Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
August 24th, 2020|
Driving is a privilege many of us take for granted. Getting a driver’s license is a rite of passage during our teen years, and after a few shaky first months behind the wheel, we quickly become accustomed to our daily commutes and the challenges of driving.
Because of that familiarity, it’s easy to forget how demanding driving actually is—and to no longer recognize how dangerous it is to not be fully focused on the road and in control of your fine motor skills. Too many people underestimate the effects that alcohol has on their ability to drive safely, whether they’re buzzed, tipsy, or heavily intoxicated, and put themselves and others in serious danger.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is partnering with law enforcement agencies nationwide to remind drivers of the risks of impaired driving through its Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign. This campaign runs from Aug. 19 – Sept. 7 and is designed to keep the nation’s roads safer during a period where drunk driving often peaks.
Drunk Driving Is Far Too Common in America
When it comes to actions that impair driving skills, there are few as effective as drinking alcohol. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that more than 1 million drivers were arrested for DUI (also known as Operating While Intoxicated, or OWI, in Indiana) in 2016, and those drivers represent only a fraction of the number of drunk drivers. Studies show that drunk drivers will, on average, get behind the wheel while intoxicated as many as 80 times before their first arrest.
In addition, around one-third of all traffic accident-related deaths involve drunk drivers. In 2016, 10,497 people died in drunk driving-related crashes, which means 29 people—or one person every 50 minutes—dies every day in the U.S. due to drunk drivers. Law enforcement agencies in Indiana and throughout the country work hard to reduce drunk driving incidents, accidents, and deaths, but it’s up to drivers themselves to not get behind the wheel while intoxicated.
The Consequences of a DUI/OWI Can Be Severe
The NHTSA’s Drive Sober campaign means that law enforcement agencies will increase their budgets and resource allocation towards apprehending drunk drivers throughout August and September. However, local police and state troopers are always on the lookout for impaired drivers. And when those drivers get caught, they face serious consequences that can affect them for life:
- Loss of driver’s license—Even first-time offenders will have their licenses revoked for up to 180 days in Indiana. Second and third offenses can result in one-year suspensions.
- Jail time—All offenders face up to 60 days in jail after being arrested for a DUI/OWI, and that can go up to a full year behind bars if their BAC is 0.15% or higher.
- Fines—The minimum fine for DUI/OWI in Indiana is $500. Drivers with BACs at or over 0.15% face $5,000 fines. Those fines are often just a small fraction of the total costs of a DUI/OWI, which can include legal fees, court costs, vehicle recovery fees, and lost wages.
- Public record of arrest—Mandatory jail time and loss of license can make it difficult for people with DUIs to keep their jobs. And if their arrests are made public via newspapers and other sources, it can be difficult to keep future employers from discovering that via internet searches.
The combination of an extremely elevated risk of being involved in a serious or fatal crash and facing life-changing legal consequences for a DUI/OWI citation make driving drunk one of the worst decisions you can possibly make. If you plan on drinking, designate a driver, use public transportation, schedule a rideshare, or stay where you are. Getting behind the wheel while drunk is never worth it.
We Help Innocent Victims Harmed by Drunk and Negligent Drivers
In addition to drunk driving, many drivers also engage in dangerous behaviors such as speeding, texting, running red lights and stop signs, and more without thinking of the consequences. And when they hurt innocent people, they should be held accountable for the damages they cause.
At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, our Indiana auto accident lawyers help innocent victims who were harmed by negligent drivers. If you or someone you love was hurt in a crash that wasn’t your fault, we’re here to assist you. Call us today for a free consultation.