Alcohol Misuse Among Minors UK Essay Research

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Alcohol Misuse Among Minors (UK) Essay, Research Paper Ellen Wichmann 5SK Discursive Essay Alcoholic drinks, in today?s society, have become an accepted part of social life. However, when alcohol is mixed with driving, catastrophic consequences can occur. In fact, 1 in 5 fatal accidents on our roads are directly related to alcohol. Is our government doing enough to deter people from drinking and driving? Each week, around 11 people die from driving above the legal limit, just under half of whom being people other than the drink drivers themselves. A further 300 people are injured. An additional number of people are also killed or injured as a result of driving with a raised blood alcohol limit, but are still within the law. The current legal limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol

per 100 millilitres of blood. According to the law, driving with this amount of alcohol can mean 12-18 months disqualification or up to 6 months imprisonment, one of the most lenient sentences in the European Union. This, in my opinion, is unacceptable. In Europe, strict laws, high-impact anti-drink driving campaigns and extensive education on the effects of alcohol are the reason for the high standards of driving and the low alcohol related mortality rates. In my opinion, that is exactly the type of approach Britain should be taking to combat drink driving. More police power and more frequent breathalysing would target the ?high risk? offenders, who fall into the category of 19-24 year old males, while a higher amount and standard of drugs and alcohol education for 11-16 year

olds would provoke future drivers to reconsider driving while intoxicated. The education which I received on alcohol and drug abuse was minimal and ineffective. There was little, if any, mention of drink driving. The government, in fact, seems to be doing little to oppose the issue. I feel certain that a more thorough written paper as part of the driving exam to ensure people know the risks of alcohol when driving would be beneficial. I do acknowledge, however, that some politicians such as the former European Commissioner for Transport, Neil Kinnock, call for the limit to be reduced to 50mg/100ml. This is a common limit throughout Europe and is far more acceptable. This limit is enforced in Holland, Finland, Austria, France and Germany, to name but a few, and significant

reductions in deaths and serious injuries have been recorded. Holland, for example, which has had a 50mg limit for over 20 years, has a much lower rate of alcohol related road deaths the UK, 1 in 15 (7%) compared with 1 in 5 (20%). In 1995, Great Britain had 540 alcohol related road deaths while Holland had only 87. This limit reduction to 50mg has also been enforced outside of the EU. In Australia, lowering the legal limit, combined with random breathalysing, showed a staggering 90% cut of people driving between 50mg and 80mg, and a 41% decrease in drivers over 150mg, thus many people remained unaffected by the consequences of drink driving, saving their government millions of dollars. It is clear that Britain is in the minority of countries still with this outdated law of 80mg,

along with Luxembourg and Denmark, both of which have a similarly high mortality rate. The British government prides itself as being a highly organised, efficient and dedicated government, caring for us, the people. It is unclear to me exactly why this government continues to ignore this issue which takes an average of 570 lives every year. The government had opted to introduce the lower limit in early 1998, but it was dismissed. A report substantiating their decision, on any other grounds apart from money issues, it seems, is unavailable. I fail to understand why money could be an issue, for any other reason other than the government?s mishandling of millions of pounds of tax payer?s money. Over ?208 million is spent on traffic accidents / damage related to alcohol; and around