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Strict Drunk Driving Laws, Application Essay Example

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Application Essay

The statistics related to drunk driving speak for themselves. In 2010 over 10,000 people died in drunk-driving crashes. In 2011 approximately 9,800 people were killed in drunk-driving accidents. That is an average of one death every 53 minutes that could have been easily prevented. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers, and thousands of those deaths are alcohol-related. The list of jarring statistics related to drunk driving is seemingly endless, but there is one statistic that is perhaps most significant of all: since the criminal justice system and the public started taking the issue seriously, drunk driving has been reduced by over 50%. This demonstrates that strict anti-drunk driving laws are effective and that they serve the public interest.

For a significant number of Americans, drinking and driving has always been considered a serious offense, and one that has been treated as such by the criminal justice system. For some older generations of Americans, however, it was not always this way. As recently as the 1970s, drinking and driving was not taken seriously by the public or by the police. It was, at worst, considered a relatively minor offense. All that began to change in 1980, when the 13-year-old daughter of Candy Lightner was killed by a drunk driver. Lightner would go on to establish Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), an organization that would be instrumental in raising public awareness about the seriousness of drinking and driving. Since MADD was founded, states across the country began to adopt stricter drunk driving laws, such as setting blood alcohol content limits at .08% as a legal mark of impairment. MADD was also instrumental in raising public awareness about the serious impacts that drunk driving has on victims and families, and also about the seriousness of underage drinking.  The changes that have occurred in the legal system over the last several decades are indeed strict, but the evidence is clear that they also work. These legal restrictions do not restrict adults from drinking responsibly, and they have helped to reduce the number of drunk drivers on the road. The degree to which drunk driving laws infringe on individual rights is far outweighed by their benefit to the public as a whole.

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