OPINION: Drinking and driving affects more than just drivers

Remembering life-long impact driving intoxicated can have on children important; irresponsible choice breaks parent-child trust

ALEXANDRIA OSBORNE, Evergreen reporter

The act of drinking and driving is harmful enough for those involved, but for individuals with children, drunk driving can have more of an effect on the child than the driver.

Children look up to their parents as role models, so when parents get behind the wheel when they’re intoxicated and cause an accident, it not only sets a poor example but can impair parent-child relationships.

Freshman biology major Annistazia Kramer and sophomore math major Jada Allan both said they believe they would have a better relationship with their parents if they never drove under the influence. 

Kramer said she witnessed multiple accidents when she was in the car with her dad, who would often drink and drive.

She said she once had a close relationship with her father, but his drinking and driving led to them developing a poor relationship later on. Kramer has other personal issues stemming from her father’s habit that she still deals with now.

Kramer said she and her siblings never had the support they needed from their father, and he was unavailable in other situations they needed him in, as well.

“I feel like he would have been more attentive of a parent and more understanding of what me and my siblings needed when it came to support, especially emotional support,” she said.

Going through a traumatic experience, like being in an accident caused by drinking and driving, can possibly result in PTSD, according to a Northpoint Washington article

Being in an accident that involves drinking can have emotional effects as well; those affected tend to go through the seven stages of grief and exhibit very strong emotions.

The article states that being in an accident not only impacts the people involved, but it affects family members as well.

Even if a child is not present during an accident, just having a parent who drinks and drives can have a negative toll on them.

Allan said her mom was convicted of three DUIs in just two months when she was 14. She said she got locked out of her house when her mom was arrested and had to stay at a friend’s house. 

Being that young and stuck in that situation can have very negative effects on a child, ultimately leading to other issues as well. 

“I probably wouldn’t have had as bad of anxiety because I was constantly freaking out all the time when I was in high school,” Allan said.

Other aspects of Allan’s life were touched by her mother’s habit of drunk driving, like when she was learning how to drive. While others learned in family minivans or old trucks, she learned to drive in a vehicle with a car breathalyzer built-in. 

Allan said she would not have had such a negative outlook on drinking if her mom had never gotten DUIs. 

“For a long time, I was worried that if I were to ever drink that I would become like my mom and that has always terrified me,” she said. 

Parents have massive impacts on how their children grow up and seeing a parent drink and drive can influence a child to do the same. 

Of course, drinking and driving should never be an option for someone, but people need to be extra attentive if they have children because whatever happens can have a larger impact on a child.