I have posted the question in the files and I have posted one example too.
A Drink is Not Worth a Life
My favorite uncle, Dan, was a wonderful, caring, fun person. He was the youngest of six
kids, and my mother’s closest brother. Dan was not only kind, but he could make anyone laugh.
He was always telling jokes and brightening our family get-togethers. Dan would play pranks
and tease people all the time. I always thought of him like a big, warm teddy bear. Others saw
Dan the same way; he was so lovable and giving. Dan was the beloved manager of Hirshfields,
an active member of his parish, and volunteered for Habitat for Humanity. He would take me and
my little brother on adventures around town, to the park or to buy new video games that we
would all play together.
On December 21st, 2006, I remember my mom waking up in the middle of the night in a
panic. She was frantic, screaming for my brother and I to wake up because our uncle Dan had
been in a car accident. We all flocked to my grandparents’ house because they had gotten the
call. I remember my aunt, uncle, and cousins coming. Dan had taken a trip with two of his
coworkers to the casino in Mille Lacs. On the way home, late at night, on roads as slippery as
icicles, Dan saw a truck spinning toward him. He could only make out the truck’s headlights
spinning every now and then like a strobe light. Dan pulled far to the right side of the road to
avoid the truck, but it smashed into the driver’s side door. Dan was pinned in the car, trapped.
His two coworkers, thank God, were okay. They called us and let us know the situation. About
an hour after the crash, my other uncle, who lived in the cities, called my grandparents’ house to
give us the news. He dropped a missile into our family when he told us that Dan had passed
away in a small hospital near Mille Lacs.
Hearing the news that my favorite uncle had passed away hit me so hard; it was one of
the most influential moments of my life. I remember everyone reacting differently to his death.
My brother, Grant, stared crying uncontrollably. Dan was his godfather, and this was the night
before Grant’s birthday. My young cousins didn’t understand, but everyone else was falling into
grief. I felt stapled to the ground, paralyzed numb. I couldn’t eat, sleep, or think. I remember my
Grandma breaking down and acting hysterical, and I remember my grandpa calling people and
saying, “My son died tonight” over and over again. We tried to get him to stop because it was
past midnight, but that was how he dealt with the grief.
Of course, others are affected by drunk driving as well. According to Mothers Against
Drunk Driving, one person “every 50 minutes” will die due to drunk driving accidents. Also, one
person every minute “is injured from an alcohol-related crash” (“Drinking and Driving Stats”).
According to MADD, an “average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before his or
her first arrest,” and “one out of three” car crashes with teenagers involve alcohol (Chapman 1).
Also, “one in three people will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lifetime”
(“Drinking and Driving Stats”). According to an article in World of Criminal Justice published in
2002, “drunk drivers kill an estimated 25,000 people every year” (“Drinking and Driving”).
Also, the higher drivers’ blood alcohol level, the higher their risk of “serious injuring or death
while operating a motor vehicle” (“Drinking and Driving”). One study found that while most
people do not agree with drunk driving, they change their minds after drinking: “After
participants had been drinking and were coming down from their peak blood alcohol levels, they
felt it was safer to drive than they did when they were sober” (Join Together Staff 1).
I’m not saying people shouldn’t drink, but when you’re old enough to drink, be
responsible. Don’t allow others to drive drunk; take their keys away or offer to be the sober cab.
It’s simple: don’t put yourself in a dire situation. If not for yourself, think of the other drivers on
the road. Think of the immense guilt you would feel if you hit and killed someone because you
A drink is not worth a life. Nothing can replace Dan’s life. If people would make smarter
choices and follow the laws, Dan would still be here today. When I think of my uncle, I
remember him positively—for his smile, humor, and caring attitude. But I also think that his
death was completely unnecessary. If you value your life and others, you won’t drink and drive.
Many injuries and deaths can be prevented if we work to make smarter choices. Mothers
Against Drunk Driving state that “far too many preventable deaths and injuries occur each year
as a result of drinking and driving, and it remains a serious cause for national concern”
(“Drinking and Driving Stats”). A drink is not worth a life. A drink was not worth my uncle’s
life. A drink is not worth your life. A drink is not worth anyone’s life.
Chapman, Roger. “Mothers Against Drunk Driving.” Culture Wars: An Encyclopedia of Issues,
Viewpoints, and Voices. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe, 2010. Credo Reference. Web. 5 February
“Drinking and Driving.” World of Criminal Justice, Gale. Farmington: Gale, 2002. Credo
Reference. Web. 5
“Drinking and Driving Stats.” Caron Pennsylvania. 2013. Caron Treatment Centers. Web. 15
Join Together. “Views of Drunk Driving May Change Once a Person Becomes Intoxicated:
Study.” The Partnership at Drugfree.org. Newsroom. 13 September 2013. Web. 15
Now, every year around Christmas, we have Dan’s memory to comfort us. Sadly,
we shouldn’t have just a memory, but his real physical presence. Christmastime is usually a
struggle for my family, and when I see my grandparents’ emotional strain over losing their baby,
their youngest child, my heart aches. We all loved him so much, and we miss him beyond words.
Dan didn’t have to die. We found out afterward that the driver who hit Dan was drunk. This
drunk driver died on the scene, but that was no comfort. One wrong choice by a reckless driver
cost my uncle his life.
As the statistics prove, drunk driving is a serious problem. I am proud to say I never drank
underage. Although I am 21 now, I don’t drink much at all. I’m always smart and responsible
when I go out with friends. From losing my uncle Dan, I learned the cruel realities of drunk
driving. A drink is not worth a life.