The Law Offices Of Sean M. Cleary 2019 Scholarship
Our 2018 Scholarship Winner - George E., University of Southern California (USC) - Read Essay »
Why You Shouldn't Drink and Drive
Every year, teens and young adults die behind the wheel. Because it's cool to drink and party. If not now, when? You're having a good time, making new friends so easily, you're bold and have no worries. The party doesn't stop when you choose to leave and go home, the party doesn't stop when the music does. It doesn't stop when you can't see clearly and choose to ignore the red lights. It doesn't even stop when, eventually, you die. When you crash your parents' car, when you didn't see the child crossing the street, when your parents get that call. When you just ruined not only your future but your own family. Those nice people across the street you used to wave at? Their child, victim of your own alcohol abuse.
A married couple saving money for your education, hoping that you're gonna get that amazing job and someday, marry a good person and settle. You see, when you make a bad choice and when you get behind the wheel instead of calling a cab, you're just making sure that this macabre party will never come to an end. Colleagues and neighbors will eventually forget about it. But those who loved you will forever walk this strange and miserable parade you threw for them. Choose life. Maybe you won't have as many crazy memories, but at least you get to live and make better ones.
George E., University of Southern California (USC)
Our 2017 Scholarship Winner - Jamie P., University of Miami - Read Essay »
Sean Cleary Essay Why You Shouldn't Drink and Drive
Driving after drinking is not only illegal but also dangerous and irresponsible. Most people think that if they sip their favorite liquor or drink only a couple of glasses, they are not completely wasted and that makes it okay to drive, but they don't realize the dreadful consequences that drunk driving may have over their lives and the lives of others.
Even if they are consumed in small quantities, alcoholic beverages have many negative effects on the human body. Drinking may make you dizzy and nauseous, affecting your capacity to concentrate and quickly react to sensors. This could make driving and avoiding obstacles on the road a little harder than usual and could significantly increase the risks of having an accident.
From my experience, most of the drinking and driving cases occur in teenagers and young people. When I was in the senior year in high-school, I lost one of my literature class colleagues because of drunk driving. She was a quiet girl that I didn't know too well. Our class counselor told us that she and her cousin were killed by a drunk driver as they were crossing the street to get to a rock concert in New York during spring break.
Accidents caused by drunk driving may have a serious impact on the drunk person behind the wheel, but they can also affect other, innocent people that happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. These people can lose their health, properties, body parts and even their lives as a result of someone's ''good time'' drinking and irresponsible driving. Both drinking and driving are a matter of decision, so drink and drive responsively. Respect the life and health of yourself and others. Don't drink excessively and don't drive when you're drunk!
Jamie P., University of Miami
We are also considering these applicants automatically in our 2019 scholarship due to their unique ideas in their essays »
The Other Side of Drunk Driving 17 days of my life was spent praying my father would wake up. Four years of my life was spent visiting him in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and nursing homes. Ten years spent rebuilding a man I realized I never truly knew. My world stopped when my father got in his accident. In my young mind I could not justify what had happened. I could not begin to understand the gravity of the accident let alone try to understand why it all happened. But this accident was not random, it was bound to have happened at some point. Having been naive to the fact that my father was an alcoholic and a drug addict I no longer had a perfect image of who my father was. I was scared of him. I was scared of the man I thought could protect me from anything. The image of my father lying in the ICU still haunts me. He looked so pitiful, so weak. The man I held on such a high pedestal now seemed undeniably pathetic. I saw him for the first time and did not recognize the person in front of me. I saw a man with demons that after hiding for so long took control. My father is brain damaged, handicapped, and defeated. Crippled by the pain of his loss and knowing everything that could have been. I watched the man I knew all my life slowly transform into a mere shell of his former self. My world became malleable and my reality was distorted. When my father decided to drink and drive apart of all of us was stolen. I lost a father, my grandmother lost her son. We were left with nothing but memories and a man I now felt I hardly knew.
Growing up my friends and brother would say I was too open with my parents, that I should bend the rules every once in a while, that I don't always have to do the right thing, etc. I am a caretaker by nature but also stand up for what I believe in no matter if that makes me unpopular or disliked. Ten years ago, I was put in a very difficult situation. My roommate drove home from work drunk, this was a one of the many times she drove home this way. Finally, I confronted her in a firm but loving way and told her the steps I was going to take if she continued to do this. I told her that I cared for her and that I am fearful that another innocent bystander would be harmed by her choices to drink and drive. I explained that if she continued to drink and drive, I will call her license plate into the police as a drunk driver. As you can imagine, this was not received well. I was called every name in the book, was told I was not a good friend, she told our other friends who thought I was overreacting and she moved out. Although, I wouldn't budge with what I knew was right. Months later, she was arrested for hitting a pedestrian in Key West, she went to jail for a DUI and called me to bail her out. I did not. This, I believe was her "˜rock bottom' as they say in recovery. This was a difficult time for her and our friendship suffered. Today, she has thanked me for drawing that line in the sand but at the same time supporting her sobriety and getting help for herself. She has now been sober for many years and we are still good friends through it all. I know a lot of people are not as lucky to go through their "rock bottom" and come out without hurting themselves or someone else. At the time it was difficult to stand up to her and set boundaries but looking back I am so thankful I did. I hope my story can help others set boundaries with people who drink and drive, even if it means you won't be liked. It saves lives!
Their names are Stormie Harrell (7) and Michaela Dowdy (17). Resulting from one driver's selfish decision to drive while intoxicated, an amazing family lost 2 beautiful daughters, and a community is left reeling with broken hearts, including my own daughter"¦a schoolmate of Stormie's. Stormie will never complete 1st grade, and promote to 2nd grade with her classmates. She will never be able to enjoy summer vacation at the beach. A young, innocent life"¦STOLEN! Three weeks before her own high school graduation, Stormie's big sister, Michaela, had her life cut short in the same horrific tragedy. Michaela will never be able to walk across the stage, to accept her high school diploma. She'll never reach the age of becoming a legal adult"¦a milestone that so many 17-year-olds look forward to. She'll never get the chance to enjoy college life. Stormie & Michaela's lives were tragically robbed from their family and friends. Their mother, and a family friend, also left severely injured in the head-on collision, will forever have the emotional and physical scars from losing 2 amazing daughters. Stormie and Michaela's father will never have the honor of walking his daughters down the aisle, on their wedding day. Their mother and father will never experience the joy of her 2 daughters promoting them to "Nana and Papa". This situation has deeply affected me. The grief and anger this driver has created for this family is simply unimaginable! As a mother, it is my duty to ensure the safety of others, by regularly educating my children and their friends of the dangers and consequences when driving while under the influence. Before one takes their first drink, think! It only takes ONE wrong decision to kill, or permanently ruin the lives of other innocent citizens.
