Drunk driving is a plague that affects too many people and tears too many families apart. The average drunk driver has driven while intoxicated about 80 times before receiving the first drunk driving charge. People driving under the influence of alcohol have their reaction times slowed, and can cause property damage or even severely injure or kill a person. Many families have had a loved one crippled or killed by drunk drivers, and there are several depressing statistics.
On any given day, there are about 300,000 people driving drunk, but only 4,000 get arrested. That is only marginally above 1% of all drunk drivers that get hit with a drunk driving charge. More than 10 million people admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs in the year 2012. What’s worse is that it isn’t only adults that are guilty of drunk driving. About 2,000 underage drinkers die every year while driving. More than a third of all teenage driving accidents involve alcohol in some way, and teens that start drinking alcohol young are more than five times as likely to be involved in an alcohol-related accident.
There are several penalties for a drunk driving charge. The license of the driver will be suspended, and the drivers license suspension can last from a minimum of 6 months (for a first-time offender) to a minimum of one to six years (for repeat offenders). A minimum $500 is also typical, though the fine can reach up to $10,000. Underage DUI charges are typically more severe. Some states have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to underage drinking and driving. The license of the driver can be suspended for anywhere from a mere 30 days to several years, until the driver is 21 years of age. Probation can last three to five years, and attendance at a DUI school is typically mandatory.
Unfortunately, these do little to stem the tide of drunk drivers. One-half to two-thirds of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive with a DUI license suspension. The odds of being involved in a fatal car crash increase after each DUI arrest. Drunk driving is also extremely expensive, costing the United States almost $200 billion a year. Luckily, though, there is hope: researchers at Temple University found that since introducing Uber into California, DUI deaths reduced by between 3 and 5 percent. Also, since Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) was formed in the year 1980, drunk driving deaths have been reduced by half.