Drunk Driving Effects:

By: Karilis La Luz, Diana Acevedo and Ángel Fuentes

For most young adults, including college students, it is normal to go to different activities and find alcohol beverages. It is the modality to consume this type of beverages, what leads to the state of drunkenness of many of them. Given the fact that many of them posses cars, they drive under this conditions what causes many of the car accidents.

Emotional damage:

When someone suffer a car accident, the one involved in the crash is not the only one that suffer the consequences. Especially if the injured is young, the life of the parents is affected to. Probably at first, they have to go through an emotional stage in which they have to accept the situation. In occasions, like when the accident was really serious and the victim needs a prosthetic part of the body, medicines or treatments for life or the victim is disable they have to adapt their life so they can deal with the changes that these can cause.

At 15 years old, Ramón and three of his friends, were victims of a serious car accident, because the conductor was driving under the influence of alcohol. They all suffer bad consequences, but the one with the worst ones was Ramón. Right after the accident the ambulance had to take him immediately to a hospital, there the doctors had to cut one of his legs off to save his life. After this he was in comma for a month. Ramón said: “ After this accident my life change completely, I had to quit school for some time, learn how to walk with a prosthetic leg, and worst of all I had to watch how my family suffer my situation, however they were always there supporting me.”

Ramón continued: “When someone under the influence of alcohol make the decision of driving, probably is not thinking about the consequences not only for him but for the ones on the car with him or someone in the street that does not have the fault”. Other thing that he said was that he like that other people took his situation as an example to not commit the error of driving under the influence of alcohol because they may damage someone else life.

Emotional damage does not only affect family members, it also affect police officers.

Police officer, Edwin Figueroa, had covered many car accidents, involving the ones caused by drunk driving, in the past 18 years. Officer Figuroa said: “When the family of the ones involved in fatal car accidents get to the scene they usually are desperate or they can not believe that their relatives are the ones injured.” He also said that when he was beginning as a police officer one of the hardest things to get used to was watching how relatives act when received a notice of this type. And he finished by adding that emotional effects are as bad as the ones regarding to fisical damage because they could last for the rest of the life of the ones affected.

Emotions can cause a serious effect, but the legal effects can be also severe.

Legal consequences:

Accidents have consequences, and drunken driving accidents can have several and many of them coming from the legal perspective. Different penalties can be given to the driver who is in the influence of alcohol. “The legal impact that is suffered after the accident can be immense” said attorney of law Javier Fuentes, referring to the large quantity of fines that law #22 of Vehicle and Traffic (2000) haves against drunk drivers.

Law #22 in section seven has written all the consequences that pass. The first sanctions that are presented in the act are the ones regarding to the infractions. The infractions penalties increase due to the times the drunk driver is intercepted. For the first interception the punishment is a fine minimum 300 hundred dollars maximum 500 hundred dollars, 30 days without driver’s license and a rehabilitee program. In a second interception the changes are a maximum of 750 hundred dollars, 15 to 30 days at jail, six months without license and the confiscation of the vehicle. In the third infraction the differences are 700 hundred minimum 1,000 thousand maximum, 60 days to six months in jail, two years without license an the confiscation of the vehicle, as said in the law.

“These different charges are given to create awareness and give the chance to the ones sanctioned” said Fuentes “but the other penalties are for punishment” continued attorney Fuentes regarding the ones that take place in accidents where they are bodily harm victims. In these cases the law has to divisions, which differ in the magnitude of the penalties, separating serious body damage from less damage.

The law dictates for the case of minimal body damage a punishment of a misdemeanor charge a fine of minimum 1,000 thousand dollars and maximum 5,000 thousand dollars, and a removal of license of five years. If it’s a serious body damage accident the mention penalties will be applied plus a maximum of three years in jail.

A victim is qualified for serious body damage when it has been left severely disable from any part of the body or permanently damaged from it.

Additional to law#22 a new project of law was approved, which determines that young adults between the ages of 18 and 20 can’t have more than 0.02% percent of alcohol in their blood, reducing it for them. Law #22 suggested that a person to be drunk and incapacitate to drive had to be with 0.08% percent of alcohol in the blood. “This was change due to the growing of interceptions of young people in state of drunkenness” said Fuentes.

Statistic (tendenciaspr.com) show that many of the total interventions made to suspicious drivers revealed that more than 75% percent (14,511/18,878*100) are in state of drunkenness. “What this means is that people don’t care on what could happen if they get caught” continued Fuentes “and also that the different campaigns of the government against this action isn’t working” added Fuentes. Male are the most abundant in the interceptions as the Statistic said, 80% percent (428/535*100) of the total infractions. “To be efficient they should concentrate to give this education since early in school” said Fuentes as an idea to reduce accidents and interceptions. “But as it shows it is not an educational problem is a moral” said Fuentes.

Physical effects:

Dr. Hilton Franqui says “drinking and driving makes a fatal combination” he can say this referring to the experiences in hospitals dealing with persons injured by drunk driving.

Drunk driving at least has tow effects which are mention previously. The last but not least are the physical effects. The physical effects are the ones who affect the victims the most. They can be divided in three aspects one for external damage, another for internal damage and last one for emotion or mental damage  as Dr. Hilton Franqui mention.

The external damage can be described as does in which people involve in the accident suffer in their external body. “They can be very minimal or could get very serious” mentioned Dr. Franqui. External damages could be caused of the impact of the car and getting hit by the airbag, another example is when the cars get hit and the victim breaks the window because of the abrupt movement that the body gets during the accident. Examples of external damage could be scratch in the face arms and legs. But it could also be the fracture of the neck due to the rapid movement of the head.

Internal damage occurs in the internal environment of the body. “Usually these type of damage is serious because they usually affect internal organs” continued Dr. Franqui. They can be caused by the very hard impacts in the abdominal part where it could affect the stomach and also if the ribs area is affected the lungs could be damaged. “They are more serious because they are more difficult to cure” said Dr. Franqui.

Mental damage is the only damage that cannot be cured completely. Mental damage is caused by an abrupt impact in the head causing that the victim could lose memory be unconscious and also get in coma. “Mental damaged is always serious because it could not reflect immediately and when it reflects it could cause disability or death” he  explained.

These are the consequences that drunk driving can lead to the ones involved in the situation. People know what drinking can provoke in their lives. They know the health, emotional and legal implications. When people decide to drive under the influence of alcohol, they think they will be just fine, but they forget about all the consequences and about all the others out there that might suffer the consequences of their actions. Everyone must start thinking, not only about ourselves, but also about all the others out there.

Car accident caused by drunk driving (http://javierastasio.blogspot.es/img/accidente.jpg)

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