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Don’t Let A Fun Party Lead To A DUI

By now, everyone knows that drinking and driving is a reckless and dangerous act. Yet many people continue to choose to get behind the wheel after a few hours of partying. The NHTSA reports that there are almost 30 people in the U.S. who die in drunk-driving accidents each day. That amounts to one death every 48 minutes. Though the statistics have fallen over the years, our country still loses over 10,000 people each year to this tragedy.

The Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

Currently, the legal limit of alcohol consumption when driving in Florida is less than 0.08%. A blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more is all it takes to become a DUI. That might sound like a low number, but the effects of just a small amount of alcohol in the system can be dramatic.

A BAC of just 0.02% contributes to a slight loss in judgment, increased body temperature, and an altered mood. The effects on driving are:

• Decline in visual function – difficulty in tracking a moving target
• Decline in the ability to do two things at once – divided attention

A BAC of 0.05% causes exaggerated behaviors, lowered alertness, release of inhibition, and impaired judgment. The effects on driving are:

• Reduced coordination
• Further reduction in tracking moving objects
• Difficulty steering
• Reduced response to situations that require fast action

A BAC of 0.08% makes it harder to detect danger. It can decrease muscle coordination, reduce control of judgment and reasoning, and impair memory function. The effects on driving are:

• Lack of concentration and speed control
• Reduced ability to process information
• Impaired perception

A BAC of .10% produces slurred speech, poor coordination, slowed thinking, and a deterioration of reaction time and control. The effects on driving are:

• Reduced ability to stay in lane
• Reduced ability to brake appropriately

With a BAC of .15%, muscle control is significantly reduced while a major loss of balance can occur. Unless the person has developed a high tolerance for alcohol, or this level is reached slowly, vomiting may occur. The effects on driving are:

• Substantial impairment in vehicle control
• Decline in the attention to tasks
• Severe impairment in visual and auditory information processing

Though any of these symptoms should be enough to keep a driver from getting behind the wheel, many believe that they are cognizant enough to handle the drive.

Every Action Has A Consequence

The penalties for DUI in Florida are some of the toughest in the nation. Many factors can affect the degree of punishment, such as the BAC, if the DUI involved a crash with injuries or death, and how many offenses you’ve had in recent years. Typically, first time DUI offenders can come with a $1,000 fine, up to six months in jail, the possibility of losing your driver’s license for up to six months, and fifty hours of community service.

Subsequent offenses can include:

• Mandatory DUI programs
• Jail time up to five years
• Fines up to $5,000
• Vehicle impoundment
• Suspension of driver’s license

But there are other ways in which a DUI conviction can impact your life. You might have trouble renting an apartment, obtaining a passport for international travel, or working with children. You could even have difficulty getting student loan approval, purchasing a firearm, or even obtaining a good job.

Staying Safe Can Keep You and Others Alive

A responsible driver simply does not drink and drive. If you plan to party with your friends this summer, take steps to stay safe:

• Always plan for a safe ride home. Choose a sober friend who will be a designated driver, call a cab, or use a ridesharing service.
• Never let a friend get behind the wheel when they’ve been drinking. Take the keys and arrange a ride home for them.
• If you host a party where alcohol will be served, make sure all guests leave with a sober driver.
• If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement. Your actions could help save someone’s life.

You Can’t Control Everyone

Even if you don’t ever drink and drive, there will always be people who do. Unfortunately, you might end up in an accident with someone else who didn’t know when to say when. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident with someone who was driving under the influence of alcohol, you might need the help of an experienced lawyer. From medical bills to lost wages, you are entitled to compensation from the party who is responsible for your damages. Don’t let the carelessness of another person cause chaos in your life. Seek help.