Driving Under The Influence and Ways to Avoid It

Avoid DUI

In most jurisdictions around the world, the law prohibits driving under the influence of alcohol or any other drug of abuse. However, many people still find themselves entangled with the problem of drunken driving. In most cases, people do not consciously decide to drive while under influence. However, certain situations associated with substance use such as after parties, celebrations and other indulgences lead to someone having to drive even when they have clouded minds.

What Are The Dangers Of Driving Under the Influence?

Statistics indicate that drunken driving is one of the main causes of motor vehicle accidents, some with fatalities. Substances such as alcohol, hard drugs and prescription drugs are known to influence judgment and even interfere with visual acuity. The problem is also compounded by the fact that drunken driving takes place at night because darkness can interfere with vision making it difficult to judge the distances.

Drunkenness can also interfere with a drive’s reaction especially to errors. Even when driving soberly, sometimes the vehicle can be having technical and mechanical problems that can lead to avoidable accidents or certain avoidable human errors may have the same outcome. With the influence from alcohol or any other related substances, such errors go unnoticed or the driver’s reaction time is interfered with.

As you already know, driving under influence is a criminal offense when your blood alcohol levels exceed the threshold set by your state or whatever jurisdiction you are under. In case you do not pass the sobriety test and the checkpoints; you could be booked for some legal action including jail terms as well as monetary fines. If taken into perspective, driving under influence can seriously ruin the lives of both the victims as well as those who depend on the victims financially and non-financially.

How to Avoid Driving Under the Influence

Because of the negative outcomes associated with driving while intoxicated, it is important to find ways to avoid the situation in the first place. Avoiding drunken driving is a very easy undertaking. It only involves making informed decisions well before a situation presents its self for you to drink. The following are some of the ways to stay safe:

  • Always try to travel with a non-user or a light user: While this can be a difficult, it is achievable. If you can travel to parties or celebrations with someone, who does not drink or only does lightly then you can have them drive you home if you are a heavy drinker.
  • Use alternative transport: In most cases, the friends you attend parties with will have drunk just like you. In such cases, the best option is to look for an alternative transport such as a taxi. You can go for you car later another day when you are sober.
  • Sleep over where possible: Incase you had a party at a friend’s or a relative’s house, then you can choose to sleep over if possible. You can travel home the next day when you are sober.

There is no need to put your life and the welfare of those you are responsible for in danger when you can avoid it. Make the right choice even as you enjoy your moments with friends and family.

Drink Driving Penalties In Florida

DUI Florida

Penalties for being caught while driving under the influence in Florida are really harsh. The state is trying to bring down the number of accidents caused by drink driving. When you are pulled over and asked to take a breath, blood or urine test, you are obligated to comply. Refusal results in a 12 month license suspension. Should you refuse again, you will lose your license for 18 months.

Should you get caught and convicted of DUI, the first penalty will be a fine from $500 to $1,000. If you had more than 0.15 or a minor was in the car with you, the fine is doubled. A mandatory 50 hours of community service are also in play. The license can be revoked for up to a year and you can face jail time of 6 months (up to 9 months for blood alcohol level of 0.15 or more).

The second conviction is more severe – from $1,000 to $2,000 in fines and a jail time of 9 months. The fine is doubled if you had more than 0.15 or a minor in the car and you will face jail time for up to 12 months. If the second conviction happened within five years of the first one, jail time of 10 days is mandatory. The driver license will be revoked for five years.

The third conviction brings fines ranging from $2,000 to $5,000. Should you have been caught with a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or more, or with a minor in your vehicle, the minimum fine will be $4,000. You will also receive 30 days of mandatory jail time if this is your third conviction within ten years. The driver license will be revoked for ten years if the third conviction is within the range of 10 years from the second conviction.

The fourth (and every subsequent) conviction will bring you a minimum of $2,000 fine and jail time for up to five years. The driver license is permanently revoked.

The state of Florida doesn’t joke around when handling the penalties – being caught more than three times will get you a third degree felony conviction. The legal limit in the state of Florida is 0.08, but it’s lower for young and commercial drivers: commercial drivers should not have 0.04 or above and drivers under 21 should not have 0.02 or above.

The above mentioned penalties are actually a best case scenario – you will be charged accordingly if you were NOT involved in an accident. If you were involved in an accident that caused property damage or personal injury, you will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. The fines for the charge are up to $1,000 and up to one year of jail time. If you were involved in a DUI accident and killed someone, you will be charged with a second degree felony and face a fine of $10,000 and jail time for up to 15 years.

Being convicted and losing your license, even if you didn’t serve jail time or cause injuries, will impair many areas of your life. Appealing to lift the suspension is possible, but you will have to go through a DUI program and an ignition interlock device will be put on your car. The device will let you start your car only if it doesn’t detect alcohol in your breath.
The safest way to enjoy drinks is to have a designated driver, call a cab or, if you will have to drive, to not drink at all.

