Thanks to dedicated efforts, rates of drunk driving and alcohol-related fatal crashes have gone down in recent years, but in 2012, 121 million drunk drivers still got behind the wheel. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013, drunk driving contributed to more than 10,000 crash deaths. Compared to other high-income countries, the U.S. ranks second for the highest percentage of crash deaths involving alcohol or speed.
According to The Community Guide, alcohol-impaired crashes cost an estimated $123 billion in the U.S. in 2012, including cost of quality-of- life losses, medical bills, loss of earnings, property damage, and other components. Each alcohol impaired fatality costs $5.6 million.
What can be done?
Here are three things that states can do to help reduce drunk driving:
1) Expand publicized sobriety checkpoints.
Studies have shown that alcohol-related crashes have decreased when sobriety checkpoints are
2) Greater Law Enforcement presence to enforce existing 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) laws and minimum legal drinking age laws.
3) Increasing the widespread and sustained use of ignition interlock requirements
for people convicted of drinking and driving, starting with their first offense.
Ignition interlock devices can be installed in motor vehicles to prevent operation of the vehicle
by a driver who has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above a specified level (usually 0.02% –
0.04%). In South Carolina, these devices are mandatory for repeat convictions and for first-time
offenders convicted of having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15% or higher
How do I know if I should drive?
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), defines a standard drink is half an
ounce of alcohol. That means one 12-ounce beer, one five-ounce glass of wine, and one 1.5-ounce
shot of distilled spirits each count as one standard drink. Although there is research that states drinking one “standard” drink per hour can keep you safe, this result may differ based on a variety of factors.
The bottom line is…if you have been drinking do not get behind the wheel of a car. You should have
a friend drive, use Uber or call a Taxi.
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