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Drunk Driving Facts and Statistics

Every day, all across the United States, more than thirty people die, and countless others are injured in alcohol related accidents. It seems as if each time you turn on the news or read the paper, you hear about another tragic accident that could have been prevented. The problem of alcohol impaired driving in the US is quite a big issue, and everyone is at risk, even those innocent people that might be on the road when an impaired driver is around. Many of the facts and statistics involved with drunk or impaired driving are shocking, as well as the yearly cost of alcohol related accidents, which equals more than fifty billion dollars. However there are effective measures that can be taken to prevent drunk driving accidents, and needless deaths.

Drunk driving laws vary by state however all states will measure your blood alcohol content (BAC), to determine if you are an impaired driver, and in all fifty states if your BAC is .08 or above you are considered to be driving while intoxicated. BAC is the concentration, or level of alcohol in one’s blood, and is measured in numerous ways. The number of drinks that an individual has consumed is not an accurate measure of BAC because of differences in weight, body fat, and sex. Blood alcohol content can be measured with a Breathalyzer test. Breathalyzer tests do not measure the actual amount of alcohol in one’s blood, that has to be done by performing a blood analysis for which you would have to have blood drawn. Instead, a Breathalyzer measures the amount of alcohol on one’s breath which is then used as a measure to determine your BAC. Breathalyzer tests are a quite accurate measure of one’s BAC.

If you are caught drinking and driving, depending on the state you are in, and the amount of alcohol in your system there can be severe legal consequences. While penalties for drunk driving vary by state, there is one law that all states have in common, the zero tolerance laws. The zero tolerance laws mean that anyone under the age of 21 caught driving with a BAC of .01 (.02 in some states) or greater, will automatically have their license suspended. If you are caught driving under the influence, you will be charged with a misdemeanor and can face up to a year in jail, however if your drunk driving results in the serious injury or death of another person, you can be charged with a felony ranging from felony DUI (driving under the influence) to vehicular manslaughter or vehicular homicide. Many states are now implementing a new law where if you are convicted of drunk driving three times within seven years you can be charged with second degree murder, even if your driving under the influence did not result in someone’s death, you can still be charged with murder for exhibiting a reckless indifference to the lives of others.

There are studies being done constantly on the topic of drunk driving, and drinking in general, and many of those studies reveal some alarming results. The following are some of the most shocking facts and statistics about alcohol:

  • The majority of people arrested on their first drunk driving charge have driven drunk approximately 87 times prior to their arrest.
  • Somewhere between 50 and 75 percent of people that have had their license suspended for drunk driving continue to drive.
  • At some point in their lifetime, approximately three out of ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol related accident.
  • On average, in the United States, someone is killed by a drunk driver every forty minutes.
  • The average blood alcohol content of injured drunk drivers is .16.
  • The rate of impairment of drivers involved in fatal accidents was four times higher at night than during the day.

There are effective measures that can be taken to prevent alcohol related injuries and deaths. The utilization of sobriety checkpoints has proven to prevent drunk driving, as well as the strict enforcement of DUI laws. Many states also require mandatory substance abuse assessment and treatment, such as entering an (alcohol rehabilitation) facility. If you think you have an alcohol problem, it is important to seek (alcohol treatment) before you make a bad decision. There are also many school and community-based organizations, such as MADD, and educational programs that deal with the prevention of drunk driving, however the decision to be smart and responsible ultimately comes down to each individual who chooses to consume alcohol.

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