I will never forget the face of the man that almost took my half-brother's life. My half-brother, whom I've always considered to be my father figure, is a Florida State Trooper. One early morning, as the sun was starting to rise, his sergeant knocked on our door. My mother and I rushed to the ER, and for the next three days we cared for him and his severe concussion personally. To this day, he has almost no sense of smell or taste, cannot regulate his own body temperature effectively, and has experienced a shift in his personality due to the neurological trauma. Driving while impaired, in any form or any mode of transportation, is beyond just reckless and nonsensical. It is not just dangerous to the driver; its danger extends to everyone around them and to the people those individuals know and love. No one is above the effects of a DUI, including the bartender who let a drunk man leave without calling a taxi or the friend who is too nervous to stand up and speak. This lack of exclusion is why everyone is responsible for preventing a driver from driving under the influence, regardless of the influence type and potency.
An empty chair at the kitchen table. Missed events, memories, and people. Distracted driving takes the lives of thousands annually. What distraction takes the most lives each year? Drinking. Each year, thousands of people lose their lives to drunk drivers alone. Drinking and driving reduces your ability to drive safely, has major legal consequences, and causes emotional detachment from friends and family. When alcohol enters the bloodstream, it works to slow down your muscle coordination, reflexes, and movement. These effects make it difficult to drive because you are more likely to make poor decisions, get distracted, and have a slower reaction time. If pulled over while drunk driving, you may be asked to perform a series of sobriety testing, usually including a blood alcohol content test. While most states set the legal limit for BAC at .10%, many states are adopting a lower BAC of .08%. Every state takes serious action with those who have driven while intoxicated, DWI, and driven under the influence, DUI. Even more than your personal safety and the fear of imprisonment, the biggest reason to why you shouldn't text and drive is to avoid harming others. Last fall when my brother got in an accident because he was drinking and driving, the thing that most upset him was how his actions affected everyone else. While the other driver he hit survived, he had to get two knee replacements, his wife received a frantic phone call at 2am, and my parents had to drive my brother to work every morning for two years because my brother decided to drink and drive. Drinking and driving affects everyone involved in the accident, all of their family, and everyone they care about. For every moment we spend with our loved ones to be worry-free, every drive must be alcohol-free.
When I was a senior in high school, there was a day where all seniors were required to go to an assembly. Teachers pushed back exams and important lessons for this assembly and students that did not attend the assembly were given 3 detentions. Going to a big high school comparable to the size of a small college campus, it was obvious that this assembly was important to my high school. I distinctly remember this assembly because as we were filing in and sitting down, there was the senior portrait of a girl that passed away last year on the big screen. We all knew about her and what had happened the spring of last year, as we started the assembly with a moment of silence for her. Although I did not know Melissa personally, we all knew her name because she was in charge of taking photos of students and school activities to fill up the senior yearbook. There were a few times where Melissa had asked if me and my friends could pose to take a picture for the yearbook, whether it be for Halloween or for spirit week. Towards the end of my junior year when upperclassmen were getting accepted to colleges and prom was right around the corner, we heard some devastating news the day after senior prom. The Monday after prom at 8:30 A.M., we held a moment of silence for the passing of Melissa, a student we were all familiar with. She was accepted to an ivy league college for that fall and she was a driven student and well known face around the school. The news of her passing during my junior year hit the school very hard. She passed away from head trauma because the driver, a senior from another school was driving home intoxicated after prom night. Her bright future-all compromised because of someone else's careless mistake. We all wondered how her parents must have felt taking pictures with their daughter earlier in the night, just to have their daughter ripped away from them because of the way certain events unfolded later that night. After that year, this assembly became mandatory where PA teachers were required to go through a course of underage drinking and the dangers of it. This was my very first encounter of the dangers of drinking and driving and how selfish this can be to others. Not only is driving intoxicated harmful for the driver but it is inconsiderate to not only other passengers and people on the road. During the assembly, we learned some cold and unsettling statistics. According to CDC, in the United States, around 30 people die from car crashes that involve a driver operating a motor vehicle under the influence. That would be 30 Melissas a day, each fatally wounded every 50 minutes because of something that could be so easily preventable. After the passing of Melissa, a girl I had gone to school with, I felt the need to become the parent of my friend group. Whether it be calling my friends an Uber or picking them up myself, I did not want any of my acquaintances to become another statistic.
The triple D's drinking driving danger, by the time late teens reach the new milestone of their as an adult. Teens can't wait to to grow up by getting a job, passing the drivers test, moving out and nothing makes a teen feel much adult like when it comes to consuming alcohol. Alcohol has been linked to stress relief and feeling of heads in the clouds as a party pleaser. Young adults are still risking fun over safety, as we grow childish plays aren't appealing as late night parties of clubbing are. But truth be told reckless driving is one of many consequences of alcohol. The consumption of alcohol goes through the bloodstream to the brain to results in lack of body movements such as slowed motor responses based on impaired judgment. The brain functions differently when you drive, you may drive down the road and see a red light as sober you would hit the brakes. Drunk you would much less care nor notice the lights changing, feeling less co-ordinated. A car accident maybe prevent if law enforcement pulls you over which will lead to a DUI, drinking under the influence. You will be charge with a arrest made publicly, jail time will be required including payment fee. Employment opportunities will be lost due to background checks and licenses suspended will be established. When drinking and driving you're gambling your life and destroying your future.
