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Drinking And Driving

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What possesses a person to get behind the drivers’ seat of a car and drive intoxicated? This question is always asked whenever a drunk driver is involved in a drinking and driving incident. Many people drink and drive without thinking about the consequences. The majority of fatal car crashes are caused by alcohol related incidents. Of all traffic fatalities in the United States in 2005, 39% of traffic related accidents were alcohol related (Alcohol Alert, 2006). Driving while intoxicated puts drivers and others lives at risk. Drinking and driving do not mix and the consequences can be prevented. A simple solution can be by simply having designated drivers to help keep drunk drivers off the road.

All 50 states have a designated blood alcohol concentration level. This blood alcohol concentration level is determined when a person is legally drunk. A person is not permitted to operate a vehicle when this limit is reached. The limit for all 50 states for the blood alcohol concentration level is .08. 43 states and the District of Columbia have strict laws that prohibit the driver and the passengers from possessing an open container of alcohol in the passenger compartment of a vehicle (DUI and DWI Laws, 2007).

Drinking alcohol can have many side effects on a person. Every person’s body will react differently to alcohol absorption. Alcohol begins to be absorbed into a person’s bloodstream within one to two minutes after an alcoholic beverage is consumed. After consuming alcohol it accumulates in the bloodstream. Intoxication usually occurs when an individual drinks alcohol faster than the liver can oxidize it. While the percentage of alcohol in the blood increases, the more a person becomes intoxicated (Hanson, 2007). Remember that only time can sober a person who has been drinking. Always remember that this is a slow process.

The more a person drinks, the more their ability to make crucial driving decisions becomes impaired. After just one drink, a driver can begin to lose their ability to perform the tasks necessary to drive a car: braking, steering, changing lanes, and using judgment to adjust to changing road conditions. At a certain point, a driver will become legally intoxicated and can be arrested for attempting to operate a motor vehicle (Drinking and Driving Data, 2007).

There are many preventative measures that an individual can take if he or she must drive after drinking. Make sure while drinking they are consuming food. If an individual eats before while he or she is drinking it will help slow the absorption rate of the alcohol in the body. Whenever an individual is drinking make sure to sip on alcohol instead of drinking rapidly. The faster a person drinks, the faster the alcohol is consumed in the body. Whenever drinking make sure to always know the body’s limit. Never participate in chugging contests or drinking games. Always remember to accept a drink when a drink is wanted. Never take a forced drink from someone. Switch between non-alcoholic drinks and alcoholic drinks that will help keep the blood alcohol content level down. This spaces out the body and keeps drinks controlled. Always keep active and do not just sit around and drink. Keeping the body active will make an individual drink less and be aware of how the body is reacting to the alcohol. Make sure to beware of unfamiliar drinks and drink responsibly when consuming alcohol (Hanson, 2007).

Many consequences follow when an individual decides to drink and drive. Legal consequences can include penalties, criminal record, high insurance premiums, license suspension, and jail time. The penalties are strict when it comes to a conviction for driving while intoxicated. The first offence for driving while intoxicated is a minimum fine of $600 and a minimum one year driving prohibition. A second offence requires a minimum jail sentence of 14 days and a minimum driving prohibition of two years. Third offences require a minimum jail sentence of 90 days and a driving prohibition of at least three years. Usually when four or more offences occur, an individuals license is permanently revoked and the no possibility of reinstatement (Jourard, 2007). Depending upon where an individual resides will determine the consequences of his or her actions. When a person is convicted of a dui or dwi, a criminal record of the individuals behavior is recorded. Obtaining a job or traveling can be hard due to the negative information on a person’s background. Most people are aware when convicted of a dui or dwi, that it is a possibility one’s insurance premiums will sky rocket. Every insurance company has its own guidelines and will make sure to inform individuals of the charges. A person’s license can be suspended and the possibility of reinstatement is not always possibly. The cost of reinstating a suspended license for a dui can range in price from $300 to $1000 depending upon what state an individual resides in. According to Jourard (2007), first offenders and repeat offenders must be assessed and finish an 8 hour education program or 16 hours



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