Drinking and driving in Wisconsin
Drinking in Wisconsin is the social norm. It seems wherever you go there is alcohol available. Getting behind the wheel even at a buzz level, is evitable because of the increased availability alcohol has become. Even family atmospheres such as movie theaters, zoo’s and amusement parks; indoor and outdoor now sell alcohol. Perhaps parents use alcohol as a social lubricant in these atmospheres, whether it be from the stress of the children or anxiety about large crowds. Regardless of the reasons, individuals drink it in excess and in my opinion in unnecessary places, due to the establishments that make it so readily available. It’s a money market no doubt, but at the risk of endangering a vast amount of people, which to me should not be permitted. In this case it is a risk for those with children, getting behind the wheel impaired because it’s highly unlikely someone will call and pay extra money for an Uber to pick them up along their munchkins, especially after a long day. In reality the mindset is, it’s just “easier” to drive. The solution to this problem would be to eliminate alcohol from some of these places, to reduce the risk of people getting behind the wheel impaired with children, and the potential threat is can cause to other people on the road.
Another issue for drinking and driving arises in teens who are underage. Under-ager’s are not likely to just sit and socially drink with their friends. These adolescents are much more likely to binge drink, with the intention of getting drunk due to their mental health, brain development and level of maturity ( Fleckenstein, Hanson, Venturelli, 2018 p213). After a teen has drank too much, they are most likely going to try to get away with it, thus not calling their parents or someone else to give them a ride. Their level of making rational emotional decisions is inhibited because their brain is not fully developed, causing the level of their frontal lobe activity to be lower than the average adult. (brain connection) The solution to this is for parents to be aware of their teens social circle, and the activities they are engaging in. Another solution to this is for parents to be more open and honest about these topics. While they can be hard conversations to have, kids deserve to know the truth about these issues because they are real, and they will be exposed to them one way or another. If truth isn’t being taught, then when adolescents encounter these issues, they will be most likely to give in due to peer pressure and the “fit in” mentality. If parents can be open and honest with their kids, then maybe kids will be open and honest with their parents, knowing they have a safe place to discuss things that are uncomfortable. Letting kids freely open up about things that might be going on, will open that door to be able to call a parent if they happen messed up and drank when they shouldn’t have. Providing that platform for kids, where they can freely talk about things like drinking, might decrease the use of alcohol, by just bringing awareness to them in a loving and safe manner.
The epidemic of driving intoxicated, I believe goes right along with the opioid problem that we have. While drinking alcohol can be damaging enough, there are so many people already under the influence of illicit and licit drugs, then pairing that with the consumption of alcohol increases the intensity of the intoxication. While there may be people who are reckless and seek out the extra buzz, I believe there are some people that simply haven’t been educated in polydrug use and get buzzed or drunk after their normal drink or two without even realizing it (Fleckenstein, Hanson, Venturelli, 2018 p218). When people are intoxicated, their judgment is impaired, and they are less likely to make rational decisions such as calling a taxi or an Uber, at the end of the night. This is a problem, thus those who are impaired individuals are out driving causing danger to not only themselves but everyone else on the road. Out of all the 50 states, Wisconsin is known to be one of the worst in excessive drinking, which that alone is pretty sad. (NBC15) But what’s worse in that, is because of the excess of alcohol consumption, that creates opportunities for people under the influence to be reckless and irresponsible. In Wisconsin the penalty for drinking and driving, for first offenders is pretty minimal (duidrivinglaws). I believe if the petalites for drinking and driving were greater, drunk driving would decrease. A solution for this would be for those who were going out to drink would plan ahead for that taxi, Uber or DD. I think more often than not people drive drunk or buzzed, they just don’t get caught so they keep doing it, increasing the chance of an accident to happen. As a community and as a state we should be encouraging people and educating more on why it’s so important to get a ride, and to plan ahead.
Talukder, Gargi. “Decision-Making Is Still a Work in Progress for Teenagers.” Brain Connection, 9 Dec. 2016, brainconnection.brainhq.com/2013/03/20/decision-making-is-still-a-work-in-progress-for-teenagers/.
Staff, NBC15. “Wisconsin Ranked Worst State for Excessive Drinking.” Content, Dec. 2018, www.nbc15.com/content/news/Wisconsin-ranked-top--502754122.html.
Nolo. “Wisconsin's Drunk Driving Laws and Penalties.” Dui.drivinglaws.org, Nolo, 16 Oct. 2018, dui.drivinglaws.org/wisconsin.php.
Hanson, Glen, et al. Drugs and Society. Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2018.