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FINALIST ESSAY: Johnson Attorneys Group Never Drink and Drive Scholarship by Mitchell Mussehl (Spring 2020)

Mitchell MussehlNever Drink and Drive Essay

By Mitchell Mussehl

This is an all too common occurrence. A group of friends head out for a night on the town. Everyone is having an amazing time. Everyone is drinking and is getting more drunk by the minute. It is time to head home. They need to decide who is going to drive them all home. So, they decide to have the person who has had the least amount to drink do the driving. How do they know they are not impaired by alcohol? The fact is, they don’t! This is totally unacceptable. Any amount of alcohol can impair a persons’ judgement and reflexes. This is putting them at risk for an accident that might not only
harm themselves, but someone else.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 people are killed in an auto accident every day in the United States from a driver that is
alcohol-impaired. I have a brother who was in a situation that could have been prevented. My brother had a designated driver the night of his birthday celebration.

However, once the designated driver started drinking, my brother thought he would be safe to drive himself. It started to snow and he lost control of his vehicle and it went into the ditch. Now, my brother has to have a device installed in his vehicle called an interlock ignition device. He is required to blow into this device every time he plans on starting his vehicle to drive. The device registers if there is any alcohol in his system and if there is, the vehicle fails to start.

Alcohol messes with your ability to make good decisions and people usually think they are in better shape to drive than they really are. What I would like to do to make our roads safer is to ensure vehicles come equipped with an interlock ignition device. This would make the decision not to drive for the person since their judgement is impaired. I
believe another way to prevent damage caused by drunk drivers is to develop a saliva detection system that would not allow vehicles to start if a driver is impaired. Legally, my
brother is only required by law to have this installed in his vehicle for a period of one year. However, quite honestly, I wish it would be required forever.

I love my brother very much and would never want to see him in this situation ever again. We should all care about drinking and driving because in one way or
another, we are all affected by it. This may be as a relative such as a sibling in my case.

Or, it may be a parent, child or best friend. I believe a mandatory installation of these devices would put an end to drinking and driving and help protect everyone we care
about. No accidents or deaths should ever have to be caused by drinking and driving when there is an easily preventable solution.

Mitchell Mussehl is studying Biological and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. 

Pat Rillera, Regional Executive Director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Southern California, will be selecting our winner later this week.

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