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“I’ve Only Had A Few”

Mariah De La Barra

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I get it, we live in a forgiving society. But how forgiving is too forgiving? In Wisconsin someone is able to have 5 OWI (operating while intoxicated) offenses before charged with a felony. An unforgivable number.

There’s a certain phrase in society that everyone is aware of. You often hear it when leaving a party, club, dance, or anywhere really. When someone is asked if they are okay to drive they say yes, and that they’ve “only had a few”.

Well it’s time to wake up. Only having “a few” is too many.

The question remains debated, is having a few really that bad?

Having two drinks puts you over the legal intoxication limit. One drink is often the limit for most people, yet it seems there is some confusion about what one drink really is. One drink is one can of beer, one shot, or about 5 ounces of wine. So if two shots puts you over a 0.08 alcohol level, how is just “having a few” okay?

In Wisconsin alone, 47% of alcohol related crashes are fatal, and up to 23% of the population are considered binge drinkers.  With nearly 50% of alcohol related crashes being fatal, one has to wonder why an OWI is not a felony until someone’s fifth offense.

On average, someone drinks and drives 80 times before getting caught. So by the fifth OWI, that person has driven under the influence nearly 400 times. Four hundred times!

Now when that drunk driver is you, or your brother, or your sister, it’s okay right? It was an accident and they didn’t mean to do it. At least that’s what everyone says right? Wrong.

Out of 400 drunk driving occurrences, how many times do you think that driver passes a son, a daughter, a mother? Out of 400, how many times do you think they pass your mother, brother, sister, daughter or son? And that’s just one person.  

Nearly 50% of alcohol related crashes are fatal. Half of the time someone is in an accident while intoxicated the crash will be fatal. If that drunk driver collides with your loved one, there is a 50/50 chance that they will die. Is just “having a few” okay then?

In the eyes of the law, an OWI is forgivable not once, not twice, not three times, but four… or until someone is buried. Despite the statistics, lawmakers do not show interest in tightening drinking and driving laws.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015, lawmakers want five-time offenders to lose their licenses for ten years. Current law requires only a two-year minimum. Previous attempts to change drinking and driving laws have failed.

Remember next time someone says “I’ve only had a few”, they’ve had a few too many.

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Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be Extraordinary
“I’ve Only Had A Few”