Every day, 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver.
Jacqueline Saburido and Reggie Stephey
Meet Reggie Stephey, an 18-year old convicted of two counts of intoxication manslaughter and sentenced to seven years in prison in 1999. Reggie was driving his vehicle after a night out drinking in Austin, Texas and started to drift into oncoming traffic. Jacqueline Saburido, a 20-year old, did not know her life was changing the day she was heading home from a birthday party with four of her friends. That was when Reggie struck their car head-on. Jacqueline friends, Natalia Bennett and Laura Guerero, were killed instantly in this crash.
The night of the crash- Reggies Truck and Jacqueline’s ride.
The car burst in flames, screaming from the pain until she lost consciousness, Jacqueline was stuck in the passenger seat burning before paramedics extinguished the fire. She had a third-degree burn on over 60 percent of her body. She underwent emergency surgeries right away, her eyes sewn shut so they could not dry out. Her lips, ears, and nose fell off one by one. She lost most of her vision and underwent more than 50 operations and had many more to go. Jacqueline was very fortunate to have her life still. Even though drunk driving destroyed her life, she publicly forgave Reggie. Jacqueline allowed photos of herself in media campaigns against drunk driving like the ones attached. One thing that both Jacqueline and Reggie agreed on after the trials are their pleas to anyone who has been drinking to leave the driving to someone sober, no matter what.
How could someone keep living knowing they hurt or killed someone because of their actions?
As explained regarding Reggie and Jacqueline’s story, Reggie never forgave himself but intended to keep the story alive and use this as an example for the rest of the world.
One Drink is all it takes
Drunk driving is a problem that continues to take thousands of lives each year. Being under the influence and choosing to drive does not only affect the driver, but it affects everyone around them. One drink, one night, and one mistake are all it takes. Many solutions are in place for driving drunk, but they will only work if they let them.
According to the Centers for Diseases, 2.1% of Florida drivers report driving after drinking too much.
In Florida sobriety checkpoints are allowed. Sobriety checkpoints increase the chance of finding someone impaired before they hurt someone. An arrest is made when this happens, which causes more people to be cautious on the road.
Another way to prevent drunk driving is to have a designated driver to drive them home. A designated driver will prevent an accident waiting to happen and potentially will save their lives. Often, drunk driving victims are not always the ones who have been driving. They usually are driving home from work and get hit by someone who has been drinking.
Drinking under the influence is not taken lightly in any situations. Too many deaths and injuries have been happening over the past years. The next drunken accident could be friends or family. Educating someone on drunk driving does not keep them off the roads, but campaigns can reduce the number significantly of drunk drivers on the road.
Drive sober; it is the law. It is your choice.