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Alcohol Abuse And Distracted Driving Discussion Essay

Alcohol Abuse And Distracted Driving Discussion Essay

200 words…

Find a PSA on drinking and diving, texting and driving, or some form of distracted driving

Is distracted driving something we should be concerned about?

Do you see distracted drivers on the road?

Come up with a short phrase or slogan about your topic to spread awareness.Alcohol Abuse And Distracted Driving Discussion Essay


Driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is one of the most dangerous things you can do. There is a mass of research evidence to show that driving performance and reaction times are seriously affected by alcohol. Our law in Georgia states, “that it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeds .10%. Georgia observes a “per se” law. (Craft)

If you drink and drive, you are not only a danger to yourself but also to your passenger, other road users and pedestrians. In fact, every 30 minutes, someone in this country dies in alcohol-related crash. Every 30 minutes! And last year alone more than one million people are injured in…show more content…
If you drink and drive you can lose your driver’s license and even go to jail.

Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teens and young adults. More than 5,000 young people die every year in car crashes and thousands more are injured. Drivers who are 16 years old are more than 20 times as likely to have a crash, as are other drivers. There are two main reasons why teens are at a higher for being in a car crash and lack of driving experience and their tendency to take risks while driving. Teens drive faster and do not control the car as well as more experienced drivers. Their judgment in traffic is often insufficient to avoid a crash. In addition, teens do most of their driving at night, which can be even more difficult. Standard driver’s education classes include 30 hours of classroom teaching and 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training. This is not enough time to fully train a new driver. Teen drivers are more like to be influence by peers and other stresses and distractions. This can lead to reckless driving behaviors such as speeding, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and not wearing safety belts. There is no safe amount that you can drink and still drive. Alcohol Abuse And Distracted Driving Discussion Essay

The alcohol environment today can be understood by examining drinking trends, social and cultural drinking norms, alcohol availability, promotion, pricing, regulation, and the policies and laws that shape these factors. The nature of this environment has important implications for drinking and driving behaviors (Bond et al., 2008; Huckle et al., 2006), as well as the relative success of interventions designed to reduce alcohol-impaired driving (Xuan et al., 2015a).

Drinking Behaviors and Trends
Alcohol consumption, while intertwined with many social and cultural norms in the United States, is not uniform across all populations (Babor, 2010a) and the overall prevalence of alcohol consumption varies. The 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that of people 18 years or older, 86.4 percent have drunk alcohol at some time in their lives, 70.1 percent drank in the past year, and 56.0 percent drank in the past month (SAMHSA, 2016). These data run counter to the misperception that drinking is more widespread than it actually is, particularly among college-aged students, for whom drinking prevalence is commonly overestimated (Baer et al., 1991; Martens et al., 2006; Perkins et al., 2005). Research suggests that for those who do consume alcohol, drinking varies with respect to frequency, quantity, the rate at which people drink, and preferred alcoholic beverage and/or combination. Alcohol Abuse And Distracted Driving Discussion Essay

Despite standard drink sizes for beer, wine, and distilled spirits (see Chapter 1 for more information on standard drinks), it is often difficult for individuals to determine the amount of alcohol they have consumed because of variations in alcohol content per drink. While very little research has been done on the mean, distribution, and sources of variation in the alcohol content of drinks, some information is available. In regards to beer, draught beers tend to have higher alcohol by volume (ABV) than a standard drink (Kerr et al., 2008). Newer craft beers, typically with 7 to 9 percent ABV (compared to 5 percent ABV for a standard 12-ounce drink of beer), have also entered the market in recent years. Drinkers and bartenders may not be aware of these differences or pay much attention to them when serving and consuming alcohol, leading to greater levels of intoxication than intended. This is true for wine and distilled spirits as well. A Northern California focus group found that an average glass of wine and an average mixed drink served at a bar had 43 and 42 percent, respectively, more alcohol than a standard drink (Kerr et al., 2008). Not only is there wide variability in the alcohol content of drinks served in bars and restaurants, but there is also significant variability in the drinks served in people’s homes (Kerr et al., 2005). A study conducted by Kerr and Stockwell (2012) found that drinkers have difficulty identifying and pouring standard drinks, with a propensity to overpour. As a result, it can be difficult to determine how much alcohol one has consumed based on the number of “drinks” they have had. Standard drink size also varies from country to country. The United Kingdom has a standard drink size of 8 grams of pure alcohol; in Australia a standard drink is 10 grams, in the United States it is 14 grams, and in Japan it is 19.75 grams (WHO, 2014). Alcohol Abuse And Distracted Driving Discussion Essay

