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Education: The First Line of Defense Against Drunk Driving (Guest Blog)
By Guest Blogger | March 19, 2012| 4 Comments | Filed in: Drugged Driving

This is a guest blog post from I DRIVE SAFELY, the leader in the online driver training industry, offering Online Traffic School/ Defensive Driving, Teen and Adult Drivers Ed and Insurance Reduction courses.  

Strict enforcement of drunk driving laws is an essential part of an overall public safety policy. However, every time an intoxicated driver stumbles during a field sobriety test or a police cruiser pulls over a car swerving wildly across multiple lanes, it signals that something has already gone horribly wrong. Either those intoxicated drivers simply did not understand just how much danger they were putting themselves and others in by driving drunk, or else they didn’t understand the severity of the consequences of getting caught.

Thus, the best way to fight against drinking and driving is to educate people about its dangers. The good news is that there are already in place many opportunities for people to improve their knowledge on drinking and driving, and how to avoid doing it.

Teen Drivers Ed

Because teens get their licenses when they are 16, but they don’t start drinking until they are 21, there is a fundamental disconnect between driver education and alcohol education. By the time people can legally start drinking, many of them have been driving for five years, and it is unlikely that they’ll be returning to driving class to learn about the dangers of drunk driving. This is why making drunk driving education a fundamental part of general teen driver’s educationas teens prepare to get their learners permits and driver licenses is essential. When budding drivers understand just how serious and dangerous driving can be, and the ways that alcohol compounds those dangers several fold, they will be more likely to make better decisions and avoid drinking and driving when they become drinking age.

Further, simply knowing that a sound and sober mind is a prerequisite for safe driving should be treated as fundamental driving knowledge, as much as knowing how to change lanes or parallel park. It only makes sense that alcohol education be a core part of every driver’s first driver training.

Advertising Campaigns

Of course, even mature adults suffer lapses in judgment. After five, ten, fifteen or more years after they’ve taken driver’s ed, their memory about the dangers of drunk driving can get a little hazy. Fortunately, mass media ad campaigns can reach a significant chunk of the driving population through magazine, television and radio campaigns, which can help remind adult drivers what it means to drive responsibly. Anti drunk driving advertisements by nonprofit groups like the Ad Council have even spawned famous, memorable slogans like “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk.”

Educating Traffic Violators

Most states in the US have a traffic school or defensive drivingprogram. These educational programs usually give drivers an opportunity to remove a citation from their driver record by taking a four, six, or eight hour course on the fundamentals of driving safety.

This is of course gives the perfect opportunity to remind people of the risk drunk driving poses to their personal safety, the safety of others on the road, and their driving privileges. By learning about the seriousness of drunk driving alongside other driving safety topics, traffic law violators can be reminded just how much is at stake.


What Can You Do?

If you have a teenager, ask your child’s high school what role alcohol education plays into teen drivers ed.

Check to see if your state has a statewide defensive driving program, and write to your congressman expressing how important it is make sure traffic violators get educated on the dangers of drinking and driving.

And as always, if you feel that a friend or family member might be engaging in risky behavior, take the opportunity to let them know how much you care about them and how much they stand to lose by driving intoxicated.


1. Elder, R. W., Shults, R. A., Sleet, D. A., Nichols, J. L., Thompson, R. S., & Rajab, W. (2004). Effectiveness of mass media campaigns for reducing drinking and driving and alcohol-involved crashes. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 27, 57–65.


   

Comments

Submitted by coffee girl at 11:51 PM on April 15, 2014
Slash their tires. When they start complaining about the cost let them know that sucks, but at least they didn't kill anyone, and DUI's are more expensive. Once they get their tires fixed slash them again. Restate DUI's are expensive and lives are worth a lot more. Continue to repeat this eventually they won't have money to drink. Oh and don't get caught and never tell anyone you did this. Just a suggestion.
Submitted by SkousenandReedy at 03:00 PM on July 25, 2012
Unfortunately it doesn't matter how much you educate people on how bad it is to drink and drive, in the end it is all up to them to make the decision. So their is no reason to spend more tax money on dui education. Their is only so much you can learn from not drinking and driving.
Submitted by Unjust at 12:58 AM on March 27, 2012
I came across the twitter of a defense attorney in CA and found these posts, it made me sick: Mary Frances Prevost ‏ @CrimeDefense Reply Retweet Favorite · Open I settled felony DUI w/2 injured vics 4 a wet reckl;ess(no time in jail)in Chula Vista. Case took 3 yrs. Client did 2 deployments. WINNING! 26 Feb Mary Frances Prevost ‏ @CrimeDefense Reply Retweet Favorite · Open I recently settled a felony DUI w/great bodily injury for a misdemeanor DA first wanted 2 yrs state prison.Client=5 days jail. Good times.
Submitted by helpless at 12:32 PM on March 26, 2012
what if you know an alcoholic that refuses to get help, you have done everything from reporting them to taking keys, they drink an drive everyday andis getting worse an worse how do you make the police know the seriousness of this and stop them before they or someone else get killed helpless in dayton,ohio

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