Back in my sophomore year of high school, my baseball team was on the path of a successful season. Our team was very close; we treated each other like family, until one day, tragedy struck. One afternoon, before practice, the entire team walked into the locker room as our coach told us the news. The older brother of one of the senior players had been drinking and driving and killed the cousin of another player who was in my grade. The driver, his brother, was so drunk, he didn’t even know he hit someone. Nobody knew what to say; we all seemed lost. We didn’t see both of those players for a couple of weeks. The senior player was basically the leader of the team. Suddenly the players started forming into groups, defending either player. We didn’t feel like a family anymore. We ended up finishing the season with a demoralizing record of 6-24, the worst season I experienced throughout the four years I was there.
Drinking and driving affects more than just the people that do it, it affects everyone associated with them. Research has shown that drinking and driving has claimed the lives of more than 24,000 people and more than half a million injuries. The majority of these people who are either drinking and driving or are killed from drunk driving are between the ages of 16 and 24. It’s also estimated that for every casualty from drinking and driving, one person dies from a drinking related death; drowning, falling, suicide, etc. This problem will continue to grow unless we act upon it. It will not be resolved without our involvement. Even though raising the age to buy alcohol to 21 helped decrease the problem, I don’t believe it did enough. Over the past couple of decades, U.S. governments have passed hundreds of new laws dedicated to reduce drunken driving deaths. The Zero Tolerance policies set very low blood alcohol contents for drivers. This has proven to be somewhat effective.
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