Data from the 1975–2016 Monitoring the Future survey suggest that 32 percent of college students binge drink (Schulenberg et al., 2017).2 Similarly, a review of studies on drinking among college students found a consistent national rate of binge drinking of about 40 percent (Wechsler and Nelson, 2008). In college settings, rates of drinking are highest among first-year students, athletes, and members of fraternities and sororities (Wechsler and Nelson, 2008). Additionally, almost one-quarter of college students who self-identify as current drinkers consume alcohol with energy drinks, putting themselves at a higher risk of serious consequences, as caffeine affects a drinker’s ability to judge their level of impairment (O’Brien et al., 2008). Data from the 2005–2011 Monitoring the Future study also show that about one-fifth of high school seniors binge drink, and intensity of binge drinking is higher for students in rural areas (Patrick et al., 2013).

Recently published analyses from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol-Related Conditions (NESARC) found that alcohol consumption among U.S. adults rose substantially between 2001–2002 and 2012–2013, with annual use increasing by 11.2 percent (from 65.4 percent of the population 18 years or older in 2001–2002 to 72.7 percent in 2012–2013), and high-risk drinking increasing by 29.9 percent (from 9.7 in 2001–2002 to 12.6 percent in 2012–2013) (Grant et al., 2017).3 The NESARC study also found the largest increases in alcohol consumption, alcohol-impaired driving, and alcohol use disorder in women, older adults, individuals of racial or ethnic minority, and individuals with lower income and educational attainment (Grant et al., 2017).  Alcohol Abuse And Distracted Driving Discussion Essay

Social and cultural norms of alcohol use vary by gender and among ethnic groups in the United States (Galvan and Caetano, 2003). For example, men drink alcohol more often than women, including heavier drinking, and are more likely to experience drinking-related consequences (Rahav et al., 2006; Wilsnack et al., 2000, 2009). Furthermore, drinking alcohol has been linked with perceptions of masculinity (De Visser and Smith, 2007) and is strongly associated with the social aspect of sports and sporting events (Collins and Vamplew, 2011). In recent years, however, differences in patterns of drinking by gender have narrowed, particularly among adolescents and young adults (Jang et al., 2017). For example, research suggests an increase in binge drinking among younger and older women (Breslow et al., 2017; Dwyer-Lindgren et al., 2015). Drinking patterns across racial and ethnic groups are complex. In general, alcohol consumption is most common among non-Hispanic whites and people who report two or more races, and lowest among Asians (SAMHSA, 2014). Recent data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth reveal racial and ethnic differences in “aging out” of heavy drinking behaviors. African American and Hispanic men and women exhibited slower declines in heavy drinking frequency during their 20s than white men and women (Mulia et al., 2017). While life course trajectories of heavy drinking may show one pattern, age- and sex-adjusted estimates from the 2016 National Health Interview Survey demonstrate another. These findings showed that non-Hispanic white adults (31.2 percent) were more likely to have at least one heavy drinking day in the past year when compared to Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black adults (22.1 and 15.4 percent, respectively) (Clarke et al., 2017).

Beyond the physiological effects of alcohol, an individual’s perceptions of his or her level of impairment can also affect his or her behavior. Alcohol metabolism facilitates the perception of impairment, and an individual is made aware of the effects of alcohol by biological cues or changes in his or her behavior (Laude and Fillmore, 2016). In studying the subjective view of impairment, researchers have found that the number of beverages a person thinks they can consume in 2 hours before their driving becomes impaired is 30 percent higher for African Americans and 26 percent higher for Hispanics compared to whites, indicating cultural disparities in drink preference (and therefore alcohol content) or subjective conception of impairment (Kerr and Greenfield, 2015; Kerr et al., 2006). Alcohol Abuse And Distracted Driving Discussion Essay

Generally, people are often not aware of how impaired they are because they misjudge the rates of alcohol absorption and elimination, or because they may not understand the relationship between the quantity of alcohol consumed and the resulting blood alcohol concentration (BAC) (Aston and Liguori, 2013).5 This could lead drinkers to think they are recovering from alcohol more quickly than they actually are. Drivers who underestimate their BAC are more willing to drive while above the limit set by state law compared to drivers who more correctly assess their BAC, and drivers who incorrectly estimate low BAC levels exhibit riskier driving (Laude and Fillmore, 2016). Furthermore, some impaired drivers exhibit riskier behaviors even while their psychomotor skills are not demonstrably compromised. Conversely, other drivers’ risky behavior may not change but their psychomotor skills could be significantly impaired (Laude and Fillmore, 2016). A 2013 review noted nonalcoholic social drinkers were more capable than alcoholic drinkers at assessing changes in their BAC levels;6 this population was also able to learn to estimate their BAC levels more accurately after training, while training was less effective in alcoholic drinkers (Aston and Liguori, 2013). Finally, stimulant drugs such as energy drinks and 3,4-Methylenedioxymetham-phetamine (MDMA or Ecstasy) may reduce subjective views of intoxication and lead drinkers to think they are not impaired, but the effects of those drugs are not sufficient to overcome objectively measured alcohol impairment (Martin et al., 2013). Alcohol Abuse And Distracted Driving Discussion Essay

