Legal Review: Five Tips On How To Avoid Drinking And Driving

Also known as driving while intoxicated or under the influence, drunk driving refers to drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more. Lower BACs also constitute drunk driving for those under 21 as it is illegal for minors to consume alcohol.

How to Avoid Drinking and Driving

There are several different ways you can safeguard yourself and your loved ones against drunk driving. Though the most straightforward solution is to abstain from alcohol while in public or when you may otherwise have to drive, the reality is not always this easy.

Below are some tips on ensuring no one gets behind the wheel after drinking:

  • Before going out, pick a designated driver who will abstain from drinking; if necessary, have everyone give their keys to the designated driver.
  • Do not go out alone if you know you will be drinking; if you are going out alone, use a driving service like Uber instead of driving yourself.
  • Never get in a car if you know the driver has been drinking; if you realize a driver is drunk after getting in a car, exit as soon as possible.
  • If must drive, make sure to eat a meal and stay hydrated; wait as long as possible before driving again.
  • If you are hosting an event that involves alcohol, arrange for guests to sleep over, have sober drivers on hand, or arrange for driving services.

Detecting Drunk Drivers On The Road

Drunk drivers pose a threat to you and your passengers even if you are not the one under the influence. If a drunk driver hits you or otherwise involves you in an accident, it can result in lengthy hospital stays for either yourself or your passengers. In a worst case scenario, such an accident may even be fatal.

Roughly one-third of all accident fatalities result from drunk driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This translates to one person dying due to drunk driving roughly every 52 minutes.

Below are common signs that someone is driving while intoxicated:

  • Making unnecessarily wide turns or weaving while turning
  • Drifting across lanes or being otherwise unable to stay in one lane
  • Driving very slowly or intermittently driving slowly and quickly
  • Braking erratically or making sudden stops for no reason
  • Not responding to traffic signs or having a late response

If you suspect a driver is drunk, do not attempt to engage them or attempt to get them off the road. Instead, try to navigate away from them and call 911 or other local law enforcement. Give them any identifying information you noticed, such as the car’s make or model, but do not follow the vehicle to get this information.

Consequences of Drinking and Driving

There are serious repercussions of drinking and driving. Depending on the circumstances surrounding drunk driving, you could be charged with anything from a misdemeanor up to a felony.

Even first-time offenses can result in fines of up to $10,000, community service, a suspended driver’s license, or even jail time. If you do keep your license, you will have to pay higher insurance rates and may have to pay to install an ignition lock device. These are just the consequences related to you — if you hurt someone else, you will likely have to pay their hospital bills or other medical expenses. A DC DUI lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and mitigate the repercussions if you have been charged with driving under the influence.

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