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Driving Under the Influence
The Reality of Impaired Driving
It’s not a question of whether you are legally intoxicated, it’s a question of whether or not it is safe for you to drive when you have consumed alcohol. Research shows that impairment begins long before a person reaches the blood alcohol concentration necessary to be guilty of driving under the influence.
The Legal Limit
In all 50 states, the legal limit for drunk driving is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08. A 120-pound female can reach this level of intoxication after only two drinks, and a 180-pound male can be at .08 after only four drinks. These numbers, however, are an average; alcohol affects every person differently. One drink may be enough to push some people over the legal limit. A “drink” is considered to be either one 1.5-ounce shot of hard liquor, one 12-ounce glass of beer, or one 5-ounce glass of wine.
At a .08 BAC level, drivers are so impaired that they are 11 times more likely to have a single-vehicle crash than drivers with no alcohol in their system. Although .08 is the legal limit, 25 years of research shows that some impairment begins for both males and females after only one drink. Is driving under the effect of alcohol worth the risk of getting in an accident?
With the many freedoms enjoyed by college students come many decisions; one of those is whether or not you are going to consume alcohol. This choice is not easy since the use of alcohol is considered a “rite of passage” on most college campuses. Closely related to this decision is the choice you will have to make about drinking and driving.
You can be contacted by a police officer for many reasons while you are driving a vehicle. You could be stopped for speeding or running a red light, for driving aggressively and dangerously, or for one of many equipment violations. Being pulled over is a way to enforce safety, and you will be fine unless you are driving under the influence.
“You’re Under Arrest”
If the officer who stops you believes that you are under the influence, you will be questioned. The officer will use a variety of roadside maneuvers to assess your current state of mind, and they may ask you to blow into a breathalyzer. If they believe you are too drunk to safely continue on the road they will arrest you and take you to a nearby center where more tests can be done, proving you to be under the influence or DUI. You may have to stay at this location overnight or until you are sober. You will be issued a court summons and will probably be forced to pay a number of fines as well as having your license suspended or revoked.
What You Should Do
Driving under the influence is dangerous and against the law. As a member of the community, you can help stop a drunk driver and possibly save a life. The following will help you in reporting a DUI to the local police:
- Be aware of a car that may be driven by a driver possibly under the influence.
- Keep your distance in order to be safe.
- Take note of the make, model, and color of the vehicle. Write down or memorize the license plate and state, if possible.
- Look at your surroundings. Notice your location and what direction the possibly DUI vehicle is going. Note the last intersection or landmark that you have passed.
- Call 911 and tell the dispatcher what you have witnessed and give them as much information as possible. Answer any questions they may ask you.
- Stay on the phone until the dispatcher says that it is okay for you to hang up or disconnect.
DUI Effects on Your Wallet
Cost of annual insurance increase: $3,000
DUI classes: $650
Towing and storage fee: $685
Fines and attorney fees: $4,000
DMV reinstatement fee: $100
Estimated minimum total: $8,435*
These fees do not include the medical and/or emotional costs to you or others if you are in an accident.
Can you imagine how this can affect you getting a decent job? Getting into college or graduate school? Spending way too much on car insurance? And, time spent wasted away, delaying or preventing you from reaching your goals.
* The information above is an average and each individual case will vary.
DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE
If you drink and drive
you will end up in jail.