The Far-reaching Effects of Drunk and Drugged Driving

No matter how selfless you try to be, its human nature that most people make decisions based on how much it will affect them, personally. This is especially true when people make the choice to act recklessly, thinking their actions will only make an impact on their own life. 

It’s important to remember, though, that the choices we make each day have effects that go far beyond our own life, and when you make the choice to drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol, you could change the course of hundreds of lives through just one tragic mistake. In recognition of National Drunk and Drugged Driving month, we’re bringing awareness to the impact that these dangerous behaviors can have on all of us. 

The statistics

Drunk and drugged driving is a large-scale problem for countries all over the world. MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, is an international organization that collects statistics from several countries in order to highlight the need for education against driving while impaired. They estimate that on average, Canada loses between 1200-1500 citizens to accidents caused by impaired driving each year, and the US loses a staggering 10,000. Worldwide, 1 in 4 people are affected by impaired driving accidents every year. This means that you most likely personally know someone who has been in an accident because someone decided to drive while impaired, or worse, experienced the loss of a family member in such an accident. Each of those lives lost represent an entire community that then grieves the loss of one of their own, all caused by a completely preventable action. 

Personal stories of loss

If you’ve never spoken to someone who has lost a loved one to an accident caused by impaired driving, you may not fully understand the impact that just one reckless choice can make in the lives of hundreds of people every day. MADD also assembles stories of victims and family members left behind when tragedy strikes, and one quote from their archives may give you pause the next time you’re faced with the choice to drive while under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

“Melissa has only one message for everyone: ‘Don’t drive under the influence of anything. We talk a lot about the dangers of drunk driving, but drugged driving is also a danger. Drugs didn’t kill Marky, but someone choosing to selfishly drive under the influence did.’ Melissa McNeill will always miss Marky on December 9.”

Read the full testimony, and similar stories online at the MADD Voices of Victims Archive