Drunk driving is one of the greatest dangers on the roads. Everyone knows alcohol can be lethal, especially when it involves getting behind the wheel. But just how bad is this problem?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 28 people are killed per day in the U.S. due to drunk driving. That is nearly one life lost every 52 minutes. It doesn’t take much for a drunk driver to cause a fatal crash.
While the federal legal limit for Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) in an adult driver is 0.08%, it is best practice to be educated on the specific DUI laws of one’s state before even thinking of getting behind the wheel. Anything on or above the legal BAC of a driver’s given state not only leaves the driver impaired with reduced judgment and reaction capabilities, but also at grave risk for a DUI conviction. Evidence such as the driver’s BAC and visual signs of incompetency, like swerving or slow driving, are often used as evidence for the driver’s mental condition.
Drunk Driving Factors
According to a 2021 study from NHTSA, young people are at the highest risk of driving drunk, in addition to prior offenders and motorcyclists. The majority of fatal crashes involving drunk driving involved drivers between the ages of 21 and 34.
Location is also a key factor, with Texas coming in with the highest amount of drunk driving fatalities, followed closely by California and Florida. Other states report considerably fewer alcohol-related fatalities, but predicting the location of an accident is very difficult.
In addition to age and location, the report also showed men involved in four times as many accidents tied to drunk driving and responsible for just over 80% of related deaths. Regardless of gender, location, or age, there are severe consequences for those caught driving under the influence.
Drunk Driving Consequences
The punishment for drinking and driving varies depending on location, and consequences can include fines, loss of license, confiscation or suspension, and jail time. Blood Alcohol Concentration, damages, and prior offenses are a few factors that determine punishment terms. Physical injury and fatalities can make a situation far more serious than those with minimal or no accident damage.
In addition to physical damages, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charges and damage costs leave drunk drivers in situations that are very difficult to recover from. Once DUI or DWI charges appear on someone’s record, a substantial increase in car insurance rates will follow.
DC DUI Attorney Shawn Sukumar of Price Benowitz Accident Injury Lawyers, LLP , suggests that “drivers who have been charged with an offense for drinking and driving should seek immediate assistance from a lawyer to limit possible damages.”
End Drunk Driving
The rates of drunk driving in the U.S. are far higher than anyone would like to see. As family and friends, it is vital to hold drivers accountable and prevent drunk driving in any situation. Recognizing the risks as a society is the first step to limiting severe and fatal accidents caused by alcohol-related impairment.
In an attempt to prevent someone from getting behind the wheel:
- Encourage people or choose to take alternative modes of transportation
- Plan around transportation when possible, and
- Educate children and loved ones of the risks
If you are the driver, do not get behind the wheel if you have been drinking. Drinking and driving is never worth it, and there is only one way to end it.