General Regulatory Framework for Alcohol
Historically, beer was the beverage of choice of the drinking driver (Berger and Snortum, 1985); more recent data are not available about which kinds of alcohol are most common among alcohol-impaired drivers today, but beer continues to claim the most consumer dollars of the three main types of alcohol beverages (beer, wine, and distilled spirits) (Impact Databank, 2017a,b). The Gallup poll also reports that beer is the most commonly consumed of the three beverage types (Beer Marketer’s Insights, 2017). In the United States, 82 percent of the volume of beer sales are made for off-premise consumption (e.g., supermarkets, convenience stores, and stores selling distilled spirits),7 while 53.7 percent of the dollar value of sales occur in on-premise establishments (e.g., bars and restaurants) (Beer Marketer’s Insights, 2017). Prices of alcoholic beverages sold for off-premises consumption have become significantly more affordable from 1950 to 2011. One drink per day of the cheapest brand of spirits required 0.29 percent of U.S. mean per capita disposable income in 2011 versus 1.02 percent in 1980 and 4.46 percent in 1950 (Kerr et al., 2013a). This increase in affordability over this time period is reflected in beer and wine prices as well (Kerr et al., 2013a) (see Chapter 3 for more information on alcohol pricing and taxation). Alcohol Abuse And Distracted Driving Discussion Essay


Because of commercial speech protection afforded by judicial interpretations of the First Amendment, alcohol advertising is primarily self-regulated by the alcohol industry. One provision specifies that advertisements should not be directed at audiences in which 28.4 percent or more of the audience is under 21 years of age (FTC, 2013). Although the Federal Trade Commission has published occasional reports monitoring the effectiveness of the industry’s self-regulatory codes and has generally been approving of them (FTC, 2013), independent researchers have found that violations of these codes in the media are frequent and that exposure of alcohol marketing to youth and other vulnerable populations is especially pervasive and often disproportionately large compared to adult populations (King et al., 2017).

Alcohol Industry
A crucial force in shaping the environments in which people make their decisions about drinking, which in turn affect their likelihood of drinking and driving, is the alcohol industry itself. By dint of its size and structure, it is a formidable political force. Its practices and innovations in product development, pricing, promotion, and making its products physically available essentially structure the context of drinking for Americans. Alcohol Abuse And Distracted Driving Discussion Essay

The U.S. alcohol industry is dominated by a small number of companies. Beer is the most concentrated segment in terms of ownership: As of 2016, two companies, Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors, account for 67.3 percent of the market in terms of volume, while the top five companies sell 79.8 percent of beer (Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, 2017). For both distilled spirits and wine, the top five producers account for more than half the volume of sales (Impact Databank, 2017a,b). While craft brewing and distilling have been increasingly visible, and the number of craft brewers and distillers has grown substantially in recent years, the largest “craft” segment, brewing, still only comprises a small percentage of the total beer market—less than 12 percent as of 2016. The craft brewing market itself is becoming more concentrated—the top ten craft brewers sold nearly 60 percent of craft beers in 2016, as opposed to 53 percent in 2011. Furthermore, craft beer brands that have been acquired by the largest beer companies are showing the strongest growth trends (Beer Marketer’s Insights, 2017).

The oligopolistic structure of the alcohol industry creates the conditions for oligopolic profit-taking and the creation of high barriers to entry in the form of heavy spending on marketing. In 2016 alcohol producers spent approximately $2.2 billion on measured marketing (television, magazines, outdoor, radio, Internet, and newspapers). Unmeasured marketing activities include sports and other sponsorships, special events, discounting, and corporate “stakeholder” marketing. The latter category includes lobbying: in 2015 alcohol companies spent $13.2 million on lobbying in state legislatures (, n.d.); in 2016 they donated almost $27 million to members of Congress and reported 295 lobbyists working for them at the federal level (, n.d.). Alcohol Abuse And Distracted Driving Discussion Essay