Ethan W. - University of Kansas Medical Center - Read Essay »
During my sophomore year of college, I witnessed a drunk driver strike and kill a 19-year-old female college student with his motor vehicle and flee the scene of the accident. The tragic event occurred while the victim was on vacation with a group of friends in Gulf Shores, Alabama. I was a first responder on the scene and the experience forced me out of my comfort zone to rise to the occasion. I quickly assembled a team of by-standers and delegated crucial roles to each member to call 911, assess the victim's vital signs, and perform basic life support techniques using CPR. My role during the emergency response process taught me the importance of collaborating with others and communicating effectively to execute tasks promptly. This experience had a profound influence on my life and I was fortunate to have support from friends and family to help me overcome this adversity and learn from the event. The strong social support I received during this experience taught me how to adapt to adverse situations and instilled in me the resilience to persevere through challenges in all aspects of my life. In addition, my advocacy against drinking and driving is reinforced by the experience of my best friend who was the victim of a severe drunk driving accident in Kansas City last year. My friend was driving southbound on the highway and a drunk driver traveling northbound suddenly crossed the dividing median into oncoming traffic causing a head-on collision with my friend's vehicle. My friend spent one month in the intensive care unit at the hospital and underwent over seven life-threatening surgeries to address multiple vital organ failures, a torn heart valve, and shattered pelvis. He spent the following year recovering from the traumatic accident by attending rigorous rehabilitation therapy sessions to regain his physical health and overall quality of life. The tremendous support of the Kansas City community will continue to motivate my friend throughout the recovery process and help him overcome the physical and mental challenges ahead. My personal experiences portray the severe consequences of drinking and driving and the trauma this crime inflicts on both the victims and their communities.
You're at a club late Saturday night to celebrate your best friend's twenty-first birthday. You see all your friends buying him shots and mixed drinks. You feel out of place because you're the only designated driver for the night so you begin to feel peer pressured to start to drink. Your friends start seeing you take shots with them and they ask you why you're drinking if you're their designated driver for the night. "I know my limit, I'm good." Is the excuse you used to shut everyone up from telling you not to drink. Next thing you know you're waking up behind the wheel, smoke everywhere all you can feel is the pain in your body and the only thing you can see in front of you is the huge tree trunk you just crashed into on the side of the road. You start to look around your car and in your passenger seat is the birthday boy covered in blood not responding to you calling his name. Next thing you know firefighters are trying to pry open your passenger side door to get your friend out of the vehicle to perform CPR. At the hospital, you see police officers with your parents with the parents of your friend, all you can faintly hear is the officer reading out the chargers of DUI Manslaughter. In a night that was meant to celebrate one of your close friend's twenty-first birthday turned into a night where his short life was unrightfully taken away by a careless decision that you decided to make just because you wanted to "be in the circle" and drink with your friends. Drinking and driving should not be something to gamble with because you never know whose life you might take away or even worse your own.
All my life I have been surrounded by drinkers. My whole family drinks my friends drink my coworkers come to work drunk it crazy honestly! The worst part about it was most of them would drive drunk as well. My aunt and grandmother both have had DUI's and both are lucky to be alive today. My grandma now has to walk everywhere she goes or has to depend on a ride. My aunt has to depend on her husband to get her back and forth. Personally I would never drink and drive. I feel like it is the equivalent to getting on a rollercoaster without a seatbelt. I have been in the car with someone that was driving drunk. Since it was my family and someone that was older then me I felt like i had no say. Now that I am older, I repel alot of the bad drinking habits installed into my family. When I was in high school I joined SADD (Students against drunk driving) and even offered to drive people home who had partied all night. I just did not want to see one of my classmates get stuck like my family or even worse. So many things happen to people when they drink I mean they are already messing up there liver why mess up your whole life or somebody else's when getting behind the wheel.
As we open a bottle, we never think about the consequences of drinking under the influence. We only think of how we may be able to get home, but we know our limits when it comes to drinking and driving. We've done it before, and we will make home again safe and sound. The thought that maybe we just got lucky doesn't seem to cross our mind. Our actions are guided by luck and nothing else. Our friends around us are drinking too, because they have done the same thing before. We think we are immortal and nothing can hurt us. And then, one night where we have as much to drink as "normal", we learn that we are not immortal. We learn that a family was driving home late that night and they swerved into a tree trying to avoid my drunk driving. I learned that it was me who was swerving. I learned that handcuffs do exist on my hands and that my bed is much more comfortable than the ones inside jail. I learned that paying for classes in college is a lot easier to do than to pay for bail money. I learned that my parents rules of not driving drunk and to call them during a party were easy to do, than to be surrounded by police officers who show no concern for me when I'm brought into a station for causing a wreck. I learned that my friends were not my friends when it was time for visitation and no one showed up. I learned that opening any bottle of alcohol can lead to ruining every sense your brain has of functioning and that driving for any amount of time in a vehicle can have deadly and life changing consequences.
My grandmother passed away a few years ago from drinking and driving. It was my first hand experience of what drinking and driving can do. Laws are in place to protect people and one of them is to not drive under the influence. Due to this incident my family and I choose to not drink at all. Drinking and driving can not only harm the person driving, but also their families and people they may encounter on the road. It is never acceptable to drink and drive, even when driving only a few miles away. My grandmother was drinking at a local casino in Northeastern Pennsylvania, not once did they stop her from drinking more than she should have. The valet driver handed her keys to her without even caring, or realizing that she was heavily intoxicated. When you are intoxicated while driving you also may do irrational things, such as not putting a seat belt on, driving on the wrong side of the road, and even forgetting how to get home. Due to this aspect my grandma who normally always wears her seat belt did not have hers on. On her travel home intoxicated she ran off the road and crashed, due to her not having a seat belt the impact instantly killing her. The impact was so hard and at a bad angel that when she few forward she ended up falling back into the back seat of her car. When going out with people from work or business purposes, they always ask me if i would like a drink. I explain to them that I do not drink, and they look at me like i'm crazy. I than explain this story to them, and show them the news article my family and I got to wake up to that morning, it really makes them understand. I think it is so important to educate people especially teens and share stores to let everyone know that it can happen to them.
