Hand Over the Keys

Being an adult, and of legal age to drink comes with responsibility to yourself and everyone else on the road. With thousands of lives being taken away yearly by alcohol-related crashes, it is important to be aware of how alcohol affects your judgement and how this can lead to fatalities. Everyone has been in the position before where your enjoying your night out with friends and as the night winds down, you are faced with a life altering decision: do I get behind the wheel or call an Uber? It is this exact moment that separates responsible people from those who use poor judgement. This decision can be life or death. Which will you choose?

How does alcohol impair driving?

Alcohol affects your vision, judgement, and coordination tremendously – the three things that are necessary to drive safely. Reaction time is crucial when driving, especially at night when it is dark and headlights can blind and skew our vision. Additionally, if alcohol affects your judgement of speed and distance, how are you supposed to drive carefully and aware of your surroundings? After looking at the effects alcohol has on judgement, it is almost impossible to understand the intent of driving drunk. There is no amount of money that could be saved on a taxi or Uber that is worth your life to drive after drinking.

What are the repercussions for drunk driving?

The drunk driving consequences range from state to state but some states have harsher punishments than others to curb this behavior. For example, in Arizona, if your BAC is between .08 and .15 (http://www.orentcriminallaw.com/dui/) you could risk between one day to 6 months in jail along with counseling and a hefty fine around $750. Additionally, in many states, you could have your license suspended and be forced to use a driving interlock. A driving interlock (http://dui.drivinglaws.org/resources/dui-and-dwi/the-consequences-a-dui-conviction.htm) is basically a device used to prohibit driving unless you breathe into an alcohol breathalyzer and pass the test. If there are prior DUI convictions, then the consequences can get significantly more intense.

How many people does drunk driving affect?

The scary thing about drunk driving is that even if you aren’t the person drinking, you could be involved in a crash due to another driver’s inability to make proper judgements. One in three (http://www.drive-safely.net/drunk-driving-facts/) people will be involved in an alcohol induced automobile crash in their lifetime – that is 33% of the population that will either put other’s lives in danger or simply be a victim of a crash due to alcohol. An average drunk driver has driven drunk 87 times before an initial arrest, this could be a contributing reason why in 2008, alcohol impaired driving accidents that ended in death composed for 32% of all vehicle fatalities in the United States.

How do I protect myself from drunk driving?

Know your limits – if you are going out to dinner with friends and you know you need to drive home, limit yourself to a glass or two of wine. Be smart, if you are considering having a few more drinks on your night out, step outside and call an Uber, that’s what they are there for! What is more important, getting home safely and spending $20 on a comfortable ride home or risking your life and others, along with potential fines and jail time to drive home drunk?

Author's Name: Alexa Martin

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