The Consequences of Drunk Driving: Fines, Criminal Records & Injuries

In 1999, researchers conducted a nationwide, random telephone survey of 5,733 adults age 16 and older to collect information about drinking and driving behavior and attitudes, and enforcement of drinking and driving laws (Royal 2000). The most harmful event in fatal crashes also varied considerably according to driver BAC (see table 6). Among drivers in fatal crashes who had a zero BAC, only 10 percent experienced a vehicle overturn and only 10 percent struck a fixed object. In contrast, among drivers with BACs of 0.15 percent or higher, 28 percent experienced a vehicle overturn and 33 percent struck a fixed object (NHTSA 2003a). In 2002, 39 percent of deaths of motorists in automobiles were alcohol related (7,954 out of 20,416), compared with 42 percent of deaths of motorists in vans or light trucks (5,148/12,182), and 44 percent of motorcycle deaths (1,422/3,244).

Drunk Driving Is Deadly

Additionally, you may need to obtain an SR-22 document to verify you have purchased auto liability insurance. Your state legislature and governor make the laws regarding distracted driving. Many states now have laws against texting, talking on a cell phone, and other distractions while driving. You can visit the Governors Highway Safety Association to learn about the laws in your state. NHTSA leads the national effort to save lives by preventing this dangerous behavior. Researchers and lawmakers are recognizing the vital need for increased research on women’s health.

If You Feel Different, You Drive Different – Drive High, Get a DUI

  • As a result of drinking, your driving ability to react to traffic, pedestrians, traffic lights and weather events can be compromised.
  • Because most drivers in alcohol-related fatal crashes have not recently been convicted for drinking and driving, efforts to screen, diagnose, and treat alcohol problems outside the criminal justice system are also needed.
  • The DOT study mentions other transportation reasons as well, such as not wanting to leave a vehicle somewhere or having to retrieve it the next day (4).
  • More than half the respondents thought it would be at least somewhat likely that they would be stopped by the police if they drove after having too much to drink.
  • Among drivers in fatal crashes who had a zero BAC, only 10 percent experienced a vehicle overturn and only 10 percent struck a fixed object.
  • Further, the higher the BAC of drivers in fatal crashes, the greater their likelihood of a prior conviction (NHTSA 2003a).
  • Effective enforcement of drink–driving laws requires a significant amount of police time for conducting and processing random breath-testing activities and sobriety checkpoints, and resources  are  required  in  the  judicial system to process cases.

In contrast, 15 percent of zero-BAC drivers in fatal crashes were speeding (NHTSA 2003a,d). The BACs of drivers in fatal crashes were also related to driving behaviors that contributed to the fatal crash consequences of drinking and driving (see table 5). For example, only 23 percent of zero-BAC drivers in fatal crashes failed to keep in their lane or ran off the road, compared with 58 percent of drivers with BACs of 0.15 percent or higher.

Drunk driving statistics and basics

  • Keep in mind that we are talking about first-time offenses here; for second and third offenses, the cost of a DUI conviction is likely to be at least double that figure.
  • Impaired driving can cause accidents that lead to paralysis, disfigurement, brain damage, and death.
  • While the penalties in each state are different, here are some examples of the penalties a person might face for a first, second, and third DUI.
  • In cases of alcohol-related traffic fatalities, however, blood testing must be used to estimate alcohol levels.

Trends are reported based both on surveys of drivers stopped at random while driving and on records of alcohol-related fatal crashes. Thirteen percent of the respondents were diagnosed as having been alcohol dependent at some point in their lives. This group represented 65 percent of those who had ever been in a motor vehicle crash because of having too much to drink (based on self-report) and 72 percent of those who had been in alcohol-related crashes during the year prior to the interview. Clearly, people who meet established alcohol dependence criteria are disproportionately involved in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes, accounting for approximately two-thirds of motor vehicle crashes involving alcohol (Hingson et al. 2002). Drivers between the ages of 16 and 20, and especially those ages 21 to 45, are likely to be involved in alcohol-related fatal crashes at a rate that is out of proportion to their percentage of the population. Although 14 percent of drivers in alcohol-related fatal crashes in 2002 were between 16 and 20, this age group represents only 7 percent of the population.

Potential criminal consequences of impaired driving

consequences of drinking and driving

Even after these punishments have been dealt with, having a DUI on your permanent record will continue to affect your life for years to come. You can visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website for more information on how data on motor vehicle crash deaths are collected and the limitations of distracted driving data. A recent study that looked at 15 years of U.S. crash data found that about 15% of alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities involve drivers with a BAC below 0.08%. In more than half of incidents where this occurred, the drinking driver was not the one who died (8). As a matter of fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2018, 1,878 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes involving drivers with BACs below the legal limit in the United States.

Impairment and Drug and Alcohol Concentration for DUI Charges

  • Traffic deaths involving people with BACs up to 0.08 percent had the smallest proportional decline (19 percent) from 1982 through 2002.
  • The percentage of traffic deaths that are alcohol related also varies depending on the role of the person killed in the crash (i.e., whether the person killed was the driver, passenger, or pedestrian) and by the type of vehicle involved.
  • Of all pedestrian deaths, 17 percent involved a driver who had been drinking and 38 percent involved a pedestrian who had been drinking.

How Binge Drinking Shifted Research On Alcohol Use Disorders

Drunk Driving Statistics

consequences of drinking and driving

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