Alcohol, both legal and illegal drugs, and other substances can alter your natural state of mind to feeling confusion and chaos or exuberance and exhilaration. Alcohol and other substances are popular in young adults due to the feeling of euphoria or a false calmness. Those with low self-esteem gain false confidence and the so called "popular crowd" believes their status is enhanced by having or being under the influence of "taboo" substances. During high school, a friend left a party drunk. My friend drove his large truck over the top of a vehicle and then hit a tree while backing up where he passed out. Due to the absence of a prevention program offered by our high school, my friend was sentenced to doing community service. Another example is a friend in his late 20`s who spent the weekend in jail for driving under the influence. To avoid similar incidents or catastrophic situations, talk to the person in question and see if they have their full faculties or wits about them. If this person is found lacking the ability to speak or think clearly, convince this person to take a taxi or offer them a ride home. If you find yourself compromised, it is better to ask for a ride from a friend or call a taxi. Currently there are applications on our phones that can call for transport within minutes. The following day, if experiencing a hangover, it is best to avoid driving due to alcohol remaining in your bloodstream resulting in potentially debilitating side effects. It takes 10 hours for one ounce of alcohol to leave your bloodstream and when experiencing a hangover, the person has had more than one ounce of alcohol. Additionally, driving under the influence exposes our families/public to the possibility of an unpleasant situation.
On May 26, 2015 my oldest cousin, Devin Johnson, was killed in a Drunk Driving accident. He was a passenger in a car in which the driver had too much to drink. Devin and his friend, the driver, were both finishing their Junior year in College. Two lives dramatically change over one poor decision. Two families lives shattered forever. The driver survived and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. He served 3 months, but missed the fall semester of College. Devin's dad, my Uncle, had passed away suddenly on 5/1/15 from a heart attack. So now his family was left grieving a dad and a brother who passed within 25 days of each other. Devin was the oldest of five children. My aunt and cousins lives are forever altered because of this one decision. The driver could have asked someone else to drive, Devin could have been more aware of the drivers inebriation and the remaining people at the party could and should have stopped them from leaving. Over the past three years our extended family has done all we can to raise awareness. Key chains, decals, stickers for car windows, 5K's raising money, speeches at schools and constant awareness of those around us. We all have a moral responsibility to say something if we see someone getting behind the wheel while under the influence. To say that innocent lives are shattered by this irresponsible decision would be an understatement.
Cody H. - Southern Connecticut State University - Read Essay »
A psychology teacher of mine from high school was teaching a class on empathy and compassion and he had said "In life it is impossible to not harm anyone or anything, but what you can do is take the steps necessary to cause as little harm as possible." This was a harsh truth for me to handle that it is nigh impossible to prevent harming any type of living being at all times, but it did put a new perspective on my outlook on life. When it comes to drinking and driving, there is a conscious effort in doing so; it is not simply an accidental choice. Each decision we make every day can have multiple chain reactions attached to it and it is very difficult to predict how each decision an individual makes can affect others. However, statistics and research has not led us astray, drinking and driving has and will always lead to serious consequences. The decision someone makes to drink and drive not only puts themselves in danger; it puts others in danger as well. This is not only disrespect towards others, but it is also disrespectful to their own being. Take the time to evaluate the everyday choices you make and how these choices can impact the lives of others. Putting other people's lives at risk can be avoided by simply making the decision to not drink and drive and if you personally need a ride plan ahead and find alternatives to getting home. It costs no money to choose to not drink and drive and put someone else and your life in danger, make the decision to do as little harm as possible and do not drink and drive.
"I'm good! I'm good! I can drive," are the words my friend slurred as she attempted to head for the driver's seat. It was almost like I had an epiphany, and all those commercials of drunk driving pervaded through my mind. I wasn't going to let her put her own life risk, as well as anyone else entering the car. I guess people think, "it'll never happen to me." When in fact, it can happen to anyone. Statistics have proven that young adults between the ages of 16 and 19, are nearly three times likely to be in a fatal crash than people 20 and older (under the influence). Although young teens are less likely to actually drink and drive, when they do, their chances of getting into a fatal car accident are significantly higher than other age group. This is a startling statistic, yet humbling. Remember driving is a privilege, not a right. With this being said, your ability to drive can be taken from you at any time, don't let it be over a vacuous, thoughtless decision. If you know you're going to a party with your friends to drink, call on a designated driver. As mentioned before, you shouldn't drink and drive because it's a direct indicator of carelessness. You're not only putting your life at risk, but an innocent bystander as well. Don't ever put yourself in a position where you have to enter jail because of such an impulsive decision. I know, I know, sometimes you want to get up and go. Especially if you're at an event that you've been drinking at with your friends, and you're the only person ready to go. Whether you're the driver or not, never put yourself at risk to get behind the wheel after drinking. Plan things out thoroughly, or just wait. It's always better to be safe than sorry. No matter how mad you are, or how badly you want to go, think first. Drinking and driving is a selfish decision made by an individual, and is something that can be avoided. Before you put those keys in the ignition, think, think if this is going to harm you years down the line. Think about your employment opportunities as well, how would you feel having to fill out the section that requires you to speak about previous convictions? Being charged with a DUI, or even being convicted of such crime offense can be damaging to one's life. Drinking and driving is 100% avoidable, so act accordingly. Don't make a selfish decision, that can immediately take away all your freedom and flexibility in a split second.
A couple years ago, me and my bestfriend were both 19 years old. We grew up together and decided to go to college together. She had a fake ID and it worked at multiple bars around town. There came a night I didn't go out with her, and she said she was only going to have a drink or two and then come home. I happened to go to bed early because it was a weekday and I had class the following day. I wake up and I see she's not home. I try to contact her, but her phone is off. I'm very confused at this moment. I find out from somebody that I don't fully know but they knew I was her bestfriend the story of what happened. It was around 2am when she was driving home and ran into a huge boulder in front of someone's house. Her car was totaled. The people whom lived there came out and called 911. The police came and arrested her. She couldn't even speak and they could just immediately smell the alcohol. She was charged for drinking underage and drinking while driving, and also property damage. I couldn't get a hold of her because she was arrested so I got ahold of her mom. Her mom had absolutely no idea and it was hard to have to give the news to her. She got her license suspended, had to complete probation and a few driving educational classes. Thankfully, she was okay. However, she does not remember even driving that night and I think that's traumatizing to hear. Doing something so young can change your life forever. She was in a few organizations on campus that she was required to withdrawal from. She had to switch her major from Education when she's always dreamed about being a teacher because she was not allowed to have something like that on her record. She lost many friends, and her reputation on campus wasn't going too well. Even being friends with her, I feel as if it affected my life and how others portrayed me. From then on out, I have been very strict with driving even after a single drink. Some bartenders pour heavier than others and you do not usually realize how intoxicated you were till you wake up more sober the next day. One drink can turn into 4-5 easily. I don't think even with a hangover that it is okay to drive, your mindset is not fully there and it's harder to focus. The alcohol is still in your system. People think it's okay and I will never step foot in a car with someone who I think is even a little buzzed and neither should they. It's not worth endangering your life, pay the extra $10 for a taxi or Uber. Believe me, t's worth it.
