Raleigh, NC- Most people understand that driving under the influence is risky and has troublesome legal consequences. There is always a danger that an intoxicated driver will cause a serious accident—one-third of traffic fatalities are attributed to intoxicated driving. But knowing that is not deterrent for many drivers. As federal officials, state lawmakers and safety advocacy groups push to toughen drunken and drugged driving laws, Americans express less concerned about the dangers of driving under the influence and other risky behaviors.
Every fifteen minutes and American dies in a traffic collision. This used to be a concern for Americans but it has waned over the years despite high profile campaigns aimed at curbing intoxicated driving, according to a study by AAA which was released last summer.
After analyzing data from several surveys and studies conducted over the past few years, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that Americans are becoming more complacent about hazardous driving behaviors like intoxicated driving, drowsy driving, distracted driving, running red lights and speeding.
According to AAA’s analysis, 90 percent of Americans believed that drunken driving was a threat to public safety in 2009. But in 2012 only 69 percent believed driving under the influence or alcohol or drugs was dangerous and a risk to theirs and other’s safety. That is a significant decline and that casual attitude could be make roads more dangerous.
Why has there been such a dramatic decline in anxiety about risky driving practices?
While not all intoxicated drivers cause traffic accidents, Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of AAFTS explains, “A ‘do as I say, not as I do’ attitude remains common with many motorists consistently admitting to engaging in the same dangerous behaviors for which they would condemn other drivers.”
The number of fatal traffic collisions comports with AAAFTS’s data. In 2012, there was a 5.6 percent increase in deadly traffic collision representing the first increase in seven years.
A NHTSA study from 2010 found that 1 in 12 drivers admitted to driving drunk at least one during the course of their driving years. According to MADD, the average person will drive drunk 80 times before they are stopped for DUI. One in 5 admits to driving within two hours after having a drink.
These may appear to be stunning statistics, but the fact is many people don’t realize how little alcohol it takes to put them over the legal limit.
A woman weighing 140 lbs. can register a 0.025 on a Breathalyzer after consuming 10 ounces of wine over a three hour period. The average man weighing 160 lbs. will have BAC of .013 after drinking just 3 beers over a 3 hour period. While a driver may not feel intoxicated, their level of blood alcohol can be well over the legal limit.
If a driver has had one too many drinks and has the misfortune of being stopped for DUI, they could spend the night in jail. But that is just the beginning of their troubles; the penalties of driving under the influence extend beyond the legal consequences. DUI charges should not be taken lightly and every offender will benefit from retaining a DUI attorney.