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Prom: Stay Sober or Get Pulled Over

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Think of your future, think of your date…

then think before making that fatal mistake! Don’t drink and drive.

Spring is prom season, and with any high school social event, comes avid decision making. Drinking is an issue that has plagued teen populations for years, partially due to the lack of restriction and reinforcement of age limits in the past. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 established the minimum age to be 21 years old. Yet since then, between 1970 and 1975, 29 states lowered the MLDA (minimum legal drinking age) from 21 to 18, 19, or 20. However, teens always push the limits by taking risks.

 

Drinking and driving before, during, or after prom can be fatal. Now I’m sure teens have heard this before, but especially now. After parties can get wild, and it’s always best to assign a designated driver if you choose to participate in such activities. Drinking while driving isn’t only detrimental to your health, but for everyone around you. Passengers, as well as others on the road are put at risk due to your irresponsible decisions.

 

So you may ask, is buzzed driving still drunk driving? The answer is yes. Technically, one drink is equal to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor, and the effects of intoxication include loss of hand eye coordination, impaired judgement, distorted vision and slowed reflexes: a horrid combination for driving. Driving while intoxicated is illegal in all 50 US states, and in most core countries around the world as well.

 

What are the consequences of drunk or intoxicated driving? If you are caught drunk driving, a DUI itself costs about $10,000 to settle, on average. A DUI will immediately suspend the offender’s driver’s license and the driver’s vehicle may also be confiscated or impounded, and the DUI offender will likely incur significant administrative costs. An increasingly popular DUI penalty, especially for repeat offenders, is mandatory installation of an “ignition interlock” device on the offender’s vehicle. This breath-testing device measures the vehicle operator’s BAC, and will prevent operation of the vehicle if more than a minimum amount of alcohol is detected, such as BAC level of .02. Where this punishment is utilized, most states require the DUI offender to pay costs of installation, rental, and maintenance of the ignition interlock device. Rental fees alone can amount to as much as three dollars per day, so a DUI offender’s expenses can add up quickly when an ignition interlock device is required.

 

Drunk driving costs the U.S. 132 billion dollars in reparations, which is a huge and preventable loss. Hopefully, those who do get DUI’s learn their lesson… yet unfortunately 33% are repeat offenders. Driving while intoxicated is extremely dangerous, 27 people in the U.S. alone die from an alcohol related accident every day. Avoid being one of those 27. Especially for those in high school, kids who drink are 5 times more likely to fall behind in class and drop out, and drunk driving is the leading cause of death for those aged 13-18. Protect yourself, because drinking starts quickly, seeing as one in three 8th graders are likely to drink., and those kids are 7 times as likely to get into a car crash.

Every 90 seconds, someone is injured in an alcohol related accident. Don’t let it happen to you..stay safe, and have fun at prom 2016!

SOURCES:
Gaille, Brandon. “35 Best Anti Drinking and Driving Slogans – BrandonGaille.com.” Brandon[Gaille]. BrandonGaille.com, 7 Sept. 2013. Web. 13 Apr. 2016. <http://brandongaille.com/35-best-anti-drinking-and-driving-slogans/>.

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Written By

Archana Sundar is a 15 year old queer WoC who hopes to spread awareness about environmental and social issues, especially those concerning the LGBT community and politics. When she's not writing for Affinity or creating lesson plans for Empower: Educate & Inspire, Inc. ( A nonprofit organization based on educating youth), she swims for her high school team and plays in her school orchestra. Archana enjoys anatomy as well as other life sciences, and hopes to pursue a future in the medical or bioscience fields.

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