He had baby twins on the way. He had just been married to the woman he loved, and she had already given birth to a beautiful baby boy. My cousin, Anthony, was finally building the family that he had always dreamed of having, and he was very loved. When my family received the phone call that my cousin had been involved in a horrible accident, where he was drinking and driving, everyone in my family was devastated. My family and I sat by the phone for days waiting for news on his condition. His health was so unstable that he had to be put into a medically induced coma in order to increase his chances of survival. During the time that he was in the hospital fighting for his life, my family came together to provide support for each other. Each person was doing their best to provide happiness to other members of our family when we could. Anthony was one of the most cheerful and outgoing people in our family. He was always able to crack a joke or put a smile on my face, even during times of tension. He provided endless happiness to our family, and did not deserve the accident that he got into. I chewed on my nails and prayed for his recovery. Finally, after a few days, the doctors were able to take him out of his coma. He made a successful recovery, however, there are not words to explain the pain and worry that I felt realizing that my cousin's new wife, child, and unborn twins, as well as the rest of my family may loose such a significant member of our family because he got behind the wheel intoxicated. Driving under the influence of substances is never worth the risk. While my cousin survived his accident, he is facing horrible legal consequences of his actions. We are lucky to have Anthony around today.
Choosing to drink and drive is one of the most selfish decisions a person could make. Once you decide to drink and drive, you are not only putting your own life at risk but you are also putting every person in your car, on the road, and in the area in immediate danger. The decision could lead, and often times does lead, to harm to innocent people. When you are drunk, you have a slow reaction time, slow processing time, inhibited senses, blurry vision and drowsiness. These side effects of drinking are not conducive to safe driving. What you may perceive as you driving good could be completely different than how you're driving in reality. Nowadays, drinking and driving is even more inexcusable for the mere reason that there is so many ways to avoid being put in that situation. There is multiple car service apps, such as Lyft and Uber, which make for a quick solution to avoiding drinking and driving. If caught drinking and driving, you will be drowning in fines and will also be arrested and taken to jail. Going to jail means you would have a record which will create difficulties in staying enrolled in college and finding a job in the future. It is so not worth going to jail and creating a permanent record for something that is so easily avoidable. A close friend of my family was once a victim of a drunk driving incident. Late at night while her family was sound asleep, a car crashed into her house. A drunk driver that lived across the street for them lost control of the wheel and ended up crashing their car into her living room. Luckily, nobody died or was injured but it still resulted in thousands of dollars in damage, the family having to relocate temporarily, and the driver going to jail and having to pay for the damages incurred. At the end of the day, it would have been much cheaper, safer, and smarter for the perpetrator to call a car service or a friend to bring them home. All of the legal issues and costs could've easily been avoided.
In a perfect world, no one would have to second guess their driver's ability to get to their destination in one piece. That is not the reality we live in, as there are countless examples of people, particularly adolescents, who choose to risk their friends lives and their own, for convenience's sake. I am familiar with the arguments made by intoxicated drivers, illogical ramblings about the cost of a taxi or the danger of leaving a vehicle unattended. Weighed against lives, these excuses lose all credibility. However I am also familiar with how little regard some people have for human life while intoxicated, even their own family. One of my close family members considered himself to be an excellent drunk driver. Many a family party he would excessively drink and then grab a set of car keys, offended at the accusation that he could not drive his family home. I will never forget the fear that gripped me as tightly as the seatbelt as he swerved through the traffic, insisting that he was fine through slurred speech. These encounters with driving under the influence never ended in an accident, but they did cause irreparable damage. Once in high school I discovered that many of my friends shared the same mindset as my family member. My friends would brag about how far they could drive drunk, as if it was something to be proud of. In actuality it is an irresponsible action that will eventually lead to the destruction of life, whether that be death or a condemning DUI. I pleaded with my friends, even strangers, to consider the risk that they were taking. Because at the end of the ride, it is not just your life you are gambling with.
Drinking while driving is just as dangerous as driving blindfolded while being as deliberate as robbing a bank. It is an uncalculated risk that people make on a daily basis with the unfortunate results that happen. These consequences are worse than what can be imagined. Of course drunk drivers would receive legal penalties but what also comes is the mental pains of knowing that someone was killed because of a careless decision. When drinking, people are mentally impaired. Thoughts are unconnected and an "ego" is brought forth. Many people feel invisible, and capable, when drinking. People would allow themselves to drive drunk because driving is just something that they do on a daily basis. However, what is different is that they are not safe at all when driving under the influence. Their mental functions are incapacitated which can lead to little reaction time, incomplete awareness, and irresponsible driving like swerving into another lane or speeding. I have never been directly affected by one of these absent minded accidents but my AP English Language teacher was. His son was killed in a head on car crash by someone who was driving under the influence. The news was heart-shattering to my teacher knowing that his son was killed immediately because someone could care less about the lives around them. Now, my teacher suffers a whole in his heart and the perpetrator will forever live in guilt. Overall, driving under the influence is reckless and it is intolerant. There are heavy fines as well as the possibility of jail time if caught drunk driving. Furthermore, there are severe mental consequences knowing that someone was killed because of a thoughtless choice. Moreover, in today's society, there are so many ways to avoid drunk driving, like calling an Uber. So think before you drink!
Olivia C. - University of California-San Diego - Read Essay »
On a seemingly normal trip to the grocery store, an SUV struck a work van just a few feet away from my family's car. The drivers proceeded to turn around and jump out of their vehicle, sending it unmanned into oncoming traffic until it crashed into a shopping center on the other side of the road. Miraculously, no one was gravely injured, but had the van not been there, I may not be writing this today. It was discovered that the drivers were two intoxicated teens. As people gathered around the crash site to observe the wreck and offer testimony, it became a traumatizing incident in most of their lives"”an incident that the drivers may not remember. While the teens were around my age and likely well-meaning, successful, and more than capable of making informed decisions, they handed over control of their car to versions of themselves and did more dangerous things than they could imagine doing sober. What might've started as a day of carefree partying and experimenting with the thrills of adulthood ended with the involvement of parents, lawyers, and a barrage of police cars and ambulances. Each year, far too many well-meaning, successful, otherwise nonviolent people wake up murderers. Far too many with everything ahead of them wake up facing life sentences. Far too many healthy, able people wake up with injuries that devastate the lifestyles they take for granted. While being charged with a crime you can't remember seems far from the sensibilities of the American judicial system, for drunk driving to occur at all, the perpetrator must first commit a gross act of negligence. As responsible, rational, and passive they think they are while sober, a drunk driver hands a reckless version of him/herself the keys to their car and control of the wheel.
