By Bryce Little
Lee Middle School
There is a loud knock at the door. You look through the blinds and see an officer. A strange uncomfortable feeling comes over you.
As you open the door, your heart gradually beats faster like a drum in your ear. Your hands become wet. The officer has a stoic and serious look on his face. He asks are you the father or mother of –? In a panicked voice, you say, “Yes!”
The officer asks can he come in and speak with you? With confusion and some hesitation, voice breaking, you say yes, “What is wrong officer?” The officer looks down and then looks right into your eyes and replies, “I am officer Watson and I am sorry to tell you that your son/daughter was in a car accident, and he/she sustained fatal injuries.”
An intangible, sharp pain creeps into your stomach. You are in shock – tears start streaming slowly down your cheeks. A taste of wet salt slides into your mouth. It is bitter. You let out a deep groan mixed with a terrible scream like a loud siren. You turn to look at the picture of your loved one on the wall and everything becomes a blur.
According to NHTSA, approximately 28 people die daily from drunk drivers (NHTSA, 2019). To break it down even further, one person every 51 minutes has their life taken by someone under the influence (NHTSA, 2019).
Nationally, over 10,265 people who were fathers, mothers, sisters, cousins, wives, husbands, sons and daughters were injured or died because of someone drinking and driving (MaddGeorgia, 2021). In 2016, there were 368 deaths from drunk driving in Georgia (MaddGeorgia, 2021). Additionally, 24% of all traffic fatalities in Georgia were caused by drunk drivers. Drunk drivers were 62% of the fatalities, 29% were the occupants and 948 were non-occupants (MaddGeorgia, 2021).
Let’s make it even closer to home. In Coweta County, there have been 15 deaths since 2018 (Livestories, 2021). This may seem small, but tell that to a loved one who lost someone dear to them.
From a report in 2019, drugged drivers who are 16 and older represent 20.5 million people who drive under the influence (N.I.D.A, 2019). Additionally, an estimated 12.6 million Americans were under the influence of substances while driving (N.I.D.A, 2019). From 2009-2016, 43% of driving fatalities were those who had some form of drugs in them (N.I.D.A, 2019).
There are also other costs to society when it comes to drunk and drugged driving, and they are as follows: work productivity, medical costs, increased insurance, property damage, mental health issues and traffic jams.
The human loss, economic cost and societal effects are not worth the short effects of being under the influence while driving. For an individual getting into a car and possibly killing, maiming, taking the future, or the deep sadness that drunk and drugged driving can cost to the citizens of our societies is not worth it.
We must take care of one another, or we will suffer together! All in all, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” (Gandhi). Please always drive sober!