A drunken driver is usually defined as one with a 0.10 blood alcohol content or roughly three beers, glasses of wine or shots of whisky drunk within two hours. Heavy drinking used to be an acceptable part of the American macho image and judges were lenient in most courts, but the drunken slaughter has recently caused so many well-publicized tragedies, especially involving young children, that public opinion is no longer so tolerant.
Twenty states have raised the legal drinking age to 21, reversing a trend in the 1960s to reduce it to 18. After New Jersey lowered it to 18, the number of people killed by 18-20-year-old drivers more than doubled, so the state recently upped it back to 21.
Reformers, however, fear raising the drinking age will have little effect unless accompanied by educational programs to help young people to develop “responsible attitudes” about drinking and teach them to resist peer pressure to drink.
Though new laws have led to increased arrests and tests and, in many areas already, to a marked decline in fatalities. Some states are also penalizing bars for serving customers too many drinks. A tavern in Massachusetts was fined for serving six or more double brandies to a customer who “obviously intoxicated” and later drove off the road, killing a nine-year-old boy.
As the fatalities continue to occur daily in every state, some Americans are even beginning to speak well of the 13 years of national prohibition of alcohol that began in 1919, what President Hoover called the “ noble experiment.” They forgot that legal prohibition didn’t stop drinking, but encouraged political corruption and organized crime. As with the booming drug trade generally, there is no easy solution.
1.Drunken driving had become a major problem in America because ___.
A.most Americans are heavy drinkers.
B.Americans are now less shocked by road accidents.
C.accidents attract so much publicity.
D.drinking is a socially accepted habit in America.
2.Why has public opinion regarding drunken driving changed?
A.Because detailed statistics are now available.
B.Because the news media have highlighted the problem.
C.Because judges are giving more severe sentences.
D.Because drivers are more conscious of their image.
3.Statistics issued in New Jersey suggested that ___.
A.many drivers were not of legal age.
B.young drivers were often bad drivers.
C.the level of drinking increased in the 1960s.
D.the legal drinking age should be raised.
4.Laws recently introduced in some states have ___.
A.reduced the number of convictions.
B.resulted in fewer serious accidents.
C.prevented bars from serving drunken customers.
D.specified the amount drivers can drink.
5.Why is the problem of drinking and driving difficult to solve?
A.Because alcohol is easily obtained.
B.Because drinking is linked to organized crime.
C.Because legal prohibition has already failed.
D.Because legislation alone is not sufficient.