Drinking and driving is extremely dangerous for anyone involved including passengers. It is mostly done by people under 21 who usually do not know their alcohol limit and end up getting a bit more drunk than they planned on getting. If you get caught under the influence you could end up losing your license, going to jail, and paying fees. Driving under the influence is extremely dangerous for the driver and the passengers in the vehicle. Never let anyone drive who has drank alcohol and hasn't had time to let it pass or rest. If someone even has a slight slur to their voice or even drank a tiny but of alcohol they should be required to have a designated driver that should not touch any alcohol. The host of the party or person serving the alcohol should collect everyone's car keys before the alcohol is served to make sure that no one leaves if they are drunk to avoid the risk of drunk driving. Most people who drink under or around 21 do not know their alcohol limit and may end up drinking more than they bargained for. No one should drive after having alcohol even if they only have a minor buzz because it can be dangerous and they should call or have their designated driver take them home. People should learn their limits and not go past them and if they don't know their limit they need to have a designated driver. Driving under the influence isn't worth the risk of losing their life, losing their license, going to jail, injuring other people in the car, or paying fees. Why risk the effects of driving under the influence when all that needs to be done is a quick phone call? All that must be done is have someone arranged and if that person ends up drinking a phone call can be made to have someone get them home. The effects of drinking and driving can easily be avoided by having designated drivers, staying at the house, or a phone call. Not only is drinking and driving dangerous for the driver but it is dangerous for any passengers of anyone else on the road. There is no reason to put other people at risk when it can be avoided by a phone call. The driver should be sober and able to focus and drive. Other people who are drunk in the car should be in the back so they cannot interfere with the driver. If a drunk person is the driver and they get in an accident they put themselves and their passengers at risk for injury or death. Vehicles can be deadly weapons and if someone is under the influence they are more prone to using it that way. Drinking and driving is dangerous for anyone in the car and anyone else on the road. Drinking and driving can easily be avoided and yet it still happens. It can be avoided by a phone call, designated drivers, or being able to stay at the home/place where they are drinking. There are many long-lasting effects of drinking and driving that are easily avoidable. Drinking and driving is dangerous for anyone involved. There are many ways to avoid driving under the influence and the punishments are not worth doing it.
Alcohol-related auto accidents are still a leading cause of death in the United States. The rate of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities per 100,000 population was 3.3 in 2016. This is actually comparable to the murder rate in 2016 of 5.3 murders per 100,000 people. However, this homicide statistic is deceiving; many American homicides are due to conflicts between local groups. Homicides, then, tend to be less likely to randomly strike any member of the population. This contrasts with alcohol-related auto accidents, which have the possibility to strike anyone at anytime, with the only condition of the accident being that one is on or near a road. This is why local news may be more likely to show stories of parents killed from drunk drivers than homicide; the tragedy can come up out of the blue--it can affect us all. So, it is of critical importance that the American public understands the severity of the problem of inebriated driving, and continues the fight against it. This requires increased education everywhere: focusing on responsible drinking and assigning designated drivers at parties. Similarly, it's important that Americans build strong principles against drinking and driving that are long-lasting. Finally, initiatives like those of AAA to offer free rides home for people on certain holidays reduce the number of drunk drivers. There are many ways to reduce the amount of drunk driving accidents, but most important is to continue the fight against drunk driving so we can one come to an end of all unnecessary death and tragedy.
Michelle I. - Florida State College at Jacksonville - Read Essay »
The consequences of a DUI offense My relationship with the Lord Jesus intrigued my desire to pursue Nursing in college and it was a perfect fit for me because it fit my persona, fit who I truly am, and it is a career that will enable me to become someone who will constantly help people. I did a lot of research to know everything about Nursing and I sought the Lord in prayer to guide me and finally decided to be a Nurse Practitioner. A Nurse Practitioner works with ill patients, and prescribes medication but also encourages patients. One of my core values, as I continue to grow as a young Christian, is love. I wanted a career that not only gives me the opportunity to serve my God but to also serve my brothers and sisters all around me by showing this overwhelming love, grace, and mercy that Jesus has given me. To achieve this goal, I must take different steps to be the best in my field. First, I must get my Associates Degree in Nursing which will enable me to work as a Registered Nurse while still attaining my bachelor's. I was accepted in the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) at Florida State College at Jacksonville in the summer of 2016. As a nursing student, I have seen up close the consequences of a DUI offense. As a nurse, the stress and pressures of your job may be overwhelming at times. By your position, the public and your patients rely tremendously on your skill and judgment. And a DUI is a big disadvantage to anyone who wants to be in the medical profession. When a nursing student has a DUI, it must be reported to the Board of Nursing. Nursing students applying to take the NCLEX must report all misdemeanor and felony convictions, including DUIs. Before being admitted to nursing school or applying for your nursing license, you must sign several documents to ensure that you meet the requirements of the board of nursing. Indicating "yes" to any questions about convictions, past actions, or possible impairment does not mean your application will be denied. It means more information must be gathered and considered before a decision can be made, which delays the usual application and testing process. A drunk driving conviction for a nurse can mean the loss of licensure and the loss of your job. Even if your DUI conviction has been expunged, dismissed, or adjudicated, you must still report it to the nursing school and the board of nursing. Completing a court-ordered diversion program must also be reported because The Board of Registered Nursing will discover all records, even if they have been sealed or dismissed. Failure to report can result in denial of licensure or entry to nursing school. I saw and realized how a drunk driving DUI conviction has a significant impact on everyone's life but mostly nursing students and nurses who are no exception. All the different States have a duty to ensure that our medical professionals are fit for service as they are entrusted with patients' lives. Nursing schools have similar obligations to ensure their students have good moral character and fitness for the profession. Nurses and other medical professionals should be careful if they have been accused of a DUI and need to know all the consequences of a conviction. To someone applying to, attending, or graduating nursing school, the thought of legal trouble can be overwhelming. A DUI does not need to be a career-ending event for licensed health professionals. However, a DUI conviction is a serious event and can have collateral consequences that threaten not only your license but your career and reputation, if not properly and timely handled. Drinking impairs a person's ability to make crucial driving decisions. After just one drink, a driver can lose their ability to perform tasks necessary to operate a vehicle safely, such as proper braking, steering, and changing lanes. Alcohol can also cloud a drinker's judgment, increasing the driver's risk of making bad choices on the road. That's why abstinence is the simplest way to avoid drunk-driving. Grab a soda, seltzer, or coffee instead, or simply say, "no, thank you". After witnessing the amount of trouble that follows students and nurses who drive under the influence, I firmly took a stand and realized Driving under the influence is not worth me losing the privilege to serve my God, brothers, and sisters all around me and make a positive impact in this world.