Stakeholder marketing also encompasses corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities such as efforts to prevent alcohol-impaired driving. However, global analyses of alcohol industry CSR activities have consistently found that the alcohol industry pursues and supports the least effective strategies and actively opposes the most effective (Babor et al., 2015, 2018; Esser et al., 2016; Pantani et al., 2017). Esser et al. (2016) performed a content analysis of 266 randomly sampled alcohol industry initiatives to decrease alcohol-impaired driving and found that insufficient evidence or no scientific evidence exists for 56.0 percent of these initiatives. Furthermore, two-thirds of the initiatives were rated as potentially harmful based on conflict with public health evidence (e.g., promoting the use of designated drivers, for which evidence of effectiveness is insufficient and suggests negative unintended consequences—see Chapter 4 and Finding 4-1 for more information), and 87.6 percent were found to be potential brand or company marketing activities (Esser et al., 2016). See Appendix C for more information on the alcohol industry’s role in promoting alcohol-impaired driving interventions. Alcohol Abuse And Distracted Driving Discussion Essay

It is also important to recognize that there may be a basic conflict of interest for the alcohol industry between the need to maintain profitability and growth and efforts to reduce the prevalence of underage drinking and intoxication, both of which can lead to alcohol-impaired driving. Researchers estimated that in 2001 (the most recent year for which these estimates are available), underage and pathological drinking accounted for between 37.5 and 48.8 percent of consumer expenditures on alcohol (Foster et al., 2006). Thus, were the population to drink in a fully legal and nonpathological fashion, the industry could lose nearly half of its revenues, and the government would lose a large amount of its tax revenues as well.

Alcohol industry activities in product development, pricing, promotions and sponsorships, and physical availability of alcoholic beverages are briefly described below. Alcohol Abuse And Distracted Driving Discussion Essay

Product Development
Recent trends in alcoholic beverage development have presented particular risks for alcohol-impaired driving. Alcohol content in almost all types of alcoholic beverages has been steadily increasing, especially with the growing popularity of craft beverages (Kerr et al., 2013b; Mintel, 2015). In addition, the practice of mixing alcohol and caffeine, while effectively banned at the point of production at least for malt beverages (Babor et al., 2017), continues to be common, particularly among young binge drinkers (CDC, 2017a). Systematic reviews have found that young drinkers who consume mixtures of alcohol and energy drinks are at higher risk for binge drinking and driving, riding as a passenger in a vehicle with an intoxicated driver, and being arrested for driving while impaired (Babor et al., 2018; McKetin et al., 2015; Striley and Khan, 2014). Findings from a review of randomized controlled studies suggest that although energy drink consumption may deter small declines in cognitive function that result from alcohol consumption, such counteracting effects are not observed when driving (Babor et al., 2018; Lalanne et al., 2017). In addition, evidence suggests that consumption of drinks combining alcohol and energy drinks hinders a person’s ability to estimate their level of impairment (Forward et al., 2017).

In 2015 Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) launched its Global Smart Drinking Goals, which include reducing harmful drinking by at least 10 percent in six pilot cities by 2020; implementing the best practices from pilot cities globally by 2025; influencing social norms and behaviors to reduce harmful drinking by investing in social marketing campaigns and programs by 2025; ensuring that no- or lower-alcohol beer products comprise at least 20 percent of all beer volume produced by the company; placing a guidance label on all beer products by 2020; and increasing alcohol health literacy by 2025 (AB InBev, n.d.). It is important to note that the AB InBev smart drinking goals have not yet been evaluated. Rehm et al. (2016) attempted to assess the potential effects of reducing alcoholic strength of available products on reducing harmful drinking. While the study authors cite one mechanism that may potentially reduce harmful drinking, they note there is not yet evidence to substantiate this. The smart drinking goals require rigorous evaluation and investigation into their potential for positive or negative impacts (Anderson and Rehm, 2016). Alcohol Abuse And Distracted Driving Discussion Essay

Alcohol purchased at off-premises establishments is more affordable now than it has been in 60 years (Kerr et al., 2013a). Significant decreases in alcohol prices have resulted in large part from decreases in federal and state tax rates, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s (see Chapter 3 for more information on alcohol pricing and taxation) (Kerr et al., 2013a). More recently, product developments from the alcohol industry have led to lower priced options for consumers. Alcoholic energy drinks and premixed, ready-to-drink products, often with high alcohol and sugar contents, have been developed with younger and more cost-conscious populations (e.g., college students) in mind (Babor et al., 2018). Alcohol Abuse And Distracted Driving Discussion Essay

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