Any newspaper or news station will report on a dozen or more drunk driving incidents on a given day. Furthermore, those who understand the risks of driving drunk are less likely to be the perpetrators in these accidents.
Here are a few key facts about DWIs or DUIs everyone should know.
5 Facts About DUIs Everyone Should Know
DUI and DWI mean different things in different states.
You may have heard debates about which is worse: a DUI or a DWI. It can be confusing since different states use them in different ways. DWI usually means driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired while DUI means driving under the influence.
Some states use DUI or DWI to refer to any driving infraction while under the influence of a substance. Others use DWI to mean driving while intoxicated (meaning alcohol only) while a DUI is driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
The main takeaway here is that you can be arrested and/or have your license revoked for driving while under the influence of any substance, not just alcohol.
The criminal charges for a DWI and DUI vary based on the meaning within your state. It doesn’t hurt to brush up on the potential punishments for these infractions to remind you why you should never drive while impaired by any substance.
The average drunk driver will get behind the wheel 80 times before their first arrest.
This information comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration based on research within the last few years. Unfortunately, law enforcement can’t be around every time a drunk driver gets behind the wheel. Many intoxicated drivers take to the road and make it safely from point A to point B without being caught—they’re simply lucky that no one got hurt.
The number of people who get away with drunk driving is astounding, but that doesn’t mean you should do it. Read on to learn the dangers of driving while intoxicated.
Drunk driving incidents are common and extremely serious—don’t risk it.
Don’t ever take the risk of driving under the influence, even if you’ve done it before. Every 51 minutes, someone in the United States is killed by a drunk driver, the equivalent of 27 people per day. For fatalities among children 14 and younger, 17 percent occurred in a drunk driving incident.
Injuries are far more common in the U.S. Every two minutes someone is injured in a drunk driving accident.
First-time DWI and DUI charges typically don’t result in felonies.
While you should do everything you can to avoid driving when you’re impaired, you are human. You might make that mistake one day, but it won’t necessarily ruin your life. Most first-time offenses classified as DWIs or DUIs are considered misdemeanors. Several charges can lead to a felony later.
However, even first-time charges can be felonies under bad circumstances. For example, if someone dies because of your bad choice, you’ll be charged with manslaughter—that’s a felony. A very high blood alcohol level will likely also result in a felony charge.
These rules vary from state to state, so stay informed of the laws where you live.
Drunk driving is common in all age groups, but some carry higher risks.
Those who drive drunk can be as young as 14 or as old as 60—all age groups are not immune to the impact of drunk driving. Here are a few statistics about those who are at the highest risk of getting a DUI:
- Alcohol-related motorcycle crashes are most likely to occur in those over 40.
- Male drivers are twice as likely to drive while intoxicated than females.
- Those who have driven drunk once are more likely to do it again—more than one-third of all those arrested for drunk driving are repeat offenders.
- Those between 21 and 24 have the highest percentage of fatalities in drunk driving accidents at 32 percent. The risk decreases as people age.
- The risk of an alcohol-related accident is always higher in teens than in adults, no matter their BAC.
Hopefully, these facts will make you think twice before getting behind the wheel when intoxicated. It should also inform you a little about why drunk driving is treated so harshly. The risks are high for anyone who’s under the influence, and you don’t want to take any chances with your life or the lives of others.