Driving while under the influence, DUI, impaired driving - no matter what you call it, drunk driving is a definite no. Despite the inherent danger and serious repercussions, thousands of people still do it every year. Obviously they never took one of our drivers ed courses to fully understand the seriousness of driving drunk.
Groups like MADD have worked for decades to get drunk drivers off the road, but it’s an on-going effort. Although progress has been made, people need to be reminded that it’s never a good idea to get behind the wheel after a few drinks.
Drunk Driving FAQ
What is Considered Drunk Driving?
It is illegal to drive with a 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or higher. For drivers that are under 21, the BAC limit is 0.01%. So basically, underage drivers can’t have a drop of alcohol. Some states also have lower BAC thresholds if the driver is already on probation for a DUI.
What Kind of Crime is Drunk Driving?
If it is a first offense drunk driving is usually a misdemeanor, albeit a serious one. An aggravated DUI is a higher drunk driving charge than a normal DUI, which in many states is a felony charge. An aggravated DUI can be levied if:
People were injured or killed or property was damaged
The driver is transporting a minor
BAC was way higher than .08, like > .13 or .15
The driver is going an excessive speed or driving recklessly
The person already has multiple DUIs
What Are the Penalties for Drunk Driving?
All DUI convictions result in suspended driving privileges or licenses. You’ll also have to pay fines that can be thousands of dollars. Depending on where you live, you may be put on probation and have to pay additional fines for several years. An aggravated DUI has more severe penalties, including incarceration.
How Long is a DUI Conviction on My Record?
DUI convictions can stay on your driving record (and insurance record) for up to 10 years in every state. Five years is typically the minimum. However, the conviction could stay on your criminal record for life.
Drunk Driver Statistics You Need to Know
We all know that drunk driving is dangerous, but how dangerous is it? Here are some pretty sobering statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
Every 50 minutes, one person dies in a drunk driving-related incident. That’s around 30 people a day (almost 11,000 a year).
Drunk driving accidents cost about $44 billion a year collectively.
Just because you are under the limit it doesn’t mean it’s safe to drive. In 2018, 1,878 people were killed by drivers with a BAC between 0.01-0.07%.
27% of all motorcyclists killed in traffic accidents were legally intoxicated.
Motorcycle riders are the largest segment of drunk drivers (28%).
In 70% of fatal crashes involving alcohol, at least one of the drivers had a BAC of 0.15% or higher.
The average cost of a DUI is $2,000 - $27,000 before injuries or damages.
A first offense can cost up to $10,000.
Stopteendui.com estimates that if someone is under 21 years old, there is a zero-tolerance policy and insurance penalties over the next 13 years can cost up to $40,000. Fines and driver education courses can add another $6,000.
The age group with the highest occurrence of drunk driving is 21-24 years old.
The numbers don’t lie. Drunk driving can cost you your drivers license, financial security, freedom and even life. Remember, the first thing to go is judgment when you’re drinking. Play it safe and don’t drive if you know you are going to drink alcohol. Arrange transportation in advance and always have a backup ride in case a designated driver ends up drinking.
*This article was updated on 3/18/2020