It’s a fact – drunk driving kills innocent people and makes our roads dangerous. Most of you (including us) have been touched by a drunk driving incident at one point in our lives. Because of the high number of incidents and personal situations, MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) was formed. Their mission is to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime and prevent underage drinking. That’s a tall order, but they’re up to it and have made a difference.
Let’s back up a bit. We Americans love our cars. We love the freedom to get up and go on a moment’s notice. In fact, Americans take over 233 billion trips in cars annually. The bad news is that, according to the MADD website, about one out of every two thousand trips are taken by people driving under the influence of alcohol and almost one of every three traffic deaths involve drunk driving. These numbers are disturbing, but there’s more. MADD’s site also states that in 2012, 10,322 people were killed and approximately 345,000 were injured.
It’s a known fact that alcohol decreases a person’s ability to effectively and safely operate a motor vehicle. It’s also very important to remember that the amount of alcohol that leads to impairment differs from person to person. Factors involved are weight, age, gender, how much food is in your stomach and how fast you drank, to name a few. The best choice a person can make is to not drink and drive, period. Bottom line is that drunk driving affects all of us, not only the people involved in the crash. The effect reaches every family member, friend, coworker, etc. And then there’s the price tag – $132 billion yearly.
Clearly, drunk driving is an issue that must be paid attention to. MADD makes it a priority to get the statistics and information out to the public in the hopes that we will all take note and do our part to make a difference. MADD reinforces the fact that we all need to support law enforcement to help deter drunk drivers through proven solutions like sobriety checkpoints and research into technology. Technology like the development of in-vehicle systems that will automatically determine if a driver is at or above the legal limit of .08 blood alcohol concentration level.
Let’s talk a little more about blood alcohol concentrations. The legal limit in Florida is .08, but here are some interesting facts about that and other levels and the effect they most likely have on driving:
- .02: You can expect a decline in visual functions and the ability to perform two tasks at once.
- .05: Now you will likely experience reduced coordination and the ability to track moving objects, plus difficulty in steering and reduced response to emergency driving situations.
- .08: This is the legal limit, but note that concentration is greatly reduced as is short-term memory and information processing and perception.
- .10: Here you can expect reduced ability to maintain lane position and delayed braking.
- .15: At this level you will have substantial impairment in vehicle control and attention plus greatly reduced audio and visual information processing.
Drunk driving has had its effect on us. In 1983 we lost Joni Carey, wife of partner Tom Carey, to a drunk driver. Since then we have been actively involved in MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and have also co-founded RID (Remove Intoxicated Drivers) in the Tampa Bay area. It’s important that we all do our part to try and reduce the number of drunk driving incidents. Our firm is proud to be a leader in the fight against drunk driving and have set records in terms of jury verdicts, legislative efforts and charitable endeavors.
The threat of drunk driving needs to be eliminated. Please go to MADD’s website for more information. And please, don’t let anyone you know or love drink and drive.