used alcohol. 1.1 billion cans of beer are consumed by junior and senior high school students each year. Some of these are first-time drinkers and some are occasional drinkers, but many of them drink regularly.

Approximately 2 out of every 3 teenagers who drink alcoholic beverages regularly buy for themselves. The other one-third who drink alcohol regularly get it from people 21 or older who purchase it for them. Some teenagers get it from their own refrigerator – from their own parents.

There are many reasons why you shouldn’t drink alcohol. Not just because it can harm your health, but because you can’t think straight when you are intoxicated. When you cannot think straight, you do things that you ordinarily would not do. When you are intoxicated, your inhibitions are suppressed, and you may do things you will later regret, such as having sex. Being intoxicated, you are likely to not even think to use a condom. This can result in pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV.

Alcohol also affects your liver. Therefore, it may be a lot harder for your body to fight off diseases. Alcohol can also affect the reproductive system in certain ways. In pregnant women, there could be a miscarriage or problems with the child such as mental retardation.

Each year many people are riding in a car with an intoxicated being. Sometimes the person is forced to enter the car. If there is a time whenever you know someone is intoxicated, do not let them drive anywhere.

Now that you know the effects and some of the facts about alcohol, think about them the next you decide to drink and drive, and we hope that you think of the consequences that would affect you and others. Make the right choice. Don t drink and drive!

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