You have probably noticed the high rotation of anti-drinking and driving advertisements in the media and have wondered if this is still a significant concern in America. More than any previous generation, we have introduced drug and alcohol awareness programs in schools and culturally, the efforts to prevent driving while impaired are more socially acceptable. So why do we still see this heavy barrage of preventative advertising?
The Impact is Huge
The frequency of driving while under the influence is still a huge issue in our society. In the United States alone, more than 1.3 million arrests occur each year for driving under the influence incidents. Is this an over-reaction? It’s not if you consider that 82% of fatal vehicle collisions in the country are caused by impaired drivers. The impact in dollars amounts to the billions and the sacrifice in lives lost is immeasurable. In 1992, more people were arrested in America for driving under the influence than any other criminal offense.
What are the Rates of Re-offense?
We could rest comfortably knowing that the effort of law enforcement to pro-actively detect, arrest and take unsafe drivers off the road was having an effect. However, the rate of repeat offenses by impaired drivers is startling. A number of States are taking a serious look at the trends and it is estimated that of all drivers convicted of DUI offenses, an average of 31% will re-offend. In California, a ten year study of the issue revealed some troubling statistics. In that State, it was determined that 44% of all convicted impaired drivers would re-offend within a ten year time period.
Even More Disturbing
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that among those drivers who were repeat offenders with each subsequent conviction, the drivers become bolder and their risk of being involved in a fatal collision escalates exponentially. It is with these statistics in mind that progressive penalty structures are being implemented in jurisdictions across the country. For each successive incident, harsher penalties are being implemented, with an eye on reducing the number of fatal accidents that occur on our roadways each year. Some sentences may include the suspension of driving privileges, the confiscation of registered vehicles, and the requirement to participate in substance abuse counseling and related programs.
You Can Be Part of the Solution
While government and law enforcement can regulate the safe use of alcohol as it relates to the operation of motor vehicles, the real power to effect change happens at a personal level. You have the opportunity to influence change. When you’re going out to a social event where alcohol may be consumed, assign a designated driver or plan to take a taxi. Look out for your friends and when you see a friend who is impaired, take their keys and help them to make responsible choices.
Behind the Wheel
The disturbing trends and statistics reported above will only change when those individuals who are climbing behind the wheel take appropriate action and make responsible decisions. Laws and monitoring are part of the solution, but safety on our roads is in the hands of everyone that climbs behind the wheel. If you have been convicted of a driving while intoxicated offense, the only person who can prevent that from occurring a second time is you, yourself. Don’t subject yourself to the possibility of loss of your driver’s license or restriction of your ability to get around. Your first DUI conviction should be the wake-up call that ensures it is your last. However, once you have that on your record, you are recognized as a “high risk” and that will have an insurance implication on your future driving privileges.
Should You Be Subject to Conviction
The courts recognize that even after a DUI conviction, you will still need to be able to earn a living and tend to other responsibilities related to family and other communities. You may be allowed to drive but the parameters of your insurance needs might change. Check with your insurance provider as you may be required to carry high risk driving insurance policies such as SR22, FR44, SR50 and SR55A.
Select Insurance Group offers cheap insurance solutions for high-risk drivers. If you had DUI or traffic violations, and required to have financial responsibility certificate – we would be the best choice on a market.