Drunk driving continues to be a prevalent problem in the US especially with younger people. Currently those ages 21-34 are the most responsible for fatal drunk driving accidents than any other age group. Today there exists countless organizations looking to bring awareness to the issue, such as MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and FADD (Fathers Against Drunk Driving). Despite severe consequences such as DUI’s many people in America continue to put themselves and others at risk by getting behind the wheel after drinking.
What is DUI?
DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence. Studies show that most people will drive 87 times drunk before their first DUI arrest. Although the penalty laws vary from state to state, a driver is considered over the legal limit of alcohol if he or she has a Blood Alcohol Content of over 0.08. For minors, there is a zero tolerance policy, meaning a BAC of anything over 0.01 will result in DUI. Most drivers arrested for DUI have an average BAC of 0.16. In California a first time offense can result in:
- Fines as high as $1300
- Suspended License for up to 6 months
- Jail time (depending on circumstance)
- Probation for 3-5 years
- DUI school
- Higher car insurance premiums
Second time offenders can have their driver’s license suspended for 2 years. Those with 2 or more DUI offenses will often be court mandated to drug and alcohol treatment, AA meetings or sent to jail. However, 50 to 75 percent of people with a DUI will continue to drive on a suspended license.
The Dangers of Drunk Driving in America
Approximately 16,000 people a year will die of a drunk driving related accident in the United States. 1 in 3 Americans will be involved in an alcohol related crash in their lifetime. Alcohol impairs the function of the brain and many do not realize they are too drunk to drive before getting in their vehicle. While drunk, drivers experience delayed response time and are less likely to observe traffic signals. Even one drink can impair driving skills. The largest number of drunk driving fatalities occurs on the Thanksgiving holiday.
Many teenagers binge drink and then get behind the wheel drunk. Often teens are unable to control the amount they drink or succumb to peer pressure. Like adults, alcohol can make adolescents feel overly confident and drive their car even when people tell them they’ve had too much to drink. Car crashes are the leading cause for death among teens and one in three crashes is alcohol related. More than 3,000 teens die from alcohol related car accidents. Groups like MADD and FADD work hard to bring awareness to the public about the consequences of drunk driving. The organization Every 15 Minutes raises awareness to high school students with their program designed to reenact the dangers of drinking and driving.