Of all the things that drivers should not do before getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, drinking alcohol is the worst. In 2012 alone, the National Highway Safety Administration noted that there were more than 10,900 traffic fatalities due to drunk driving in the United States. But even though we know it’s a bad idea because it can result in serious or even fatal accidents that can be life-altering to anyone involved, people are arrested for this crime in states across the nation.
So why is it that, despite the dangers of drunk driving, people across the nation continue to partake in this reckless behavior? Do people feel that the risk is not great enough to prohibit the behavior or is there something else that could be going on entirely?
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the general public may have adopted a nonchalant attitude towards drunk driving because of how celebrities, as well as Hollywood in general, react to this serious crime. Fans of Khloe Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan likely know what we are talking about and may have laughed when these celebrities made light of their DUI arrests. Lohan even poked fun of her consistent failed attempts at sobriety during a 2012 appearance on SNL.
It’s this cavalier attitude towards their crimes, says MADD, that suggests to teens and young adults that this type of behavior is normal or even okay.
Our criminal justice system may not be helping matters either, suggests a recent article by Fox News. As was pointed out in the article, several celebrity DUI arrests have resulted in reduced sentences. In some cases, charges have been dropped completely. Compounding on the “drunk driving is okay” message, this perceived leniency also suggests that there is little to no risk if you are caught for drunk driving either. This could be the reason why the NHSA noticed an increase in the number of drunk-driving fatalities between 2011 and 2012.