Jacqueline Schutte

Binge drinking can have a severe impact on a person’s health and wellness as well as their career and reputation.  An aspect of having too many drinks and then driving home can end not only the drinker’s life but others on the road as well.  Drunk driving killed 9,878 people in 2011 according to the National Highway Safety Administration.  Although that is a huge number, it is the first time that the number has been below 10,000 in the nation.  The number of people killed by drunk driving in 2010 was 10,136.  According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, Iowa had 85 drunk driving related deaths last year.  Twenty-two of Iowa’s traffic deaths involve drinking.

imagesMADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) believe this drop in the number of drunk driving deaths are a testament to the work they are doing.  It was started by a mother who lost her daughter to a drunk driving accident.  MADD is the largest nonprofit organization in the country that works to stop both drunk driving and drinking underage.

According to their homepage, the group has saved 300,000 lives since their beginning in 1980. They have done this work through encouraging stronger laws against drunk driving.  They also work to raise awareness about drunk driving and that it is completely preventable.

MADD started a campaign in 2006 titled the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving.  Drunk driving has gone down by 27 percent since that campaign was launched, according to the organization’s website.  Holidays, especially New Year’s, are a time when drunk driving is also increased.

I think drunk driving can possibly be even more of an issue in small towns.  It could be that I grew up in a small town, but I believe a lot of times there is not much to do for entertainment so drinking becomes entertainment.  It is also an issue in small towns because there is no public transportation system.  In bigger towns, if someone has had too much, they can call and pay a cab to take them home.  There is no such service in smaller towns.

A business in Waverly recognized this problem of no transportation services and decided to do something about it.  Curt’s Cab gives rides to the town to get them home safe.  He started his business when his family was impacted by drunk drivers and wanted others to be safe on the roads.     

I think having a 21 and older ordinance to drink could possibly contribute to alcohol consumption not being regulated.  Teenagers who have been drinking at a party may be hesitant to call for a ride home from a friend or parent for fear of getting in trouble.  If they were allowed to drink in bars, it not only might be regulated better but they might be able to find safer ways to get home.





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