Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a crime that can have devastating effects on both the driver and other vehicles on the road. Drivers who are found guilty of this crime may face serious criminal and civil charges.
Knowing the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol, as well as the consequences and how to prevent it can help drivers to stay safe.
What is Driving Under The Influence(DUI)
DUIs are also referred to as driving while intoxicated or operating while intoxicated. This is a serious criminal offense with serious consequences. DUIs make it illegal for a driver under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08% or above to operate a vehicle.
DUIs can apply to any motor vehicle, such as:
- Golf carts
Cars and motorcycles are the most common areas where DIUs are detected and serve the greatest danger to drivers and others on the road.
Even if a driver is below the legal limit, driving with alcohol in one’s system can still be dangerous. With a blood alcohol content as low as 0.01 percent, drivers can start to have side effects that can seriously impair their driving abilities.
Dangers of Driving Under The Influence
Reduced Concentration and Slow Reaction Time
When a driver has alcohol in their system, it directly affects their ability to respond to potentially dangerous situations such as random animals on the road, a car in front stops suddenly, objects falling off a truck, or pedestrians along the road.
When driving under the influence of alcohol, it takes longer to process situations with a delay in reaction time, which can lead to accidents or injuries.
Those that have ever been under the influence of alcohol will know that it directly affects their judgment. An individual who is under the influence behind the wheel can be highly dangerous as intoxication directly affects the part of one’s brain responsible for judgment and rational thinking.
As alcohol lowers inhibitions and causes individuals to make decisions without considering the consequences, someone who is under the influence may decide that they are okay to drive.
Impaired Hand and Eye Coordination
Alcohol affects the body’s nervous system and impairs motor skills, meaning that a drunk driver has less hand, eye, and foot coordination compared to a sober driver. When driving under the influence of alcohol some vital coordination that is needed to operate a vehicle safely is impaired causing an immediate risk of danger.
Increased Chance Of an Accident
The risk of an accident is increased by drinking because of factors such as:
- Impaired motor skills
- Less concentration
- Slow reaction times
- Decreased vision
- Poor judgment
These side effects put the driver, as well as potential passengers, other vehicles on the road, and pedestrians at risk of danger.
Consequences of DUI
When looking at what are the consequences of driving under the influence, one immediately thinks of an accident or injury. Though these are the most severe of consequences, multiple implications need to be noted.
Drivers who are found guilty of a DIU may have legal, financial, personal, and professional consequences which can include the following:
- Suspension of one’s license for a length of time that may be up to a year. When a driver is guilty of multiple convictions, a revocation of their license can also be implemented.
- Drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) could have their licenses suspended for a longer period and the employers of drivers with a CDL could also be liable for the actions of the driver. As a result, the driver’s future employment may also be directly impacted.
- Jail time.
- Fees and fines will need to be paid.
- A driver may be required to install an ignition interlock device on their car. If this device detects alcohol, it will prevent the driver from operating the vehicle.
- Possible job loss or restrictions regarding operating company vehicles.
- Those who are convicted of a DUI might have to deal with higher insurance rates.
- If a driver sustains injuries in an auto accident as a result of drunk driving, depending on the laws of the state, the driver’s insurance company may deny payment for treatment of their injuries.
How To Prevent Drunk Driving?
Have A Designated Driver
If one knows that one will be consuming alcohol when going out, arranging a designated driver is a safe option to prevent drunk driving. A designated driver is someone who abstains from drinking to ensure that they can drive others safely.
A designated driver can be a friend in one’s group or a family member that is willing to be called for a safe lift home when the end of the night is reached.
Call For A Ride
Driving safely has been made easily accessible with driving services such as Uber or Lyft, which allows individuals to have a driver pick them up and drive them safely to their destination. Simply installing the app on one’s phone, creates a safe option if there is no one else to call.
Know Personal Limits
When drivers learn to know their limits, it helps to navigate a safe day or evening out that may include drinking. It can also be helpful to do some self-reflection regarding one’s drinking habits by asking questions such as:
- Why am I drinking so much when I go out?
- Is drinking a crutch for my social anxiety?
- Has drinking when I’m out to become a habit?
One might also want to try having some sober nights out or practice moderation by occasionally volunteering to be the designated driver for others that may need it. If one has doubts about their ability to drive safely, then they shouldn’t be driving at all.
Leyba Defense: DUI Legal Experts
With multiple ways to prevent driving under the influence, there is no excuse for one to become involved in this dangerous situation.