There are many consequences to impaired driving. By driving a vehicle while intoxicated you risk damage to public property, damage to your vehicle, legal consequences and most importantly, your well being and the well being of others.
In 2008 of the 1231 road fatalities, thirty three percent of these fatalities were alcohol related. By taking measures to prevent drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel in the first place, it will not only save lives but it also reduces social cost. Not every person involved in an alcohol related crash is a fatality. Some are critically injured causing possible years of financial distress due to high medical costs.
It is also a fact that with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 your risk of getting into a crash increases 4 times. If your blood alcohol concentration is 0.16 or more, your risk of getting into a crash increases 25 times. These numbers are not etched in stone. The way that alcohol affects your body depends on how much you drink, what you have eaten before consuming, your body weight, and how long you have been drinking. Younger Drivers are even more likely to hurt themselves while drunk driving due to the fact that they have likely not developed adequate driving skills.
If you are unsure if you have consumed too much alcohol, it is best to not take any risks and call a cab or a sober friend to drive. Getting home alive is much better than not getting home at all. It is wise to ignore myths that a cup of coffee or a little fresh air will sober you up. The only sure way to return to sobriety is to allow your body time enough to metabolize the alcohol. Usually one beer, one glass of wine, or one ounce of liquor takes one hour for your body to process.
The government of New York has enacted a zero tolerance policy towards drunk driving. This means that an officer of the law can detain you if they believe you are intoxicated and force you to take a chemical test. Non-compliance can result in fines and license suspension. Hopefully, this will be a valid deterrent to drunk driving.
Under some unique circumstances, it can be court ordered to have an interlock ignition. This means that before starting your vehicle, you will be required to blow into a breathalyzer. If your blood alcohol concentration is above the legal limit, your vehicle will not start. Personally, I think that this is the best approach. Preventative measures have the longest lasting effect compared with reactionary measures.
Driver Education is also another method in preventing alcohol related crashes. Currently, an impaired driving charge may require a DDP (Drinking Driver Program) course. This is effective if an impaired driver is fortunate enough to not have harmed themselves or anyone else. Education about the perils of drunk driving should be included in driving school courses. Making new drivers aware of their responsibility while behind the wheel can significantly impact their safety on the road.