Staying safe while having fun
A lot of us like to celebrate and relax with an alcoholic drink every now and then. Maybe more than one or two, but before you take that first drink, do you have a DUI prevention plan? Like most states, Kansas law doesn’t tolerate drinking and driving, and with these statistics, it is understandable:
- Driving while impaired will touch the life of one in three Americans during their life.
- Over 40,000 people are killed in motor vehicle accidents every year.
- Over 15,000 of those are involved alcohol.
- Every 33 minutes one person dies in an alcohol-related crash.
- Every 2 minutes one person is injured in an alcohol-related crash.
If you never understood why a DUI prevention plan is recommended for those nights out with friends, maybe those statistics can shed some light on the subject. A DUI is serious, but the real wake up call should be the possible consequences of driving while under the influence. How many people can one drunk driver put in danger and how can each of us step up to the plate to prevent fewer DUI accidents and deaths?
How dangerous is drunk driving?
The effect of alcohol puts anyone on the road at risk, and the person that is intoxicated and driving is setting themselves, and other, at a lifetime of pain and suffering. A DUI prevention plan can help avoid these accidents. How dangerous is it for somebody that has been drinking get behind the wheel of a vehicle? Any or all of these can be caused by driving under the influence:
Reaction time slows
With alcohol in our system, we respond to situation slower than if when we have a clear mind. With a slower reaction time, the possibility of being involved in an accident is increased. One example is when a vehicle stops suddenly in front of an impaired driver, that impaired driver’s brain isn’t processing the need to stop as quickly and has a higher chance of causing an accident.
Absence of coordination
Our eye, foot, and hand coordination is crucial in our safety and those around us. With alcohol in our system, we lose our coordination skills that enable us to avoid danger and prevent accidents. A DUI prevention plan can eliminate that danger of being behind the wall for any person that has been celebrating or relaxing and is having is having trouble walking without staggering or swaying or can’t stand up without assistance. With a high level of alcohol in our system, many people can’t find their vehicle or get the keys in the ignition without several attempts.
Low concentration level
Alcohol influence our concentration and driving takes a lot of concentration. Staying in one lane while driving, keeping under the speed limit, but not too slow, concentration of other vehicles on the road around us, signal lights and signs, and more.
An excessive consumption of alcohol negatively impacts our vision, it becomes blurred and crossed. We aren’t able to control our eye movements with alcohol in our system, impairing our vision. This makes it difficult to judge distances between vehicles and see things on the road, like a pedestrian.
With alcohol in our system, we aren’t able to make good judgement in certain circumstances, including being behind the wheel of a vehicle. Judgement is a crucial tool when driving, and when that judgment is affected, we can’t make rationale decisions like the timing of pulling out into traffic, or how to respond to another person that pulls out in front of us.
What is the punishment for drunk and drive?
The State of Kansas takes DUIs, or any type of impaired driving seriously. A first conviction for driving under the influence, aka DUI, the possible sentencing can be:
- 48 hours imprisonment
- One hundred hours of community service
- Court-ordered alcohol/substance abuse safety and/or treatment program
- Fines starting at $500 and as high as $1,000 in fines
- Court costs and various fees
- Thirty day license suspension
Subsequent DUI offenses will be sentenced to a minimum of ninety days imprisonment, larger fines, a longer suspension of driver’s license, and probation. Probation officer may recommend to the courts attendance of dui prevention classes would be in the best interest of the defendant.
Of course, to avoid possible DUI issues is to not drink and drive or to establish a DUI prevention plan beforehand.
How can I avoid a DUI conviction?
A DUI or DWI arrest and conviction can be devastating on many levels. It puts other drivers and non-drivers at risk of possible injury, even death, the arrested person will be facing possible jail or prison time, hefty fines and fees, disruption of family, possible job loss, and overall, their reputation is marred. jail time and can ruin a person’s reputation. Such issues can ruin relationships and even result in job loss. With a little forethought to determine a a DUI prevention plan, these things can be avoided, like these tips.
1. A Designated Driver: When you know or plan to be consuming alcohol, alone or in a group, arrange a designated driver that will not be partaking in alcohol or drugs. This needs to be a person that understands the importance of this “job” and the expectations that come with it. They should be somebody that can be trusted to uphold this responsibility and make sure every drinker gets home safe and sound. They should have the names, addresses, and alternate contact phone number of everyone they are watching over and have a valid driver’s license and insurance.
