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Humanities Libertexts

5.7: A Student Example: “Preventing Drunk Driving by Enforcement” by Daniel Marvins

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    6641
  • The assignment that was the basis for this essay asked students to write a “first person narrative” about the research project they would be working on for the semester.  “It was really important to me think about a lot of different ideas and topics because I was worried that I might not be able to find enough research or stick with it,” Marvins said.  “This project helped me think this through.”


    Preventing Drunk Driving by Enforcement

        Despite the fact that Americans are more aware of the problems of drunk driving than we were in the past, it is still a serious problem in the U.S.  While educating everyone about the dangers of drunk driving is certainly important, I am interested in researching and writing about different ways to more strictly enforce drunk driving laws.

        My working thesis for my research project is “While stronger enforcement measures to control drunk driving might be controversial and a violation of individual rights, they have to be enacted to stop drunk driving deaths.”  By “stronger enforcement measures,” I mean things like police check points, lower legal levels of blood-alcohol, required breatholizer tests, less control on police searching cars, and stronger jail sentences.

        I got the idea to focus on this topic by working on some of the different brainstorming techniques we talked about in class.  I tried several different brainstorming techniques including freewriting and clustering.  For me, the most useful technique was making a list of ideas and then talking it over with the other students in my group.  

        We all agreed that drunk driving would be a good topic, but I thought about writing about other topics too.  For example, I think it would also be interesting to write about gun control laws, especially how they might effect deaths with kids and guns.  I also thought it might be interesting to do research on the tobacco business and the lawsuits different states are conducting against them.

        But I am more interested in exploring issues about drunk driving for a couple of different reasons.  First, I think drunk driving is an issue that a lot of people can relate to because most people know that it is dangerous and it is a bad idea.  For example, we hear and read messages about not driving drunk in a lot of different advertisements.  Still, even though everyone knows it is a bad idea, there are still a lot of deaths and injuries that result from drunk driving.

        Second, I’m interested in doing research on stronger enforcement of drunk driving laws because I am not sure I have made my own mind up about it.  Like everyone else, I of course think drunk driving is bad and police and society should do everything they can do to prevent people from driving drunk.  On the other hand, I also think it’s bad for police to pull over everyone they think might be drunk even when they don’t know for sure.  Strong enforcement might stop a lot of drunk driving, but it also gives police more chances to violate individual liberties and rights.

        I have done a little bit of research already and I don’t think I’m going to have any problem finding evidence to support my topic.  Drunk driving seems to be a pretty common topic with a lot of different things written about it.  I did a quick search of the library’s databases and the World Wide Web and I found thousands of different articles.  I skimmed the titles and it seemed like a lot of them would be very relevant and useful for my subject.

        Drunk driving is a serious problem and everyone agrees that we should do something about it.  The question is what should “it” be?  My hope is that through my research, I will learn more about how stronger enforcement of drunk driving laws can curtail drunk driving, and I hope to be able to convince my readers of this, too.

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