DUI Prevention Guide
Driving under the influence (DUI) causes more than 11,000 deaths every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Many DUI accidents and deaths can be prevented using a combination of forethought, planning, and avoidance strategies. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe with this DUI prevention guide.
DUIs occur when a driver operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Driving requires focus, quick thinking, coordination, and judgment. Alcohol and other drugs alter these brain functions, which compromises your ability to safely operate a vehicle.
The best way to prevent DUI injuries and deaths is to be aware of the risks of driving while intoxicated and create strategies to avoid those risks. Whether you are at a holiday party or having a quiet evening with friends, you can take steps to prevent yourself and those you love from driving while intoxicated.
What is a DUI?
Driving under the influence (DUI), also known as driving while intoxicated (DWI), occurs when a driver operates a motor vehicle while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. Alcohol impairs the brain, specifically the areas that handle coordination and decision-making. When your brain function is impaired, you become a danger behind the wheel.
To determine whether someone is driving while intoxicated, authorities test blood alcohol content using breath, blood, or urine DUI test with urine samples. Most states have a legal limit of 0.08 for blood alcohol concentration when operating a motor vehicle.
Even small amounts of alcohol below the legal limit can impair your brain function. In fact, in 2020, more than 2,000 people died in alcohol-related crashes where the intoxicated driver had a blood alcohol content below the legal limit.
Ways to Avoid Drinking and Driving
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that more than 26 million people aged 16 and older drove while intoxicated in 2020. Prevention is a critical tool for avoiding dangerous DUI crashes. To avoid driving drunk, follow these guidelines:
If you do not have the chance to plan, remember that you should never drive if you have had any alcohol at all. Per the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol begins to affect your judgment soon after you begin drinking, and the effects can last hours.
How to Prevent a Friend from Driving Drunk
When you are out with a friend or family member, you may not feel comfortable intervening when they become intoxicated. However, your friend’s life is more important than their temporary discomfort.
If you believe your friend is too intoxicated to drive, try these steps to prevent them from driving:
Not everyone who is intoxicated appears that way at the time. Clear speech and coordination do not mean that their faculties are unimpaired. Remember that anyone who ingests alcohol is at risk of DUI, so try not to let anyone behind the wheel if they have had any alcohol at all.
Rather than risking a DUI, try to plan in advance. Select a designated driver or alternative transportation before the event so you do not have to worry about keeping an intoxicated loved one off the road.
How Restaurants and Bars Can Prevent Drunk Driving
Restaurants and bars that serve alcohol must ensure that their guests do not become too drunk. You should cut off a guest who you know or suspect is already intoxicated.
Depending on the state and local laws, someone who provides alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person can be liable for a guest’s DUI.
Other steps restaurants and bars can take to prevent drunk driving include:
- Providing food such as crackers and chips (while being careful of allergies)
- Offering non-alcoholic alternatives
- Encouraging guests to drink a glass of water between alcoholic beverages
- Offering to call a cab or rideshare for intoxicated guests
- Posting cab numbers and rideshare contact information throughout the facility
- Establishing policies to involve management with intoxicated guests
- Advising intoxicated guests not to drive until they are sober
While drunk drivers are responsible for their actions, those who serve alcohol may also be liable. You could be liable if you host a party or gathering with alcohol. If you serve alcohol to guests, take the above precautions to prevent your guests from driving while intoxicated.
Benefits of DUI Prevention
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol poses a significant risk to drivers and those around them. If you drive while intoxicated, you can be arrested and charged with DUI. You could also be involved in a car accident that results in injury or death.
NHTSA reports that approximately 30 percent of U.S. traffic crash deaths involve drivers with a blood alcohol concentration over 0.08. Refusing to drive while intoxicated reduces the potential for severe injury and death due to drunk driving.
DUI prevention ensures safer roadways for everyone. When you and your loved ones take a cab or Uber home instead of driving, you prevent potential DUI vehicle collisions.
Legal Consequences of Driving Under the Influence
DUI offenses carry heavy penalties in most states. If you face DUI charges, a conviction could result in any of the following consequences:
- Hefty fines
- Incarceration in a county, state, or federal prison
- Limitation, suspension, or revocation of your driver’s license
- Revocation of your commercial driver’s license (CDL)
- Community service
- State-mandated driving courses
- Drug and alcohol abuse counseling
- Installation of an alcohol ignition interlock device
Felony DUI charges typically come with more severe penalties. In the event of injury or death due to a DUI, you could face more serious charges with greater consequences. Check out this DUI penalties chart to understand the consequences of a first, second, third, and fourth DUI.
Long-Term Effects of a DUI Conviction
A DUI conviction can have lasting consequences for every aspect of your personal and professional life.
A DUI conviction could remain on your criminal record permanently. A negative report on your criminal record makes it difficult to find jobs, secure housing, or get financing for a car or house. Even if your charge is not a felony, some states keep DUI charges on your permanent criminal record, with no option to seal or expunge the record.
DUI-related restrictions on your driver’s license or CDL can affect your ability to secure or keep a job or career. Even normal tasks, such as getting to and from work or running errands, are severely hampered by license restrictions.
Your insurance premiums are also likely to increase following a DUI conviction. In fact, according to Experian, your insurance rates could increase by 80 percent or more for three years. Between court costs, fines, and transportation issues, a DUI conviction can become very expensive.
Seek Legal Assistance From a DUI Attorney
Although DUI prevention is the best way to avoid serious consequences, sometimes mistakes happen. If you or someone you love faces DUI charges, you may have legal options to mitigate the long-term consequences. Should you need an attorney for DUI charges in Orlando, O’Mara Law Group is here to help.