Over the past twenty years governments together with public support have gradually managed to reduce the number of smokers from a huge percentage of the U.K. population to a small minority group. When you consider that smoking is recognised as an addiction and therefore not easy for smokers to simply give up, what has been achieved in the U.K. is fairly fantastic. Drunk driving is not an addiction, it's an irresponsible action, and just as with smoking, if enough people openly condemn it, drunk driving simply won't happen.
In the U.K. in 2003, 87,000 people were disqualified for drunk driving which was actually a rise of 2,100 by comparison with the previous year. The rise each year to the present time is estimated at about six per cent. It could be argued that this rise is simply the result of improved policing methods. It could, but even if that were true, and it doesn't seem likely that the police increase their effectiveness by an annual six percent specifically towards drunk driving, none of us should ignore that as a community we are not working towards drunk driving prevention as effectively as we obviously have towards the reduction of smokers.
So the big question has to be, why do people continue to drink and drive? Let's look at some of the consequences that result from an arrest for drunk driving. In 2003 forty-one per cent of drunk driving disqualifications were for more than one year. The inconvenience factor of the loss of personal transport is a nuisance, but if you work and live in London or any other major city an alternative means of transport is available.
So is this imposition sufficient? For many of us it seems not. Fines can be as much as £5,000, although time to pay can be negotiated with the courts. This is yet another imposition operating under the drunk driving prevention legislative banner that seems to fail to achieve its aim. Possibly one of the most powerful arguments against drunk driving remains with insurance companies. When a period of disqualification has elapsed the ex-drunk driver will once again return to his car. What he will discover is that his premium has rocketed. Insurance companies play a significant part in drunk driving prevention by being able to continue the penalty process after the offender has served and paid their debt to society in respect of the law.
However even with all the above deterrents looming over us all, individuals continue to climb behind the wheels of their vehicles and drive when intoxicated. So what else is required to stop that from happening? When someone is killed or permanently maimed as a result of drunk driving it robs either a family or an individual of the life they were expecting to live. In law robbery is not recognised as an offence associated with drunk driving, but perhaps it should be, because drunk driving that does harm to others robs them or their loved ones of something that is usually quite priceless. Drunk driving prevention can only achieve one hundred per cent success through the united will of communities exhibiting responsible behaviour, by simply being vocal towards individuals willing to drink and drive in places where the temptation to do so is strongest. The facts about drunk driving are already known by most, it regularly kills and maims innocent people everyday. Let's all make an effort to stop it, now!