Drunk driving is a serious problem in this country, and today we want to talk about it a little bit more on a basic level. Let’s discuss two distinct things: what alcohol does to you and why these accidents are so dangerous and problematic.

First, what does alcohol do to you? There are many risks associated with drinking alcohol, but on a fundamental level, alcohol slows your cognitive abilities, impairing your thinking and reducing your muscle coordination. As your blood alcohol concentration increases, you will become more and more likely to be involved in an accident. Your judgement will get worse, your ability to react to changes in traffic will get worse, and your reasoning will become impaired.

This is why you should never get behind the wheel of a vehicle when you have consumed alcohol. Your ability to drive is severely hampered, and you put other people’s lives at risk — as well as your own.

The other point we want to talk about is the sheer number of fatalities that occur because of drunk driving. In 2016, there were 10,497 fatalities related to alcohol-impaired driving. That’s about 29 people per day, or one every 50 minutes. According to 2010 data (the last time the following statistic was available), drunk driving accidents caused $44 billion in deaths and damages.

These accidents are horrible, and they happen all the time. Hopefully there is a future out there where drunk driving no longer happens — but until then, victims of these wrecks must hold these negligent drivers responsible.