One out of three – Those are the odds you and every other American have of being involved in an alcohol related car crash sometime in your life.
Drunk driving accidents injure someone every two minutes; worse, every 30 minutes, they kill someone. Each one of those injuries and deaths is preventable; but, the consequences of drunk driving continue to worry us.
Over 97% of Americans view drunk driving as a threat to their lives and families. Unfortunately, most of us are aware of what can happen to the victims of drunk drivers.
But what are the consequences of drunk driving for the person behind the wheel? Assuming the alcohol impaired driver is still alive at the end of the night, he faces serious legal action and punishment.
Law enforcement officers will first determine the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) through a breath, blood or urine test. A breathscan kit is usually the quickest way for police to take an accurate measure of the driver’s BAC.
If a drinking driver’s BAC is over the legal limit of 0.08, his driver’s license may be suspended or revoked for anywhere from a week to years. Vehicle sanctions may require the offender’s car include a specially marked license plate or even an interlock device that prevents the car from starting unless the driver passes a breathscan test. The car may even be impounded, confiscated, or sold.
A convicted drunk driver also faces fines (sometimes in the thousands of dollars), jail time, increased insurance costs, attorney fees, court costs, lost time from work, and other penalties that vary from state to state.
Zero tolerance laws are even tougher on underage drunk drivers. Young adults, under 21 years of age, can lose their license for a full year if they are found to have consumed even a small amount of alcohol. If a person under age 21 is tested and found to be over the legal limit of 0.08, he can be arrested, convicted of drunk driving and tried as an adult.
Though drunk drivers face punishments as serious as jail time, the consequences of their actions do not generally deter them from getting behind the wheel. One out of three of us will eventually get in their way.
Some ways to help:
- Don’t drink and drive and don’t let friends do it either.
- Become a designated driver.
- Become an advocate of breath alcohol testing. Ask bar owners, restaurants, clubs, schools and even employers to make a small investment in a coin operated breath analyzer. These simple to use and inexpensive devices may be the last chance for some people to decide whether or not to drive after drinking.
For one out of three of us, these could be life saving solutions.
Learn more about drunk driving here.