Ditch the keys, not your life

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Commentary by Signe Trewyn Assistant Opinion Editor

Friday, or any day of the week that ends in “weekend” can be a time for celebration and having fun. Most of the time this means with a few friends and of course, alcohol.

While this picture doesn’t sound all that problematic, it only takes one person who has consumed too much alcohol to make a night out turn into a tragedy.

Everyone knows that drunken driving has claimed many lives, and for many others, their driver’s license and their job. While there are ways to prevent drunk driving, there are still instances of people getting behind the wheel while under the influence.

There were 33,000 convictions of drunk driving in 2012, according to Wisconsindot.gov. These numbers should cause alarm because they mean that way too many people made the irresponsible decision to endanger themselves and others.

However, Budweiser and other beer companies created advertisements against drunk driving.

The advertisements give the audience an emotional appeal that prompts them to share it with friends, creating a positive anti-drunk driving trend.

Ignition interlock is also an option to prevent drunk driving, especially if it were mandatory in all vehicles purchased. The idea behind interlock is that it allows drivers to test their blood alcohol content while out of harm’s way. If a person’s blood alcohol is too high for operating a vehicle, they will not be able to start it.

It is important to remember that, if a drunk driving offense leads to a death or an injury, a mandatory jail sentence will follow.

It is also important to share these facts with people who can make ignition interlock a reality so that no more drunken driving tragedies occur on Wisconsin roads or any other roads across the United States.

All these facts are reason enough to step in and enforce drunk driving penalties whether you are a police officer, a motivational speaker or the assistant opinion editor. As a person with a driver’s license, you have the opportunity to say no to drunk driving by practicing responsibility and taking the keys away from those who consumed too much.

By doing this, you are being a role model for those who have yet to take the wheel. This way, we can all live with the vision of zero drunk drivers on Wisconsin roads and make it a reality. It all starts with a designated driver along with educating ourselves and others about the effects of alcohol while driving. Our younger generation deserves to be informed about alcohol so when they hit the legal drinking age.

The good news is that you don’t have to be in law enforcement to stop drunk driving, it can start now in your own community.