Essential Steps To Avoid Drink Driving

Avoid Drunk Driving

Driving under the influence is punishable by law. The severity of the punishment varies from state to state and country to country, but all the punishments are severe for a good reason – every year, thousands of innocent people die because of drunk drivers. If you are going to a dinner, meeting or party where you will drink alcohol, it’s best to avoid driving altogether. Here are some tips on how to avoid drunk driving.

First off, plan ahead. Decide whether you are going to drink or not when going to a party. If you choose not to drink, you can be someone’s designated driver. If you choose to drink, find a way to get home safely – don’t wait for the alcohol to wear off and jump into your car – alcohol impairs judgment; even though you may feel fit to drive, you probably aren’t the man for the job. If you are not able to find a designated driver, make sure to call a cab. Make sure to have a template message or speed dial ready – this way, if you drink too much, you will be well prepared. It’s much easier to hit a button after having one too many than typing an entire message or entering a number.

Always bring someone you trust with you – this helps in more way than one. First of all, you will know at least one person there; they can keep an eye on you at all times. Having someone you know and trust at a party might even make you drink less, which will spare you from unnecessary headaches in the morning.

Having a paper with all your details written on it in your wallet is not a bad idea. Keeping such a paper with you at all times is reassuring – should you collapse or be involved in some kind of accident, the police and ambulance will quickly find all the necessary information about you. If you see someone at a party who is intoxicated, take away their car keys. This usually isn’t a problem if you know the person. If you don’t know the person, it will be really difficult to get their car keys – find their friends and make them persuade that person to give away their car keys.

Should you notice a drunk driver on the road, report it to the police. Signs of a drunk driver include weaving, wide turns, slow driving, tailgating, dangerous passing and driving with windows open in cold weather – report the license plate number, location and describe the car. The driver won’t appreciate the favor as he will face fines and maybe a conviction, but at least he won’t pose a threat to himself and everyone around him anymore.

Driving under the influence is still a major issue. Even though the fines and convictions are severe, many don’t take them seriously. There is still a lot that has to be done to change this. Responsible drinking contributes to lowering the annual death toll. Be smart. Don’t drink and drive.

How Drink Driving Wrecks Lives

Car Accident

Having a few beers and heading home from the pub or a party doesn't seem so unreasonable. You just have to hurry home so that you don’t end up being pulled over by the cops. As you hit the gas pedal in order to get home faster, you don’t realize just how much risk is involved in doing so.

Drunk driving manslaughter happens because of such reasons – drink, hurry home, don’t be pulled over. What will you do if you end up in an accident? What will you do if you injure someone? Will you call the ambulance, the cops? Will you run from the scene? Whatever you decide to do, your fate is sealed the moment you get into your car after drinking – you are a threat to yourself and others.

Sure, you may have had the luck to arrive home safely and without being pulled over, but every time you repeat your actions, you risk injuring yourself or someone else. Even if you think that you are well aware and in control of the situation, you aren’t. Alcohol inhibits your reflexes and vision and you will NOT be able to react in time. Do you really wish to throw your life away because of a few drinks? Do you really wish to KILL someone else because of a few drinks?

Not so long ago, in 2011, Aaron Carrilo and his buddy Jon were helping their friend Mark fix his car after it broke down on the highway. The drunk driver that rammed the car never hit the brakes. He was travelling at 70 mph when he hit them. Aaron was killed immediately and Jon died in the hospital. Mark survived. The drunk driver had a blood alcohol content of 0.29 and he was also positive for cocaine. He was sentenced to 40 years of prison – the largest sentence ever given for a DUI case. Unfortunately, this won’t bring Aaron back. He was only 16 when he was killed.

Catherine Healy was only 19 years old when she was killed in crash in Dunbar Township, Pennsylvania. She was driven home from a party by her acquaintance Ethan Kenney, also 19. Ethan was speeding, driving 52 mph in a 25 mph zone when he lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle went off the road, hit a guardrail and bridge abutment. After that, the vehicle went airborne and hit a tree. Kenney fled the scene, but he was found soon after the crash. He left Catherine Healy in the car, still alive, grasping for air. Catherine was taken to the Connellsville hospital and then flown to the UPMC Presbyterian hospital in Pittsburgh. She died of traumatic brain injuries. Kelley had a blood alcohol level of 0.117. The legal limit for young drivers is 0.02. He panicked and fled. He left her for dead. Would she be alive if he helped her? Maybe. Would she be alive if he didn’t drink? Definitely.

Drunk drivers ruin lives. They don’t necessarily ruin their own lives – innocent victims are caught at a wrong place in the wrong time and their life is extinguished in an instant. They flee the scene and some are never caught. Don’t be irresponsible. Don’t drive if you drink. Are a few beers really worth the title of a killer?

The Truth About Blood Alcohol Levels

BAC Levels

Blood alcohol content (BAC) refers to a measurement of alcohol intoxication. The measurement of BAC is used for medical and legal purposes. The amount of alcohol is most commonly displayed as a percentage. A blood alcohol level of 0.15 means that the person has 0.15 grams of alcohol in every deciliter of blood. But what exactly does this mean? How does the blood alcohol level affect someone and why are some people more tolerant than others are? Let’s start with the effects of various blood alcohol content doses and how they affect behavior and impairment in an average person.

