Penalties for driving while under the influence of alcohol have become more severe in recent years, while government agencies and volunteer activists have been campaigning to education the population about the dangers of this behavior. And yet many Americans continue to take the issue lightly; in one survey, around 80% of responders admitted to driving a car after consuming alcohol.
Perhaps part of the problem is that, despite highways patrols’ best efforts, the odds of getting arrested remain relatively slim - only about 1 in 200 drunk drivers will be arrested. This frightening statistic illustrates why harsh penalties are not enough. In 2006, there were an estimated 250,851,833 registered vehicles in the US. It is simply not possible to monitor all those drivers as closely as it would take to keep our roads completely safe from negligent drivers. Part of the solution to the high rate of DWI offenders is to educate people about why driving a car after consuming alcohol or another drug is not something to be considered casually.
Many people seem to think that the dangers of driving while intoxicated are overhyped. Perhaps this is because so many Americans, by their own admission, have driven after consuming some amount of alcoholic beverage. It is common for people to believe that if they have done something once or twice with no serious repercussions, it must not be all that dangerous.
The truth is that every time you get behind a wheel while impaired, you are taking a huge risk. It has been estimated that one in two Americans - half the population - will be involved in an alcohol-related accident at some point in their life. 708,000 people are injured every year in drunk driving accidents; 25,000 of them are killed. Alcohol-related collisions are the number one cause of death for Americans between the ages of 16 and 24.
Even worse, you are not just putting yourself and your passengers in danger if you drive while impaired in any way. Because of a few people who break the law, the roads are less safe for all citizens, no matter how closely they follow safety guidelines. 80% of fatal drunk driving accidents occur between 8 PM and 8 AM, making some people afraid to drive at all during those hours, especially during holidays. If the practice of driving while impaired could be eliminated, 50% of fatal highway collisions could be avoided.
For information about Texas law and drunk driving, contact Dallas DWI attorney Mark T. Lassiter.