True Costs of Driving Drunk
by: Lance Knowlton
The new tag line for drinking and driving is "drive hammered, get nailed." And law enforcement agencies are not kidding.
If suspected of driving drunk, you will first be tested using the field sobriety test, which consists of walking a straight line, standing on one leg, and saying the alphabet-backward.
You will also be required to take a breathalyzer test, and if you refuse, you will lose your license for 90 days to one year, depending upon which state you live in. All 50 states in the US now have a legal limit of .08 for blood alcohol concentration for anyone driving a motor vehicle.
If you have any kind of drug or alcohol offense on your record the police can search your car without your permission. In some states your car will be automatically towed and you will be placed under arrest and will spend at least one mandatory night in jail.
Driving under the influence is not a felony offense. At least not at first. In most states a DWI will move you up to felony conviction with the second offense and in some states not until the fifth. The penalties also differ with the severity of the crime. In New Hampshire, for example, your first DWI is a felony if you injure someone.
In all states, you will get a ticket and have to appear in court. The ticket alone will be around $4,000 in some states. Then you have the cost of an attorney, the mandatory alcohol evaluation and treatment (the least you will receive for treatment is an 8 hour informational class on the effects of alcohol and driving, which typically costs around $50.00 to attend), probation costs, license reinstatement fees, and increased car insurance charges. And then there's the hidden costs incurred by lost wages from missing work or losing a job.
A DWI can cost from $10,000 on the low end to well over $50,000 when it's all said and done; again, depending on if it's your first offense and in which state you reside.
And that's not all.
Even if you never drink and drive, your tax dollars are used to clean up the mess left by people who choose to drink and drive.
2001 saw $230 billion tax dollars spent due to highway drunk driving collisions.
It costs less to take a cab from one end of the United States to the other than it does to pay for the costs you will incur if you drink and drive, and those are just the monetary costs. Sadly, no amount of money can make up for the losses incurred if you kill someone.
Copyright 2006 Lance Knowlton
About The Author
Having twice been involved in crashes caused by drunk drivers, Lance Knowlton has a deep appreciation for this ongoing problem. Learn how you can save lives in your community and make money at the same time, go to: http://www.alcoholalert.com.
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