Strategies to Prevent Drunk Driving

Alcohol can have a variety of effects on a driver. It can affect the driver’s hand-eye-foot coordination, reaction time, and comprehension skills, which are all important aspects in the act of driving. If a driver’s physical and mental capabilities are compromised, he or she is not the only one in danger of traffic accidents and injuries, but also the other unsuspecting motorists around.

For this reason, driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal. Getting arrested for driving drunk has consequences, such as fines that can reach thousands of dollars, suspension of license, and even jail time. Still, many people drive while intoxicated, as if they do not fear the consequences.

DUI Laws
One way to prevent drunk driving is by having laws against it and ensuring their proper implementation. There are legal blood alcohol content levels that vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Typically, the threshold is at 0.08%. Those who have a BAC at 0.08% or higher may be arrested for drunk driving.

DUI can be considered a misdemeanor or a felony. How an offense can be determined to be a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the jurisdiction. But generally, the offense is elevated to a felony when a person has been injured.

Sobriety Checkpoints
Sobriety checkpoints are strategic locations where law officers stop vehicles and check whether their drivers are impaired in any way. By having sobriety checkpoints, there is more reason for drivers to avoid drunk driving, because arrest becomes a more and more viable consequence.

Fines and Penalties
Fines and penalties vary, depending on the jurisdiction. Most of the time, the severity of fines and penalties depends on how many times the driver has committed the offense and how bad the offense is, taking into consideration the BAC level, injury, property damage, and other important factors.

Fines can reach hundreds or thousands of dollars. Penalties may include license suspension or revocation reaching up to 10 years. There are instances where the revocation is even permanent. Jail time is also not out of the question.

Ignition Interlocks
Ignition interlocks are devices that are put into the offender’s car to measure his or her blood alcohol content through breath. If the BAC reaches a certain threshold, the vehicle won’t start. Usually, the threshold is at 0.02%.

The hassles of ignition interlocks can prevent repeated offenses, and the idea that ignition interlocks exist is also a good way to deter drivers from driving while intoxicated.


The Facts On No Refusal Weekends

“No refusal weekends” is a program set up by law enforcement to assist in the prosecution of drunk drivers. Created around the year 2000 in order to eliminate refusing a breathalyzer as a method of avoiding a DUI, “no refusal weekends” give officers an expedited method of obtaining a warrant for a blood test.

States with “no refusal” programs have particular arrangements with judges and magistrates. These officials are on call, ready to sign warrants in real time granting officers the proper legal right to conduct a blood test in the field. In contrast, states without this program require a lengthy warrant process to conduct a legal blood test.

The effect of the “no refusal” program has been to reduce not only the number of breathalyzer refusals, but also the number of DUIs overall. Before the program was implemented, the average refusal rate was around nineteen percent. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rates in some Texas counties such as Montgomery approached fifty percent. This means that one in every two drivers suspected of driving drunk were refusing to be breath test, creating a huge impediment to officers. After the program was put in place, 12 DWI suspects refused to submit to a breath test and went through the warrant process. Blood tests showed all to be well above the statutory limit, with an average of .19 BAC. Additionally, the refusal rate dropped from the original fifty percent to a groundbreaking ten percent.

The results of this program have been substantial. The Benton Law Firm reports that this [No Refusal Weekends] has had a tremendous impact at curbing drunk driving accidents during major holiday weekends such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July.