Is The Drink-Driving Message Really Getting Through?

by gclatworthy on December 11, 2012

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The don’t drink and drive message has been a part of many anti-alcohol and drinking awareness campaigns through the years. Many approaches have been used, from television ads to community and law enforcement efforts. 

Responsible Drinking Campaigns

Many alcohol vendors have jumped on the bandwagon to encourage patrons to drink responsibly. In fact, every holiday season, major companies advertise these messages with regularity. Fortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that the percentage of drinking and driving deaths has fallen to less than half over the past two decades.

Drink-Drive Laws

The law offers police officers the right to request alcohol tests after stopping anyone suspected of a drinking and driving offense. What is generally agreed, whether it is by a DUI attorney Hanford law firm or a Florida law enforcement officer, is that when tests are refused, penalties worsen. What this has translated to is a public awareness that no longer is it at all possible to get away with ingesting over the legal limit while driving, whether visibly intoxicated or not. Additionally, parents and others who knowingly serve alcohol to anyone suspected to already be inebriated can face very serious fines and possible imprisonment. This has enforced a sense of responsibility and community as to drinking and driving that did not exist before.

Public Awareness

The incidences of drinking and driving have dropped in part, due to students, educators, parents and law enforcement officials spreading a variety of messages about safe alcohol consumption. Promoted in public awareness messaging, statistics are sometimes used in campaigns that caution people against irresponsible drinking and driving, emphasizing that nothing is going to sober someone up except time. For example, a cold shower or coffee is not sufficient to make up for imbibing over the legal limit. In fact, even people who have ingested the legal limit of alcohol or less can contribute to causing an accident.

Another major factor that is attributed to the downswing in drinking and driving is that the rules have changed drastically. For example, the “zero tolerance” approach has made it far more risky for anyone to drink irresponsibly. From lower acceptable legal levels of alcohol to stiffer penalties for younger drivers, violators can face losing their licenses or being jailed. The penalties for driving with open alcohol in vehicles is much stronger than ever before. Officials saw the need to clamp down due to so many deaths and accidents. These steps have proven effective as statistics have gone down over the years.

Legal  And Personal Consequences

The consequences associated with drinking and driving have become more well-known through public campaigns, as well as through educational institutions. For example, driver training in high schools spend a portion of time focusing upon the reality of what a person convicted of DUI or DWI can face. Law enforcement officials and attorneys often work together in these campaigns, sometimes making personal appearances. In addition to the obvious legal ramifications, almost everyone is aware of what can happen in a drinking and driving related accident. Lives have been shattered and ruined after just one episode. Therefore, people are being more proactive when it comes to taking these risks.

Other Considerations

It is also surmised that part of the reason that drinking and driving incidents have gone down is due to the economy. For example, the price of gas has made it less appealing to travel distances for the purpose of entertainment. The high cost of insurance and the raised insurance penalties associated with drinking and driving have also made taking the chance less appealing. In addition to more personal responsibility, citizens have formed groups that offer free rides to those who choose to imbibe alcohol. Many people opt to take a cab, and when venturing out, leave their cars at home or appoint a designated driver.

While the drinking and driving problem will most likely never dissipate entirely, with public awareness on the rise, the risks are lessened for everyone on the road. However, for those who find themselves in the unfortunate predicament of a drunk driving incident, seeking legal counsel is advised, to ensure that all rights are represented and medical expenses and costs are covered properly. 

Georgina Clatworthy is a legal writer and formerly edited a well-respected law blog. For those charged with DUI in California, hiring the services of DUI attorney Hanford based, Terry Wapner, is essential to navigating the complex state DUI legislation. The potential consequences of driving under the influence are well documented but only by partnering with an experienced attorney can you hope to defend yourself from the potentially life-changing consequences a conviction could bring.

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