Term Paper: Drunk Driving: A Review

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[. . .] Variables were somewhat hard to determine because the study relied on individual participants to give correct answers to these questions, instead of researchers actually discussing these questions and answers with students, using some other method to get information that was not potentially affected by the students perception of how much they drank, whether they were drunk when they got behind the wheel of a vehicle, and whether they wanted to be honest about the amount they drank in this survey. This was the largely intervening variable; there was no way to know with any type of accuracy whether or not be participants who took the survey gave honest answers, or only gave the answers they felt that they wanted to give (Weschler, et.al., 2002).

Researchers found that college students who were under age tended to binge drink more than those who were able to buy alcohol legally, but that underage students did not drink as often as older students. They also found that underage students were more likely to have alcohol-related problems such as forgetting where they were or having altercations with police, however, they were less likely to get behind the wheel of a car after they had been drinking than were students who were a legal drinking age. This finding was surprising, and went against the hypothesis that the researchers had set forth (Weschler, et.al., 2002).

That this research is valuable is without question. All information that relates to underage drinking and driving is valuable, because it gives law enforcement and other individuals information about what younger people are doing, and can therefore help them to formulate campaigns and other informational events that might help underage drinkers and those of legal drinking age think twice before consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, especially if they will be driving within a few hours.

The main problem with this research, and the reason that its value may not be as significant as some of the research done on the same subject, is that the researchers relied on surveys taken by college students. No real effort was made to solicit answers that the researchers believe to be correct and honest, and no other methods of acquiring information were attempted. In other words, the researchers simply had to take the students at their word, and many young people misrepresent what do to in regards to behaviors related to drinking and other events that they feel adults likely would not approve of.

Some students will underrepresent how much they drink for fear of reprimand or other problems. Other students will overrepresent how much they drink because they feel that their friends think it is necessary to drink in order to be accepted. Perhaps this underrepresentation and overrepresentation by various students balances out, but the opinions of the students' behavior can still affect the results of the survey, and therefore skew the results that the researchers arrived at.

Article III: Gender-Linked Behavior

There may be some evidence that some forms of antisocial behavior, such as drunk driving, are related to the gender of the individual. Researchers in this study looked at whether the gender of an individual was related to whether they exhibit antisocial behaviors; one of these behaviors being driving while under the influence of alcohol. This study was conducted to make a determination whether gender was actually a factor in this type of behavior, so that decisions about different treatment options and other necessary concerns could be made in the future.

The study looked at both males and females and used a self-reporting questionnaire much like the one listed in the above article. In this survey, researchers asked individuals about different antisocial and aggressive behaviors. One of these behaviors was drunk driving. Researchers were looking to see whether being male or female affected someone's propensity to drive while intoxicated. The study results were divided between males and females, and then the results were tabulated from there (Marcus, 1999).

The hypothesis that the researchers had to begin with was that males were more likely to exhibit aggressive and antisocial behavior such as drunk driving than females were. They based this information on other studies that had been done, as well as some personal opinion that males also were the more dominant and aggressive group of individuals. The researchers did not see women as being as aggressive as men, nor did they see women as taking as many risks as men do. Therefore, they believed that male individuals would have a higher propensity to drive drunk than females would (Marcus, 1999).

In the study of these individuals, the main variable had to do with whether students reported information accurately. It was entirely possible that individuals did not give information that was accurate on the surveys. This could have either been because they simply were unaware that their behavior may fall into a certain category, or it could have been that they were uncomfortable admitting they had a certain trait or behavior. Either way, it could easily affect the results of the study.

The conclusion that researchers came to was that both males and females participate to some extent in this type of behavior, however, males are more likely to engage in aggressive or violent antisocial behaviors. Drunk driving was included in these behaviors. While females were more likely to be drunk in a public place, males while more likely to get behind the wheel (Marcus, 1999). Therefore, the hypothesis that the researchers put forth was seen to be accurate, at least based on the results of this study.

This study is somewhat important, but the results are not surprising. Many people believe that males also have a greater propensity to be antisocial and somewhat violent than females do, and while this is not the case with everyone, it seems to hold true as a general observation between the genders. Because of this, the research into this topic does not hold any surprises for the researchers or the public.

It seems as though surveys are extremely popular ways of gathering information, but it also seems as though are one of the least reliable. The only information that researchers have is what is given on the survey, and they have no way of measuring whether or not the answers given were accurate. Because of this, it seems as though other methods of testing this type of information should be found, so that there can be more assurance that the data released to the public is actually accurate.

Article IV: Price and its Effect on Consumption

This study concerned itself with whether the price of alcohol would affect the amount consumed, and would therefore affect alcohol-related problems such as drunk driving crashes. Researcher wished to know whether price was related to consumption, and if so, how much the price would need to go up before alcohol consumption would drop to a level to slow down the problems created by it.

It largely focused on other studies that have been done by examining the price of alcohol and the effect on consumption, especially among youths and adolescents who have the highest number of drunk driving issues. The desired information was to measure whether the rising price of alcohol slowed down the consumption of it, or whether alcohol was so important that people would purchase it no matter what the price went to (Chaloupka, et.al, 2002).

The hypothesis in this instance was rather obvious. It was believed that the price of alcohol was inversely proportional to its consumption. In other words, as price went up, consumption would go down. This would therefore help avoid instances such as drunk driving and other potentially dangerous behaviors that occurred after consuming alcohol. Unfortunately, variables were so great that researchers could make no determination as to whether the rising price of alcohol actually slowed down its consumption, or whether the lowered consumption was caused by other factors (Chaloupka, et.al, 2002).

This was unfortunate, because the conclusions that could have been drawn by this research would have been important information for those working to control drunk driving. It would also have been important information for those who continue to lobby to raise taxes on alcohol. If the rising price of alcoholic beverages was seen to have a direct correlation with a slow-down in consumption, and therefore a lessening of drunk driving, those who lobby to raise taxes would likely get their wish. Because of the inability to draw definite conclusions, the research in this area is not as valuable as it could be. Clearly, there may be a correlation between the two variables, and more study is needed in this area to make a determination as to whether this correlation is legitimate

Conclusion

As can be seen from the above articles, the research on drunk driving is mostly centered around adolescents, but also varies into other areas. More research is needed, especially where alcohol prices and consumption issues are concerned. This could be a large factor in slowing down drunk driving, but higher alcohol… [END OF PREVIEW]

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