In 2008, 13,846 people died in alcohol related accidents. This number equaled about 37% of deaths in the United States that year. In 2008, 1,198 alcohol-related deaths occurred, equaling 35% of the state's total fatalities. People tend to think that they are invincible. This includes adults - not just teenagers. In reality, drunk driving kills and injures thousands of people every year. Statistically, 30% of Americans will be involved in a DUI-related car accident in the duration of their lifetime. In the U.S. someone is injured a DUI car accidents every two minutes.
Unfortunately, the facts and myths about drunk driving are easy to confuse. Here are a few common facts and myths to help you stay safe and informed:
Fact - Holiday weekends and the holiday season account form a higher percentage of drunk driving accidents than normal. Statistically, DUIs occur more often during holidays. Why? Many people consider it "acceptable" to drink at holiday parties, family functions and other get-togethers. Thus, more people attempt to driver their cars while under the influence of alcohol. To avoid getting hurt by a drunk driver during the holidays, avoid driving on Christmas, Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July.
False - Contrary to popular myth, coffee does not help an impaired driver operate a vehicle safely or responsibly. Caffeine may be able to help drivers stay awake, but it cannot restore their ability to see properly or drive responsibly. Many of the body's sense are distorted or impaired by alcohol consumption. Do not assume that caffeine will eliminate the effects of alcohol.
Fact - Teenagers are more likely to be involved in DUI-related car accidents. If your children are in their teens, make sure that they understand the risks of drunk driving and take every precaution to avoid DUI accidents. To avoid car accidents, make sure that your kids acknowledge and practice safe driving habits.
False - Contrary to popular opinion, your size is not directly related to amount of alcohol you can safely consume. Bigger people do not necessarily have a higher alcohol tolerance. Having more food in your body may help it absorb alcohol faster; carrying extra body weight will not. Do not assume that you are able to safely consume more alcohol than someone who is smaller than yourself.
UNDERSTANDING THE COST
Drunk driving isn't just dangerous; it's expensive. Parents should understand the seriousness of DUI accidents and their teenagers. If your teen is arrested for drunk driving, his/her annual car insurance could increase by $40,000 over the next 13 years. Other costs include:
- DUI Classes ($650)
- Towing and storage for five days ($685)
- Fines and legal expenses ($4,000)
- DMV reinstatement fee ($100)
The estimated (minimum) cost of a teenager's first DUI totals about $45,435. During the holiday weekend, keep these safety tips and DUI facts in mind to help avoid alcohol related accidents, injuries and expenses.