Driving Under Influence

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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one person dies every 48 minutes due to a motorist driving under the influence of alcohol. This number equates to more than 10,000 people killed annually because due to drunk drivers. If the cost of human lives were not enough, more than 300,000 people are injured every year due to impaired drivers as well. This cost the American taxpayer more than 44 billion dollars each year. While drunk driving is not the only type of DUI, it is one of the more common and deadly. Almost 60% of driver fatalities involve drivers with alcohol or another substance in their system. Furthermore, nearly 20% of those drivers had both alcohol and other drugs in their system. People driving under the influence of alcohol, illicit and/or prescription drugs is an epidemic. In many cases, even after a driver has been convicted of a DUI, they continue to drive with a suspended license. If you have been injured in a car accident due to an impaired driver, contact a reputable personal injury attorney and schedule your free consultation today.

What is Driving Under the Influence?

Driving Under Influence

Driving under the influence is defined as “the offense of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol”. Each state has its own threshold for blood alcohol content (BAC) Though most people believe that this term (DUI) is only related to drunk driving, a driver can be convicted of a DUI for being under the influence of any drug that impairs their judgment and driving ability. The penalties for driving under the influence can include jail time, fines, license suspension, as well as being ordered to install an interlock ignition device. Unfortunately, it is estimated that drunk drivers operate a vehicle while under the influence more than 80 times before they are caught or an accident occurs.

Drunk Driving Statistics

Drunk drivers have negatively impacted the lives of countless people over the years. Being informed about the dangers of driving while under the influence may dissuade yourself and/or others from participating in this dangerous and potentially fatal activity. Listed below are some pertinent facts and stats about drunk driving in California as well as nationally.

  1. More than 800 people are injured every day due to a drunk driver.
  2. Children who begin drinking in their adolescence are seven times more likely to suffer a fatality due to driving while under the influence.
  3. Los Angeles has the most instances of drunk driving convictions in California with almost 37,000 misdemeanor and felony charges. Orange County comes in second place with slightly over 12,000 convictions.
  4. Of all fatal crashes, the largest percentage of people driving under the influence were between the ages of 21 to 24. Drivers between the ages of 25 and 34 represented 26 percent of all drunk driving related fatalities.
  5. More than 300,000 people drive drunk every day in the United States. Unfortunately, only 3,000 of them are arrested.
  6. Nearly 33% of motorist that are convicted or arrested for driving while drunk are repeat offenders.
  7. At least 22% of drivers have positively tested for illegal and legal drugs.
  8. Slightly under 20% of car-related fatalities involve a driver with illicit drugs other than alcohol in their system.
  9. Roughly 15% of all motorist involved in a car accident during the week are drunk. That number skyrockets to 28% on the weekends.
  10. More than 30% of all teens believe that their driving improves when they are under the influence of Marijuana.

These are all startling statistics. However, there is a silver lining. Since the 1980s, instances of drunk driving and fatalities due to DUI’s have been cut in half. There is still a lot of work to do. Learn more about avoiding the temptation to drive under the influence of any perception altering drug in the section below.

How to Avoid Driving Under Influence

After a rough day at the office or a night on the town with friends, it can be tempting to get drunk. Once drunk, your inhibitions are typically lowered and the likelihood of you picking up your keys and driving under influence of alcohol or any other substance used is significantly higher. Listed below, are some tips to help you avoid the potentially deadly pitfalls of driving under the influence of any substance.

  • Instead of driving, take public transportation if you are going to be under the influence
  • Get an Uber or Lyft instead of driving your own vehicle
  • Give someone that you trust your keys before you begin drinking
  • Do not binge drink
  • Stay with your friends or family overnight and drive home in the morning
  • Pace yourself and be conscious of how fast your particular body type will metabolize alcohol
  • Stop drinking well before you are about to leave. At least an hour and a half before
  • Choose a designated driver for the group

Additionally, it is imperative that you avoid other drunk drivers at all cost. Be more aware/alert during the night and especially on the weekends. If you see another driver making reckless maneuvers, immediately pull over and report them to the police.

What to do If You Have Been in an Accident

Getting into an accident can negatively impact your relationships, finances, work and most importantly your health. It can be even more infuriating to learn that the person that caused the accident was driving under the influence of alcohol, prescription or other illicit drugs. If you have been in an accident, ensure that you and anyone else involved is safe. Exchange information. If you notice that the other driver is impaired, take note of that and let the police know. Furthermore, when speaking to the police, be honest, but never admit fault. Seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you are not sure if you have been injured. Contact a reputable personal injury attorney. If you have been injured in a car accident involving a drunk driver, give the attorneys at Timothy J. Ryan & Associates a call to schedule your free consultation today.

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