Edgar Verduzco, a police officer in the LAPD, was arrested on Thursday following a DUI in which three people were killed and two more (including the officer) injured. The three killed included a teenager and his two parents, who were killed after their vehicle caught fire. That the one responsible for the accident was a police officer is bad enough. But he also seemed to have been involved in an anti-drunk driving initiative. The death and pain caused by this accident were easily preventable, as this law firm’s website says. After all, the only thing that’s necessary not to cause an alcohol-related accident is not to drink while impaired. But every day, across the entire country, people ignore this simple rule, resulting in massive amounts of injuries and death.
Taking a closer look at the statistics involving car accidents is harrowing. The CDC website on the subject lays it all out in full. 28 people a day are killed in the US in a drunk driving accident, totaling 10,265 deaths a year in 2015. That makes up approximately 29% of the traffic-related for that year. Think about what that means- if people made the very reasonable, very easy decision to simply not drive after they had been drinking, the number of automobile-related deaths in the country would drop by one-third. And though police often work hard to try to crack down on dangerous driving, it’s impossible to catch everyone. In fact, according to the CDC, only about 1 million of 111 million annual drink driving incidents are ever arrested.
Young people seem to be the biggest risk factors. The CDC’s research shows that 55% of drunk driving accidents involved people between the ages of 21 and 34. That may be for a number of reasons. Young people are probably more likely to engage in drinking or go out. And when they do, they were probably less likely to consider the risks of their actions and to partake in dangerous behaviors like drinking and driving. But youth isn’t an excuse- but the age all of us start drinking, we have received enough messages about the dangers of driving under the influence to be able to make the right decisions in situations such as those.
So what can be done? Obviously, people are going to drink, and many of them will go out to a club or bar to do it. But when you do sure, be sure to form a plan beforehand. Designate a driver if necessary. If you aren’t able to, bring money for an Uber or a Taxi. In some cities like New York that have extensive public transportations, you may be able to get home even cheaper and more easily than that. And if all these fail, there are many initiatives set up by churches, schools, and community-building organizations that offer free or cheap rides to people who need them. The resources are there, enough of them that no one should ever have an excuse to risk hurting others by drinking and driving.