DWI causes roughly 16,000 deaths each year. Each year non-reported DWI crashes cause one million injuries. Highest intoxication rates in fatal DWI crashes are among 21-24 year old drivers.
Impaired driving is the nation’s most frequently committed violent crime. Most people don’t consider it a crime to drink and drive. Each year drunk drivers cost the U.S. $45 billion in lost productivity, property damages, medical and other costs. The grief and personal loss they cause cannot be measured. They are the result of ignorance and poor judgment.
These crimes are avoidable
If you are pulled over on suspicion of DWI, the officer will require you to take a breathalyser, urine or coordination test. Any refusal to submit will be used against you at trial. For a complete review of state-by-state administrative laws, illegal BAC levels and sanctions, consult the NHTSA website, "Traffic Safety Facts."
In some states, hospitals can forward BAC levels of ER patients to the police, who would otherwise have no probable cause for arrest. Doctor-patient confidentiality is waived and police need not request the information.
Legislatively, on average 200 DWI-related bills are passed each year, and the Department of Transportation awards grant monies to encourage states to enact and enforce countermeasures and prevention programs, such as administrative license revocation, graduated licensing, programs to prevent alcohol sales to minors, sobriety checkpoints and programming to target high-risk populations.
Along with prevention programs, sanctions for repeat offenders have proliferated, including: electronic monitoring and home confinement, intensive supervision probation, license plate tagging, ignition interlock, special DWI incarceration facilities and stiffer fines and sentences for drivers with high BAC levels.
Coffee, cold showers, and other attempts to stimulate an intoxicated person for driving will only wake him up; they can’t sober him up. His blood alcohol concentration remains unchanged and his judgment remains impaired.
Only the PASSAGE OF TIME can reduce a BAC level at the rate of .02% BAC per hour.
The only way to insure that your driving is not impaired is to refrain from drinking or to designate a sober driver. If you are 21 or older and choose to drink, exercise responsible judgment: don’t drink if you intend to drive. Know how to protect others from poor decisions, and recognize impaired driving behaviors.