Your spouse has to work late on a Friday night. You stay home watching Netflix, enjoying a quiet evening. Your spouse wants to earn a big promotion at work, so you expected some late nights trying to get ahead.

A phone call shatters your sense of peace at 9:30 p.m. Your spouse got hit at an intersection by a drunk driver who ran a stoplight. He or she is in the hospital, in serious condition. The doctors do think your spouse will live, but you need to get to the hospital right away.

Your family is looking at weeks of hospital care and months of rehab. You’re going to lose a ton in wages because your spouse gets paid by the hour. The bills are already skyrocketing by the time you get to the hospital, and it’s only the beginning.

What you keep asking yourself as you look into your potential options for financial compensation and try to figure out how you’ll make ends meet is why someone would do this. The person who hit your spouse had a prior DUI and drove on a suspended license. Knowing the risks, why do people keep drinking and driving?

  1. Alcohol impairs judgment. Essentially, a sober person may know drinking and driving is always a bad idea. After a few drinks, though, the person gets a false sense of courage and believes he or she can drive while intoxicated, especially for a short distance.
  2. Drunk drivers are often young. Some studies have noted that a lot of drunk drivers fall between the ages of 18 and 25. That could cater to poor decision-making. Other studies found that brain development, even without alcohol, is not complete until a person reaches the early 30s. Some have said that “adolescence now effectively runs up until the age of 25.”
  3. Young people want to fit in. This causes huge problems with underage drinking. Teenagers enjoy trying to act as sober as possible while drinking as much as possible. This could lead a teen to drive while drunk simply because he or she desperately wants to avoid ridicule from friends.
  4. People play drinking games. At parties, drinking competitions are common. This can lead to a higher level of drunkenness than would occur for people drinking more responsibly in a low-key atmosphere. Since a party naturally means many people have to leave and go home when it ends, the odds are high that some will try to drive home.
  5. People feel that drunk driving is adventurous. They deliberately drink in the car and see it as “brave,” a way to have fun and test their luck.

As long as people’s attitudes about drunk driving remain unchanged, it will continue to be a serious problem on Georgia’s highways.