DUI Prevention and Information for Drivers
Driving under the influence -- DUI -- is one of the most dangerous things a motorist can do. Not only does it risk the lives of the driver and others, it also has lasting legal repercussions. In most states, DUI leads to a long-term loss of the offender's license, even if no one was harmed in the incident. In all states of the U.S., a driver who has a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher is above the legal limit! Depending on your size and other factors, that can be just two drinks. However, drivers have impaired motor skills and judgment long before they are "legally drunk."
It can be difficult for someone to tell if they are "legally drunk." If you have been drinking, then the best thing to do is to call a cab or use a designated driver to help you get home safely. If you know that these options will not be available to you, be aware of how long you plan to be out and stop drinking more than an hour before you will be behind the wheel. Do not drink any hard liquor or more than one glass of wine on an evening you plan to drive, even if you have "plenty of time." If someone else is intoxicated, call them a cab or offer them a ride home.
When it comes to DUI, kids take their cues from adults. It is important to demonstrate highly responsible behavior in front of any young person you care about. Never allow a child to ride with someone who is intoxicated, whether that person is the driver or a passenger. The sooner that children realize that driving under the influence is not acceptable, the more likely that lesson is to help them make responsible choices about drinking in their adult lives. Remember that if DUI involves a child, it can be considered child endangerment and the child may be taken away.
New drivers in their teens are somewhat more likely than older adults to engage in risky behavior around substance use and driving. Young people not only tend to drink faster than adults, but can also become intoxicated more quickly, and cannot necessary make accurate judgments about their driving ability under unusual conditions. Teens should never be allowed or encouraged to drive under the influence, and if you learn that a teen in your care has done so, it is a good idea to suspend driving privileges and take other actions to ensure responsible behavior in the future.
Texting while driving has recently displaced DUI as the most common factor in road accidents among younger drivers. It is extremely likely that accidents involving distracted driving will lead to permanent injury or death. Although texting while driving is the most common form of distracted driving, it is not the only one. Carrying on a conversation, listening to music, operating dashboard controls, or applying makeup can create a distraction. A relatively minor-seeming distraction can create impairment comparable to DUI!
Thanks to a number of aggressive education campaigns, DUI is in decline in most states across the United States. Between 1982 and 2012, the number of fatalities attributed to DUI declined by about 64%. However, alcohol-related death is still a very substantial risk for motorists in all 50 states: Deaths involving alcohol accounted for about 31% of all vehicle deaths in 2012. Other factors that contributed to vehicle deaths include distracted driving, driving under poor road conditions such as heavy rain and fog or during the night, and fatigued driving.
Newer drivers are much more likely than experienced drivers to be challenged by dangerous driving situations. While most new drivers are in their middle or late teens, mature adults can also be new drivers. In either case, it is important to drive defensively until a new driver gains confidence on the road and the ability to adapt to changing conditions quickly. Defensive driving simply means that a driver should go out of their way to be alert to what other drivers are doing, avoid risky situations at all times, and devote full concentration to the road.
No matter how careful and conscientious one is, it may be necessary at some point to seek legal representation. Whether for a DUI or other situation, you should ideally speak to a lawyer about your issue before you speak to the police or anyone else involved in the problem. Even if you are confident that you are not at fault, a lawyer can help protect your rights by taking over tasks related to communicating with the authorities. Contacting a lawyer promptly will help you provide them with the information they may need about the situation and what you remember.