Drunk Driving Awareness and Prevention

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Every minute someone is injured from an alcohol-related crash. 50 to 75 percent of drunk drivers who have been convicted continue to drive even with a suspended license. In 2009 in the United States, approximately one-third of all traffic-related deaths were the result of alcohol-impaired driving crashes. Drunk driving is a problem with potentially deadly consequences for everyone involved, not just the drivers. What is being done to help rid the streets of this deadly hazard?

Prevention is a key part of ridding the streets of drunk drivers. There are several excellent prevention campaigns whose entire focus is to do just that. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration works with a variety of organizations to sponsor campaigns against impaired driving such as Zero Tolerance Means Zero Chances and Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk. The NHTSA website offers toolkits to help a variety of groups to arrange programs to make their communities safer from drunk drivers.

Some of the types of groups and organizations that provide resources on drunk driving include: community, criminal justice, educators, employers, hospitality, alcohol screening and brief intervention, military, motorcycle, prevention institute, sports and youth. Another famous campaign to eliminate drunk driving is MADD which stands for Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The current goals they are striving to achieve include: support of the law enforcement who can greatly help to keep the roads safe; requiring drunk drivers who have previously been convicted to take a breathalyzer test before they are able to drive (there are ignition interlock devices and in-car breathalyzers which will require the drunk driver to prove that they are sober or the car will not start); and making cars the cure by having future vehicles able to determine if a driver is above the legal alcohol limit and not being operational if they are.

Students Against Destructive Decisions (formerly known as Students Against Drunk Driving) is a wonderful organization which began with a mission of helping students to say no to drinking and driving. Now the organization emphasizes peer-to-peer learning, prevention and activism to help youth avoid making destructive decisions, especially: drinking when under age, utilizing other drugs, driving while impaired or risky driving, teen suicide, and teen violence.

Sobriety checkpoints (also known as DUI roadblocks) are utilized to try to prevent people from driving under the influence of alcohol. These checkpoints are merely temporary installations created by law enforcement to catch drivers who are driving while intoxicated. They stem from successful models such as license and registration inspections and roadside safety checks. When there is a sobriety checkpoint, officers can choose to stop each and every vehicle on the road or use a special pattern to determine which cars to prohibit. These checkpoints tend to be set up either very early in the morning or very late at night when the greatest percentage of drunk drivers are on the road. Officers at a checkpoint can ask to search your vehicle, request that you get out of the car and perform field sobriety tests or ask you to take a breath alcohol test. If you haven't been drinking, you should have nothing to worry about. One more method used to prevent drunk drivers from being on the road are designated drivers. This is a great way to get people who have consumed too much alcohol home safely without hurting themselves or anyone else. There are many different organizations and companies that will provide this service for a fee, or you can just ask a sober friend or relative to drive you home. Either way the roads will be safer for all.

Do you know what the difference is between a DUI and a DWI? The answer is nothing. DUI (driving under the influence) and DWI (driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired) are simply two different terms used in various states for the same offense. In every state in the U.S., it is illegal for someone to drive if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 percent or greater. Any person who is found to be operating a motor vehicle when their BAC is either at .08 percent or higher can be charged with a DWI or driving under the influence of alcohol. Driving while under the influence of certain drugs is also illegal. Though every state has one common law pertaining to drunk driving, each state has their own separate drunk driving laws regarding procedures and penalties. It is possible in some states to be convicted of a DUI or similar charge with a BAC lower than .08 percent. Individual state laws concern areas such as BAC levels, automatic license suspension, increased penalties for repeat offenders and ignition interlock devices. If you are convicted of a DUI you could face jail time and your automobile rates would increase. There are always new laws being implemented regarding drinking and driving such as increasing penalties in some states for underage drivers who have even a trace of alcohol found in their system. Some states have increased penalties for drivers whose BAC's are above a set amount such as .15 or greater. Increased penalties also exist in various states for drunk drivers who have a child in their car at the time or even adult passengers present.

Impairment of your driving skills begins with your very first drink. Commercial drivers can be charged with a DUI when they have a BAC of only .04 percent anywhere in the U.S. Every person is affected differently by alcohol. Many factors influence a person's blood alcohol level such as gender, age, amount of food eaten, physical condition and any medications or drugs they have taken. Even drinks vary in the amount of alcohol they have in them. If a woman has one regular 12-ounce beer and she weighs 160 pounds, her blood alcohol content will be approximately .03 percent. One more 12-ounce beer and her blood alcohol level doubles to .06 percent. If a man has one regular 12-ounce beer and weighs 160 pounds, his blood alcohol level will be approximately .02 percent. After another 12-ounce beer his level more than doubles to .05 percent. It doesn't take a lot of alcohol to get your BAC levels up. If an exact measurement of your blood alcohol level is necessary, a blood alcohol test will be needed. It is the most accurate manner in which to test a person's BAC and it requires a sample of blood. A breathalyzer is another method for testing BAC but merely estimates a person's level via a breath sample. The person blows into the breathalyzer device and is given a number which is referred to as the blood alcohol concentration. It only estimates the level of alcohol in the blood at the exact time the test was taken.

Drunk driving is a serious offense with potentially deadly consequences. The more education people of all ages receive on this subject and the more options that are available to help prevent drinking and driving, the safer the world will be. Keeping people who have been drinking from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle is vital in the prevention of devastating accidents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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