Every state in the nation bans drivers from operating their vehicles after they have reached a level of intoxication, but despite these widespread and commonly known laws, millions of drunk drivers plague our public roadways every year. In fact, in 2013, 28.7 million Americans admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol that year based on a survey done by the federal government, and that number is believed to be low since many impaired motorists are unwilling to admit to their conduct.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has determined that every two minutes, someone is hurt in a drunk driving collision in this country. Unfortunately, far too many of those accidents are happening right in our backyard and across Maricopa County, affecting the lives of those who live in Phoenix or the nearby cities and those who come to the Valley to work.
There is a common misconception about who is driving drunk in Phoenix. Nationally, the rate of drunk driving is highest among 26 to 29 year olds, those who are old enough to consume alcohol legally. So many of these motorists go on to cause drunk driving collisions that in 2014 alone, 9,967 people were killed on American roadways in drunk driving accidents.
These statistics should shock you to your core. As they illustrate, drunk motorists are such a huge issue that no one who drives is safe from their threat. Everyone must come together to take a stand against this conduct so that the people of Arizona can drive without an unreasonable threat of harm from others.
First, know that you are the first line of defense. Your actions will go a long way towards contributing to or detracting from your safety and the safety of your passengers. If you plan to drink, never drive afterwards and instead plan on alternative transportation. Cabs, designated drivers, the light rail, walking, and even an Uber ride can be great alternatives to driving if you have been drinking.
Next, make sure others know your stance against drinking and driving. Statistically, if people associate with someone who has taken a stance on a particular topic, they are more likely to consider taking a similar stance. When it comes to alcohol, this means that telling your friends and family you opt for a designated driver instead of driving yourself when drinking may make them more likely to think about, and perhaps do, the same thing.
Always talk to your children and those you love about the dangers associated with driving after drinking. Unfortunately, many people think that they are safe to drive when in fact they are intoxicated and in violation of the law. In Arizona, all drivers will be presumed to be intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher, and for some small women, that may be as little as two drinks. Do not risk your safety by driving if you have been drinking and make sure your children understand the dangers of riding with an intoxicated motorist.
While the laws in the state serve to protect the victims of these incidents by letting them recover financially for their damages, ideally there would be no drunk driving car accidents and therefore nothing to recover. It will only be when we all act in a safe manner that we can eliminate these crashes and rest assured that our friends and family members will not be harmed.
Prior Blog Entry:
Do Red Light Cameras Make Phoenix Safer?, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published May 12, 2016.
Drunk Driving Statistics, Mothers Against Drunk Driving.