You and took a life. Drinking and driving. How

You are 19
years old and at a party. You and your friends are all mellow, chilling and
goofing around. You drink some vodka with dash, I mean a little bit will not
hurt anybody right?  So drink another one
and another one and…. Wait, that’s enough! 
Time has gone by and before you know it is 01: OO AM and you should have
been home an hour ago.

Your friends
try to convince you to stay the night and leave the next morning but you refuse
because you prefer your own bed and say ‘I only stay 10mins ‘. You get into
your car, and greet your friends, off you go! Speeding along the way because
you’re big now! But as you drive down the road, pedestrian runs out nowhere shouting
for help and before you can press your brakes you’ve bumped her over and took a
life.

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Drinking
and driving. How fun it was to be a free adult for a few months, being able to
do all the things that we could not do when we were kids. Until we kill someone
and our rights are no longer protected, and mommy and daddy cannot help us
anymore.

All around
the world the main cause of death is due to car accidents with a rate of 3.6%
in South Africa. To some this may not seem so bad right? however, if one were
to convert into numbers it would be approximately 1714 people have died alone
during the festive season. South Africa also has a 58% rate of which car
accidents occur DUI. compared to other countries such as the USA which has 14
deaths per 100 000, AUS with 8 deaths per 100 000, UK with 6 deaths
per 100 000 and SA with 43 deaths per 100 000.  Which clearly has the highest rate, and guess
what guys ?? it doesn’t get any better each year the rate of DUI increases. For
example, 2 previous years before 2017 the rate had been almost 15% and last
year the rate Increased by 5% which means that overall the chances of DUI that could
occurs is 20% And to make it worse we could be part of that 20%.

Victim or
suspect, People don’t understand the consequences and effects of DUI. Most of
us all just think that we will get into a car accident, insurance will cover
everything and by the next day it will all go away like it never happened. Well
I’ve got news for you honey, that’s not happening. There are long term and
immediate effects that take place. Your immediate would be the obvious, that
you cause an accident either hurting yourself and to make it worse you could
end up killing yourself. Other immediate effects would also be that you will be
the cause of someone else’s death and cause injuries. There are also long term
effects would also include depression, living in regret and even get diagnosed
with PTSD. However, one should not take these lightly as being responsible for
someone death will have a negative impact on the suspects life as you have
people who envy you. In terms of the victim if he or she is left paralyzed or
even you, your chances of doing what you love i.e. sports player won’t be able
to happen.

There are
also consequences of driving under the influence, if you are found guilty you
can be charged with 6 years of imprisonment and R120 000.00 Fine.  You will also have a criminal record which
could limit you in terms of getting a job especially as a young adult. If you
are found guilty, a court hearing will take place which will start at a minimum
of 10 years and well as be charged with homicide. Your license can also be
suspended while your car can be written off.

As much as
the consequences could possibly be seen as harsh, the government aims to
implement new ideas in order to reduce the chances of DUI by making the law
stricter. As a law of South Africa citizens know that you are not allowed to
drink under the age of 18, and for those who do drink, need to drink
responsibly. However, just to make sure that it is controlled the government
poses that more random alcohol checks will be done. That more traffic officers
will be on duty at night but mainly weekends. Every officer must carry a
breathalyzer in their vehicles and test anyone for drugs or alcohol by every
crash scene. Traffic officers will also have the right to remove your license
if you are convicted. and mainly the South African government is looking to set
up ‘Drink Driving Courts’ which the suspect will be sent to within one month.

We all know
that habits die hard and that the best way to get rid of it, is to replace it
another habit. However, when it comes to drinking not everyone is willing to
just give everything up. But ways in which one can control their Drinking and Driving
is to drink responsibly, get a designated driver or Uber.  One can also educate themselves on the
consequences that comes with DUI, and visit a Rehab. But most importantly with
a problem like this talk to your family about it so they can help you take the
necessary steps – support structure -.

But before
I go, I would just like to encourage everyone to say No to drinking and driving
as it doesn’t just prevent you from getting arrested by could end up keeping
someone else alive.

Words: 935

Casey
Johnson.