According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point in their lives. In 2009, approximately 10,839 people were killed in such crashes. An average of one alcohol-related driving fatality occurred every 48 minutes in 2009. On average, someone is injured every 90 seconds. An estimated 30 million people a year have admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol, and 10 million have admitted to driving under the influence of illicit drugs. In 2011, 226 children were killed in drunk-driving crashes. Of those, 122 (54% percent) were riding with the drunk driver.

There’s no denying that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious problem in this country. The lives that are lost, the families that are shattered, the emotional toll that weighs on all parties involved… all costly, and all preventable.

A nationwide survey of middle and high school students found that 30% believed that planning to drive was a reason not to drink. However, only about half that number (18%) believed that planning to drive was a reason not to use drugs. Marijuana in particular has increasingly become a factor in the impairment of drivers. In reality, marijuana can affect your ability to drive for much longer than the effects of alcohol. Realistically, any drug, even when medically prescribed, can impair certain faculties needed for operating a vehicle safely.

”On August 17, 2002, 16-year-old Jamie Maier was backing out of a friend’s driveway when a drunk driver crashed into the passenger side of her car. The drunk driver was traveling more than 100 mph in a 30 mph zone, with a blood alcohol concentration of .12 percent. The impact instantly killed both Jamie and her friend who was riding with her.” (source:www.madd.org)

A simple online search can produce thousands of similar, heartbreaking, stories of tragedies such as Jamie’s. Set aside for the moment the possibility of losing your driver’s license, or getting a DUI and losing thousands of dollars in expenses. Set aside the shame and humiliation of being branded as a drunk-driver everywhere you go, or the possible jail-time you might face. Set aside for a moment the fact that every time you make the decision to operate a vehicle impaired, you risk death or great bodily injury to yourself. Set aside your own selfishness and think about 16-year-old Jamie and her friend who innocently lost their lives to someone else’s selfish and reckless behavior. Think about the pain and suffering that one person’s actions behind the wheel caused a family, friends, and an entire community. Think about the innocent life you stand to snatch away before you get into that car and ask yourself if it’s really worth it.

If you have found yourself behind the wheel of a car while under the influence, or have experienced legal troubles such as DWI or DUI, you may need to seek help. Call the professionals at Serenity Acres today to find out if treatment is right for you.