2. Public Transportation: For anyone that is going to be out drinking, public transportation is an excellent substitution to having a designated driver. Public transportation can include buses, taxis, trains, or driver sources like Lyft and Uber. Mothers Against Drunk Drivers also offers transportation services. Each of these are easy to obtain and are much less expensive than the possible aftermath you could face with a DUI or DWI.
3. Book a Hotel, Plan A Stay Over: When attending an event or a party, book a nearby hotel room where transportation to and from can be arranged. Or if at another person’s home, arrange to stay over.
4. Hide/Take Keys: As the party host, create a a DUI prevention plan that includes collecting everyone’s keys as they arrive. Then make the judgement call if they are able to drive home safely. If you’re out with other people and somebody is intoxicated, take their keys from them.
5. Offer Alternative Beverages: As a party host, create at a DUI prevention plan like having non-alcoholic beverages on hand. Coffee, juices, soda, or water are excellent choices.
6. Provide Appetizers and Food: A party host should have appetizers and other food out where their guests can get it easily. Walk around the party with appetizers on a tray, offering one to those who have alcohol in their hand. By offer a meal at the beginning of the party, you can minimize how much alcohol is consumed.
7. Stop Offering Alcohol Early: Stop serving alcohol before the party starts wrapping up. This will ensure your guests have time to sober up before they leave. One to two hours is recommended.
8. Keep Alert: As a responsible party host, it is your responsibility to keep alert and pay attention to your guests and their level of drunk. If a party goer drove to your home and has consumed too much alcohol, offer them a bed for the night or to call them a taxi or some ride-share service.
9. Call the Family: If you have a guest that doesn’t need to drive home, call, their family and let them know that you have offered them a place to sleep or ask if they’d like to come pick them up.
10. An Early Start: A sure-fire winner for a DUI prevention plan is to schedule your party or even to start as early as possible so that your guests can enjoy a drink or two before having to drive home. The earlier a party or event starts the easier attendees will have getting home.
Do DUI laws work?
Believe it or not, there are people that have the theory drunk driving laws are more harmful than helpful. While it has been proven many times that drunk driving is dangerous, abolishing DUI laws would make the roads safer for all of us according to a few people. How? Why? Keep reading for their theory:
- Drunk driving laws don’t save lives: A federal law pass in 2000 lowered the legal BAC (blood alcohol content) from .10% to .08% blood alcohol. The results aren’t what was intended though. The number of traffic fatalities related to alcohol increased immediately. Before that new law, there had been a decline over the previous 20 years. What happened?
- A distraction for law enforcement: New techniques had to be employed to work with the new law. While .08% BAC is legally drunk, many drivers are within that legal boundary, therefore they don’t have any noticeable signs of being intoxicated. This makes it difficult for law enforcement to catch anyone with illegal BAC because they didn’t appear to be intoxicated and no problem with driving normally.
- Drunk driving checkpoints: One of the techniques for law enforcement to combat the DUI issues was to set up roadblocks with check points. This kept law enforcement officers busy arresting those tested at the roadblocks but weren’t necessarily driving dangerously. With more officers manning the check points, fewer officers were patrolling intoxicated individuals that were driving dangerous and reckless, resulting in an increase of alcohol related fatalities.
- Blanket BAC limits ineffective: The set .08% BAC limit doesn’t have the same affect on everyone. Yes, there are people that alcohol impairs them before the .08%, but there are other people that aren’t even close to being impaired. A large person of 300 pounds will usually have a higher limit on what they can consume before they are drunk.
A person’s appearance of intoxication can be affected by other factors like fatigue and medication. There have been many arrested for DUI that had a BAC lower than the .08% because of how their medication affected them or they had worked a 12 hour shift.
How can we prevent drinking and driving?
In addition to creating and following a DUI prevention plan , the next best prevention for dui can be by following these dui prevention tips:
- A designated driver
- Don’t drink alone when out.
- Eat while drinking.
- Call for a ride if you’ve been drinking.
- Don’t ride with anyone that has been drinking.
- Stop anyone that appears intoxicated from driving.
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