Don't Drink and Drive
Young drivers hear a message throughout every stage of their initial drivers training. That message is: "don't drink and drive." Adult drivers hear the same message; although it may not be so blunt, depending on the source of the message, for example, they may hear something like "Please drink responsibly."
That phrase can be interpreted many different ways, but in the end, the different sources are trying to send the same message: don't drink and drive. Obviously, what they are saying is that a person should not drive after drinking; to use good judgment.
There is a reason the message is repeated. Every 30 minutes, someone is killed in an alcohol-related crash.
In all 50 states, it is against the law to drive while intoxicated. The legal limit of alcohol content in the bloodstream is 0.08, but studies have shown that even a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.02 can affect a person's vision, concentration or reaction time, all of which are important to driving ability.
According to the National Highway Safety Administration's "Traffic Safety Facts" Report, published in 2004: in 2003 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that 34 percent of all traffic deaths occurred in crashes in which at least one driver or non-occupant had a BAC of 0.08 percent or more and that some alcohol was present in 40 percent of all fatal crashes and all traffic fatalities.
There are different penalties for young drivers and for adult drivers, if they are stopped for suspicion of intoxication. For an adult, the penalty includes a suspension of their license for a period that varies by state. For drivers under the age of 21, the penalty may be a suspension of their driving privileges for at least one year, possibly until they are 21, depending on the state.
There are things a person can do if they have been drinking (or know they will be drinking) to prevent themselves from driving while intoxicated. These things include:
- Call a cab.
- If the destination is nearby, walk home.
- Have a designated driver before drinking. Give them the keys before drinking.
Things that won't work:
- Drinking coffee
- Waiting for it to wear off (see the effects of alcohol here)
No matter how much a person drinks, or how it appears they can "hold their liquor," no one should drive after drinking, because they put others at risk every time they settle into a car. If you don't drink and drive, you just might save a life.