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You walk into a party and things are going well. As you walk around you notice that a lot of people have been drinking very heavy and not one person seems to be sober. How are all of these people going to get home you ask yourself? You wonder if their parents knew if there was going to be such a wide range of alcohol beverages available to their children? Have they not told them consequences of drinking and or doing drugs can do to their life if they are caught under the influence while they are driving? Or do they just not care?

In 1993, an estimated 123 million episodes of impaired driving occurred among U.S. adults.1 About 1.4 million arrests are made annually for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics (1 in every 123 licensed drivers). Of the 41,907 traffic fatalities in 1996, 41% were alcohol-related (i.e., either the driver of the crash vehicle or an affected person not in a vehicle (e.g., a pedestrian or a bicyclist) had a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.01 gram per deciliter. 3

The U.S. is making progress toward reducing alcohol-related traffic fatalities. From 1985 to 1995 for person?s age?s 15-34 years, the alcohol-related traffic fatality rate declined 32% while the nonalcoholic traffic fatality rate declined 13%.4

Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) have been identified as factors in 18% of deaths among motor vehicle drivers. Other drugs are generally used in combination with alcohol.9 Most fatally injured drivers who have used drugs other than alcohol are male, or 25-54 years of age, or both.9

More than 70% of drivers convicted of driving while impaired have serious drinking problems.11

Even though all of these things are happening people are still drinking and driving. So what as a county have we done to correct the problem or try to slow down the people that still believe that they can get behind the wheel of a car while they are under the influence?

Implementing compulsory blood alcohol testing when traffic crashes result in injury. Fines: $200 to $2,500 with mandatory minimums for repeat offenders of $500. Incarceration – Mandatory minimums: 1st offense – 48 consecutive hours; 2nd offense – 5 consecutive days; 3rd offense and subsequent -90 days. For 2nd and subsequent offenses, the offender is allowed work release while in jail following the first 48 consecutive hours. Community Service: 1st offense – 100 hours in lieu of imprisonment; 2nd and subsequent – may serve in lieu of fine at the rate of $5 for each hour worked. Home Confinement with Electronic Monitoring: Allowed by statute, however, 2nd and subsequent offenders must serve a minimum of 48 consecutive hours of imprisonment. Cost to offender: $6 to $8 per day.

With all of things being able to happen to in lieu that they are caught driving under the influence. I would think that more people would be apt to have a designated driver or at least call a cab.


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