Sobering Facts You May Not Know About Drunk Driving
Drunk driving is a serious offense, with numerous accidents and deaths resulting from the decisions of a few people. All it takes is just one person making one bad decision to ruin the lives of multiple people. That’s why it’s so important that everyone knows the risks and facts of drunk driving that you may not want to hear.
The Dangers of Drunk Driving
First things first, you should know the dangers of drunk driving and how it can impact the lives of so many people around the world. From fatal crashes to horrific injuries, people get hurt every day by drunk drivers taking to the road. Additionally, the punishments that come from drunk driving can follow you around for years after the accident.
Rates of Drunk Accidents
While the exact number does change depending on your state and the year, nearly 30% of all fatal accidents every year involve at least one person who was driving while under the influence. This means that one of the drivers had a blood alcohol content of .08 or more when the accident took place.
Deaths Every Year
To put this in another term, 2020 had a death rate of 1 person every 45 minutes that died in a drunk driving accident, with the exact number sitting at 11,654 deaths in the year 2020 and the average deaths of 10,500 for the last 10 years before 2020. These statistics come from the NHTSA or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
One of the worst facts that comes from the death rates of drunk driving is that car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens. Around 29% of drivers from the ages of 15-20 who died had some alcohol in their systems.
Affects More Than the Drivers
It’s important to remember that these horrible accidents are the result of one person’s decision to drive under the influence. The deaths of people in other vehicles and innocent bystanders who follow the law entirely fall on the shoulders of the person who was driving while drunk.
Punishments for Drunk Driving
While it’s important to know the effects of drunk driving, knowing the punishments if you’re caught driving while under the influence can be a great motivator to drive sober. These punishments can occur whether you get in an accident or an officer pulls you over.
Every state has laws in place that punish those who drink while driving, but those punishments can vary drastically depending on your state. While there are some common threads, like the definition of drunk driving and the most severe punishment, there are some differences that you should look in your own state.
Misdemeanor to Felony
Most states don’t define drunk driving as just a misdemeanor or a felony, as they classify the crime depending on the severity of the incident. Riskier behavior will lead to a higher and more serious charge when it comes to the courts. Common causes for increased charges are higher BAC and erratic driving while on the road.
Above or Below Threshold
It’s important that you know that every state can set different thresholds for what qualifies for driving under the influence as long as it matches the national requirements. This means that some states have a different threshold for drunk driving. However, anyone under the legal drinking age cannot have any alcohol, even if it’s under the state threshold; this is often called a zero-tolerance policy.
One of the most common punishments that comes with an indictment of driving while under the influence is a temporary or permanent suspension of the offender’s driver’s license. The severity of the punishment depends on the state’s laws, but sometimes you can get your license back after fulfilling certain requirements and waiting the required time.
Not only do you put yourself at risk of losing your license by drunk driving, but you also have to pay significant fines for the crime. While the fine amount depends on the state and severity of the crime, it can be anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
Most states also have the potential to mandate jail time if the courts find you guilty of driving while under the influence. Some states don’t require time in prison, but some have the potential of jailing you for several months to a year. Some states have a minimum jail time as well, so you must serve some time in these states if you drink and drive.
Special punishments exist in several states, but they’re still not popular across the whole country. These are specific to some states, so you may not see them in action in your own state if you do drive under the influence. But they’re still powerful tools to punish those who drive while drunk.
Ignition Interlock Devices
Ignition interlock devices are a newer technology that can bind to your vehicle’s engine. These devices prevent the vehicle from starting unless you utilize a breathalyzer to ensure that you aren’t driving under the influence. More and more states are starting to use these devices as they help limit driving accidents across the country.
Another punishment is the SR-22 or FR-44, which are two separate types of forms you may require to get your license back after a conviction of driving while drunk. These forms require that you have a certain level of insurance that imposes higher-than-normal state requirements. This means you’ll need to pay more in insurance premiums, as you need to acquire SR-22 auto insurance.
Every Accident Is Preventable
If you take just one fact away from this information on drunk driving, it should be that all these incidents are completely preventable. Anyone who drives while under the influence is making a choice and putting everyone else at risk because of it. They could choose not to drive and potentially save a lot of lives because of it.
These are the main facts that you should know when it comes to people who drive while under the influence. From severe punishment to the risks of driving while having alcohol in your system, you should now better understand what’s at risk if you ever drive under the influence.