It begins innocently enough. A hard day at work. A stop to relax on the way home with friends. A couple of drinks. Then the drive home – but you never get there.
Every year police arrest more than 1 million people for driving under the influence (DUI). If all they get is a ticket, they’re lucky. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10,228 Americans died in drunk driving accidents during 2010 (accounting for 31% of all traffic fatalities in that year). The good news: Annual drunk-driving fatalities have fallen by more than half from 21,113 in 1982, the year that NHTSA began keeping statistics). Thousands more suffered injuries – some permanently disabling.
That’s quite a price to pay for a few drinks. However, many drunk drivers were “fortunate” enough to only get a ticket. No problem? That seems to be what thousands of repeat offenders think. Instead of thanking their lucky stars that they caught a break and swearing never to put themselves behind the wheel after drinking again, they go right back to their old habits.
That’s one reason more and more states are increasing the penalties for DUI, regardless of whether there was an accident. These include higher fines, loss of driving privileges, mandatory attendance at alcohol-treatment programs, and/or jail time. All of these penalties usually increase with each offense. We’d be more than happy to explain to you, and your kids, that with the first DUI you can start kissing reasonable Auto insurance premiums (and possibly your ability to get a policy at all) goodbye.
Why take the chance? Preserve your life, limbs, loved ones, driving record, and insurance affordability by being a smart driver. If you’re going to drink, take a cab home, or have a designated driver. Set a limit of how much you’ll imbibe and stick to it — or attend alcohol-free social events.
A word to the wise.