I entered the car and immediately recognized the gravity of the situation. My mom clutched a potent drink, slurred her words, and barely noticed my brother and me in the car. She was intoxicated. As we watched, bewildered from the backseat, mother, without hesitation, accelerated the car in the direction of our father out of a fit of anger. She missed, and all I could do was scream as we rapidly approached a bus full of children. She narrowly dodged the bus. I could see the malicious intent on her face, but I couldn't understand what incited the hatred. Mom never would do something so depraved. That's when I knew that the alcohol had consumed her. My mother was a functioning alcoholic who endangered the lives of my father, my little brother, me, and the children and driver of the bus. Consequently, I haven't seen my mother in years. Alcohol took her away from me, and her drunk driving could've taken my father. Alcohol dulls the senses, and if you're behind the wheel of a 1,000+ lb metal projectile that can travel hundreds of miles an hour, then you must understand your surroundings. Alcohol dulls more than just your physical senses. It also dulls your common sense. I've witnessed it myself. Intoxicated, rambunctious teens who believe they're "all right" to drive. In reality, nobody under the influence is "all right." As a driver, you're responsible for yourself, the passengers, and any bystander who you may come across. Do you really want to be the cause of death of an innocent stranger, friend, or, worse, your own family member? Would you ever forgive yourself? Is it worth risking never seeing those people for the rest of your life and depriving someone of his or her husband, wife, friend, son, or daughter? Of course not. Don't drink and drive; it'll only lead to suffering.
I'm gazing down from the sky. I see myself walking, well stumbling really. For some strange reason the grounds not moving but I can't seem to keep my balance, I'm tripping, my head is bobbing from side to side. It's a confusing sight to watch. I see myself grab my key out my purse, I'm pressing the alarm and even though my car is in front of my face I don't even realize it. I raise my hand and continue to press the alarm and that's when I finally hear the honking. I stumble into the driver's seat. As I watch these images paranoia churns throughout my whole body. Although I know she can't hear me I start shouting at myself " No don't do it, you can't even walk". Of course I didn't listen, there's no turning back the past. Somehow I barely manage to get on the road, but as a drive away I lost focus and swerved right into a tree. The ambulance came to the catastrophic scene trying to resuscitate me but they couldn't. Just like that my life was over. I would've been graduating college this year, attending law school, all the late nights studying to no avail. All the hard work trying to attain goals and getting so close to be remembered as the girl who died from DUI. I'll never get to make a difference in the world. This is the scenario I play in my head whenever I plan on going out. Every drink that gets offered to me is kindly rejected unless I set a designated driver. There's a lot of things I want to do with my life and I can't bare the thought of disappointing my parents as well as myself from something that easily could've been avoided. No one ever thinks that they will lose their life or take someone else's away when they get behind the wheel under the influence. However; according to cdc.gov 28 people die daily in crashes involving an impaired driver. Meaning about every hour someone is involved in a fatal crash involving alcohol. Why couldn't it be me to?
Why you shouldn't drink and drive. Seems like a simple an obvious answer right? We all know why we shouldn't drink and drive. The reasons are many, you can get in an accident, and you can hurt yourself or someone else. However, it's so much more than that. A good friend of mine was out one night with friends. They decided it was time to go home, they both had a few drinks but my friend offered to drive as she only had "2" she said. Well that night their lives changed forever. Less than a mile away from home they came to an intersection no one knows what happened but her car ran straight into a pole, there car was almost split in two. Both girls were unconscious when paramedics arrived. The passengers legs had to be amputated and her injuries were unknown at the time but she could not move. The fear of being left paralyzed haunted her for weeks. Thank fully with therapy and the grace of God she was able to regain movement but does need assistance of a walker to walk around. After all that and still feeling the guilt that her good friend would never be able to walk again they were told the news that the pole was not the only thing they had hit that night. Their car actually hit a car first before spinning and hitting the pole. Well in that other vehicle was a mother and her 3 kids. One of those kids died from his injuries and the others were injured but would be ok. I'm sure you can just imagine a bit of what my friend felt and will feel the rest of her life. She was charged with vehicular manslaughter, prison time, sued for more than $100,000. All that at the young age of 18, her life was changed forever all because of one bad choice. Remember it's not only your life at stake but others that you are putting at risk as well. You don't just affect your life but your families, the families of others that are affected because of YOUR mistake. Innocent lives, someone's mother, father, grandma, grandpa, brother, sister, daughter or son. It affects a lot of people. It is not something you would want on your conscience. That person can never walk again, her face burned so badly that she is unrecognizable all because you thought that having a drink wouldn't affect your judgment. Home was just a few blocks away, it will be ok" - that's what they all say.
There once was a little boy, 8 or 9 years old, that was in a high speed collision on the freeway a few decades ago. He was hit by a drunk driver while on the way to a roller-skating rink with his relatives. He flipped over in the seat, and was drowning in his own blood when paramedics found him. He suffered a broken neck and traumatic brain injuries. The cause of this crash was the other driver, who attempted to light a cigarette while driving with the hook he had for a left hand. The hook slipped and caused the vehicle to come hurling towards the little boy and his family. Many attest that the hook was responsible for the crash, yet a closer look reveals that the drunken state of the driver resulted in his poor judgement of driving that way. I personally witnessed that little boy struggle through life due his resulting traumatic brain injury. He managed to do well in school regardless, and is now in Graduate School working on a Master's Degree in Mathematics. Graduate School is tough for most, especially in that field, but with a traumatic brain injury? There is a vast array of disorders, including sleeping disorders and depression, associated with that type of injury. Even though he does well, that little boy's life was ruined by a drunk driver. He'll never be what he could have been, nor be able to do it without struggling. How do I know? Because I was that little boy. THAT'S why you shouldn't drink and drive.