Men tolerate alcohol better than women do, and people who weigh more tolerate it better than those who weigh less. Every 40 minutes after drinking, 0.01 is subtracted from the blood alcohol test result. It takes quite some time to be clean after drinking too much.

A person with a blood alcohol level of 0.010 to 0.029 appears normal and the only way to tell that that person is intoxicated is by conducting special tests that detect the subtle effects of such low levels of alcohol. When the BAC reaches 0.030 to 0.059, the average person will be relaxed and show mild euphoria. People with this BAC tend to be more talkative, quite joyful and not entirely in control of their inhibitions. Their concentration is also impaired. Higher BAC, from 0.06 to 0.09 brings blunted feelings, extroversion and no inhibitions at all. This is the stage many seek when trying to forget a bad breakup. The reasoning is impaired, as well as peripheral vision and depth perception.

Blood alcohol content that ranges from 0.10 to 0.19 is accompanied by a decrease in libido, over-expression, mood swings and boisterousness. The reflexes and reaction times are impaired, as well as motor control. A person with this amount of BAC has issues with slurred speech and staggering and may suffer from temporary alcohol poisoning. Higher BAC brings more severe consequences. A BAC of 0.20 to 0.29 is accompanied by stupor, impaired sensations and blackouts, as well as severe motor impairment and a risk of falling unconscious.

Even higher BAC, from 0.30 to 0.39 comes with slower breathing and heart rate, unconsciousness and possibility of death. Breathing and bladder function are impaired, as well as heart rate. Blood alcohol content from 0.40 to 0.50 causes complete lack of behavior and unconsciousness, even the possibility of death. Breathing and heart rate are impaired, and the person suffers from positional alcohol nystagmus (jerkiness in eye movement when the head is placed sideways). Any amount above 0.50 is considered lethal.

Some countries enforce a zero effective tolerance, meaning that it is illegal to have any amount of alcohol in blood. Australia and Russia enforce such limits, among others. In the US, it is illegal for drivers under the age of 21 to have any measurable alcohol in their blood as well. The most common limit is 0.05%. Some countries, like Croatia, have a legal limit of 0.05%, but professional drivers and driving instructors are not allowed to have any measurable alcohol in their blood. Other countries have a stricter policy for fresh drivers. Netherlands, for instance, doesn’t allow fresh drivers more than 0.02% BAC for the first five years after obtaining their license. The highest limit is 0.1%, in Cayman Islands.

Drinking only one beverage and driving might impair you slightly, even though you might not even notice it. Calling a taxi service or having a designated driver is a better alternative than driving under the influence.

How A Breathalyzer Works

Breathalyser

A device that estimates blood alcohol content from a breath sample is called a breathalyzer. Most of us are very well aware of these little devices, as they are widely used in law enforcement. Drunk driving is a permanent issue, and breathalyzers play an important role in handling it. If a law enforcement officer suspects a person is driving under the influence, he can request a breathalyzer test. The person that is suspected of intoxication has to blow into the device until it gives a signal to stop. After that, the breathalyzer displays the result. If the person was indeed intoxicated, they will face penalties for driving under the influence.

But how exactly do breathalyzers work? How is the blood alcohol content measured?
Well, a breathalyzer doesn’t actually measure the alcohol content in blood; it measures the content of alcohol in the breath. The blood alcohol level is related to the alcohol in your breath. The more you drink, the more alcohol you will have in your breath. When you drink alcohol, it gets absorbed through the mouth, stomach and intestines. Alcohol can’t be digested, and as it rides along the bloodstream and reaches the lungs, it evaporates as soon as it comes into contact with air in the lungs.

So how does it work?
When you blow into the breathalyzer, the ethanol that is present in your breath will be oxidized at the anode of the breathalyzer, and oxygen will be reduced at the cathode. This reaction will produce acetic acid and water. An electrical current is created during the reaction. This current is measured and the breathalyzer displays an approximate amount of the overall alcohol content in the blood.

There are several factors that might interfere with the breathalyzer results. First of all, a breathalyzer only shows the approximate blood alcohol content value. The real value might be higher or lower. The body temperature plays an important role here. If the body temperature is higher, the breathalyzer results will be higher as well. Higher body temperature makes alcohol evaporate more rapidly, thereby increasing the results. The cellular composition of blood also plays a role – the lower the cell volume (red and white blood cell count), the higher the result. The cell volume is slightly lower in women, but the variability isn’t large enough to matter in court.

People who suffer from diabetes or those who take dietary supplements might have elevated results as well, as some breathalyzers can’t make the distinction between ethyl alcohol and other, similar compounds (acetone and ketones). Electrical interference (such as cell phones or police radios) may also result in inaccurate results.

Breathalyzers are mostly used in law enforcement, but more and more people are interested in owning one personally as well. Owning a breathalyzer gives you the opportunity to see whether you are under or over the legal limit. Should you be over, you can take a break and wait for your blood alcohol level to go under the limit so you can drive safely.

Subscribe to Portal Germany RSS