Driving under the Influence is a dangerous trend and is known to cause many critical accidents and deaths which could have been easily prevented. Even though the consequences for DUI arrests are strict, they seem to not be effective enough. The toll of alcohol-related deaths, repeated offenders, and accidents is still rising, leaving the streets dangerous and families devastated. Over half the drivers arrested for drunk driving in the nation, are repeated offenders.
I stand strongly against drunk drivers; They are a threat to themselves and society and believe that they should be taught a tough lesson when caught. Therefore, the charges for Driving Under the Influence laws need to be more severe. In the following paper I will present numerous reasons, followed by examples as to why the DUI laws should be increased, starting with statistics and tolls of alcohol-related deaths. The laws for DUI charges differ in each state, but they all come down to the same basics.
If you are pulled over, and are found to be under the influence and your blood alcohol level checks out to be over 0. 08 percent, you get charged with a DUI. You receive an on the spot 90 day license suspension, and pay a minimum 250 dollar fines. Now that already may be a turning point for some, but the numbers prove otherwise. Alcohol is a major factor in traffic accidents. The U. S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA, http://www. nhtsa. dot.
gov) estimates that there is an alcohol-related traffic fatality every 30 minutes. In 2006 alone 41 percent of all crashes were alcohol related, drunken drivers Page 2 cause an annual death toll of over 25,000. We don’t even need to look at these statistics, to be reminded of these deaths or accidents. Every day we turn on the TV, and guaranteed there is at least one story about an alcohol-related death, accident and especially arrest. More than half of us most likely know or shall I say once knew someone who has died due to this type of accident.
This brings me to my next reason; there is something scarier that lurks the streets at nights and that is a person that carelessly got behind the wheel of a car yet intoxicated again, and that person is a repeat offender. You would think that if a person gets pulled over, arrested, gets his/her license suspended and gets court ordered to pay 250+ dollars in fines, that they would never get behind the wheel under the influence again and endanger someone else’s life. Wrong. According to a 2007 AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study over half of drivers arrested for drunk driving in the nation are repeat offenders.
All states have adopted 21 as the legal drinking age. Two-thirds of the states have now passed Administrative License Revocation (ALR) laws, which allow the arresting officer to take the license of drivers who fail or refuse to take a breath test. All states have now lowered the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit from . 10 to . 08 percent for adults, and all states have passed Zero Tolerance laws which prohibit drivers under twenty-one from having any amount of alcohol in their blood system.
The penalties have increased for drinking and driving, yet the repeated offenders percentages haven’t decreased. Thus proving, what the laws are doing now is not working and they need to be raised. Going back to the purpose of punishment, if people keep doing the same thing, than the consequences before did not faze them and need to be stricter. Page 3 On the contrary if you are that repeated offender, or even that first timer, you probably have a completely different view on these laws.
Most people cannot afford to pay even the minimum fines; therefore talk about raising them would probably infuriate them even more. When you get arrested for DUI, or any sort of arrest, those charges are then made public record, so if you try to get a job and it requires a background check, those charges will come up. Often time people lose their jobs due to alcohol arrests, and it might not be fair, because if it is only their first time and they really did learn their lesson such big fines and severe punishment may be too extreme.
There have been several propositions on raising the BAC, lowering fines, reducing jail time, even decreasing the minimum age for alcohol consumption, yet none have come into effect. Let’s take a young college student, who has gotten their first DUI, his BAC was barely over 0. 08. They got their license suspended and have to pay a fine. They are not too happy; they’ve already had to deal with their parents, not being able to drive, etc.
Having to do that times two, if the laws are raised is preposterous he says. Yet, statistics show that same college student will most likely go on to get another DUI only this time his BAC will be twice as high, and he would probably injure or kill another person. Awareness of the problems associated with drunk driving increased dramatically in the 1990s in response to the rise of citizen activist groups, notably Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), advertising campaigns and publicity efforts by organizations such as the Insurance Information Institute.
Existing laws were strengthened, new laws were passed and drunken driving task forces were created in several states. Yet still, the statistics today show increasing percentage of DUI arrests, and even more increasing numbers of accidents that lead to deaths. The worst factor of this all is being on the outside looking in, being the family member or friend of someone who has passed away causing or being the victim of an alcohol related fatality. Thus bringing me to my next reason, impact DUI has on society. Page 4 Aside the numbers, it really comes down to the impact DUI has on society.
Never have been arrested for DUI myself, I cannot say I know how it feels personally, but even reading or watching the news and seeing other peoples hardship brought on by a DUI death, brings huge sorrow to me and as I concluded, everyone else. Depression is found common among families who have lost someone to a DUI death. Often time’s people lose the interest to live or even try to move on with their lives. You don’t need to look far to find evidence of what DUI can do to someone. Advertisement board all across nation show pictures of totaled cars, or a greatly injured person because of a DUI accident.
DUI lawyers are some of the biggest money makers and that’s just not right. Media is full of commercials showing drunken driving habits, or people getting arrested. Even in schools, as early as freshman year we are shown presentations or videos, sometimes even live evidence of DUI accidents, but bottom line is it’s not effective. Young adults are still at the top of DUI arrests, death tolls are still rising, and worse of all people are repeatedly getting arrested. Reality is, Driving Under the Influence laws need to be more severe.
Suspension days need to be increased, fines doubled and longer DUI prevention programs need to be enforced. It may not be fair to some, but the numbers need to come down, and the amount of lives lost, that easily could have been prevented needs to decrease. Education is important, but we’re to the point where almost everyone knows they shouldn’t drink and drive. The people who are still doing it are choosing to do it. The most effective way to deal with them is to arrest them, and punish them enough so they won’t go on to do it again.