Every year during the last week of August, first week of September, law enforcement across the country mobilizes to raise the message “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” This high visibility awareness period is aimed at helping drivers understand the dangers of drinking and driving. They chose this time of the year because the incidence of traffic crashes due to alcohol increases significantly around Labor Day. During the 2020 Labor Day holiday, 38% of the fatalities in traffic crashes involved a drunk driver. One-quarter of the fatalities involved a driver who had a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of twice the legal limit (.15+). For some people it may be easier than others to reach that level, so it is better to avoid drinking and driving or if you do consume alcohol plan for a sober ride. You may think that having a beer or a glass of wine is not enough to raise your BAC over the legal limit, but it is not that simple. Here is some info on how BAC works and the number of factors that can affect it https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.gov/files/documents/809844-theabcsofbac.pdf
This is important to know and plan for not only to be able to avoid being involved in a crash and hurting yourself or someone else, but also because of all the other consequences related to a DUI or DWI. Here are some of the consequences you may face:
- You get a DWI if your BAC is above 0.08% – different people can get to that level faster than others. Here is some information on how to determine whether you had too much to drive.
- If you are under 21, you get arrested, your license could be suspended for 30-90 days, have to do community service and attend an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) education.
- If you get a DWI, you will get a fine, and your license suspended, and you will be required to attend IDRC. Here is more info about the possible penalties.
- If you get a DWI, travel abroad can be challenging. Some countries require a special waiver for travel: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, China, Japan, Malaysia, South Africa, Qatar, and Dubai.
- If you get pulled over and you refuse the breath test, you will get charges and you will pay fines. Those who refuse to submit to a chemical test will be charged with drunk driving and face a double conviction.
- It can cost up to $10,000 in attorney’s fees, fines, court costs, lost time at work, higher insurance rates, and more.
Remember, it is never okay to drink and drive. Instead, plan ahead and get a sober ride, take public transit, or get a ride service to get home safely.