Be a Hero All it takes is one person, one drink, and one mistake to ruin everything. Picture yourself at a great party filled with people having a good time. Hours of fun pass and two a.m. comes around. Slowly the party dies down. Your best friend stumbles upon you with an almost empty bottle of Smirnoff and tells you he is going home. You ask, "are you okay to drive?" He replies, "yeah man, I am okay... trust me." Telling by his appearance he is nowhere near okay, but you let him go anyways since, "you trust him." This is that one person, that had that one drink, that made that one mistake, that is about to ruin everything. Morning comes around and your best friend still has not returned your calls. Curiosity, suspicion, and fear all start to conquer your hangover. You call again and again but still no answer. Suddenly you get a text from your best friend's phone with an address. You input it in your GPS and race over to where you soon end up in front of a hospital. Trembling with fear you sprint inside and yell out, "WHERE'S MY FRIEND?!" You give the lady at the front desk his name and a doctor walks up to you with a depressed look on his face and a tear in his eye repeating the words, "I am sorry." You immediately go into shock and think of how you could have stopped him last night, but you did not even try. I did not even try. I let my best drive drunk knowing he could not even walk straight. I could have stopped my best friend from dying, but I let him drink and drive. Be a hero and put a stop to drinking and driving.
Drinking and Driving is a one way ticket to disaster. For someone with the interest of entering the field of Criminal Justice, looking at this issue is looking at an all too familiar face. Drinking itself is a trial of ember leading into a wild fire. Small doses may seem innocent, but it already impairs your sense of judgement and moral compass. It leads you on a overconfident roller coaster fogging decision making and it leads to severe consequences that can never get taken back. Posts on social media or just a misstep in their actions. Knowing all this, one of the worst decisions that is a common thing among teens is getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. It endangers you and everyone else in the vehicle, and even those just strolling for a walk or driving alongside you. Having a couple of beers after a long night, you sit in the drivers seat along with a couple of friends, blasting music and having a good time. Then all of a sudden, you lose sense of how fast you're going and see a light in the distance. From the alcohol distorting the distance from you and the light, everything comes to a stop. You awaken but see your life long friends laying lifeless and the light was in fact another car. You were on the wrong side, speeding 90 ramming straight into unsuspecting couple driving home from a family party. This incident doesn't only ruin you life, but so many others. Family members, such as parents and even children, a crash can cost more then one persons life, it can cost a family. A rash decision can destroy a life one has been building for so long, and there is never a reason to throw it all away.
When most young adults turn 21, the first thing they look forward to is taking a trip to the local liquor store or bar and legally buying their first drink. While this is a common expectation, what isn't is the reality that might follow; driving while drinking. I grew up in a very conservative home where drinking was frowned upon in most situations, however, I had a few friends in high school who were occasionally under the influence, thanks to older siblings or friends. While I knew what they were doing would not have been approved by my parents, I continued to spend time with these peers when the weekends permitted. I saw little harm in the drinking that occurred until one day we all were at a 4th of July get-together and needed to get home. When it was time to go home, each individual convinced me that the sobriety was there and the alcohol had not affected them entirely, therefore I was convinced that the drive home would be safe and there would be nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, lack of better judgement was evident and not only was the speed of the ride unnecessarily fast but the car swerved several times on the ride home that night. Once home, I told myself I would never get into a car with anyone who had been drinking, even if they only had a sip. Thankfully, I do not have an experience to share that has ends with a terrible ending. However, this experience taught me to always be responsible, in every circumstance and to NEVER drink and drive. Growing up, I had heard of awful stories of teens loosing their lives due to the irresponsible decision of drinking and driving but what my experience will always remind me of is that drinking and driving doesn't just affect and put your life at risk, but also the innocent drivers on the road with you.
Our $1,000 scholarship is intended to support one student who will help raise awareness on the deadly effects of teen DUI. The purpose of this scholarship is to provide financial assistance to students in their pursuit of higher education. If you or someone you care about has had their life impacted by DUI, we want to hear your story.
In 2017, for every 100,000 Americans, 3.3 people were killed in DUI accidents. For every 100,000 Americans under the age of 21, 1.1 teens died in DUI crashes. The numbers are higher for Florida. The number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities per 100k population was 3.3. (responsibility.org)
If a teen survives his or her first DUI and is arrested, the financial cost is staggering:
The cost of the annual auto insurance increases over the following years.
Those who have been detained are required to attend a DUI Program that also adds to the expenses.
Towing and storage fees can amount to more than $100/day.
He or she will have to pay fines, attorney fees, and DMV reinstatement fees.
A high school or college student charged with DUI will lose the driving license for a period, be on probation, and serve mandatory jail time. He or she may also face a disciplinary hearing at his/her high school or college.
We encourage you to apply to our scholarship program, online applications will be considered. Inspired by a personal story, tell us Why You Shouldn't Drink & Drive.
What happens and what are the consequences when you drive while under the influence?
Have you seen up close the consequences of a DUI offense?
What are some good ways to tell if you or someone else is too drunk to drive?
How can you stop a friend from driving while under the influence?
What are the ways you can get home safely after a party?
Is it safe to drive with a hangover?
Who do you think influences the alcohol use and misuse of young adults?
How does driving while under the influence affect the driver's family?
Does your high school have an alcohol prevention program in place?
Submit your story in essay form (100–300 words). The scholarship is online only, please apply online and DO NOT CALL and DO NOT EMAIL US, all applications are received online through the form below. We look forward to reading the essays and bestowing this scholarship.
Deadline to apply: August 31, 2019.
Who May Apply?
High School Seniors and College Students
Required Documentation for the Scholarship Winner
One copy of Official High School Transcripts
A head-shot picture of the applicant in high-resolution (Your image will be used in the announcement made on the site if selected as the scholarship winner.)
The applicant's personal information is required to check the essay submission and provide the Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary with the means to contact the winner. This information is used only for our internal records and will not be shared with any third parties.
For questions and free legal advice to help individuals please call us