Driving Under the Influence

image of man trying to walk a straight line and pulled over by the police

Drunk Driving

Alcohol and driving do not mix. Every year, millions of  drunk driving incidents are reported in the US. Many times, these incidents end  up being fatal. Despite a large public outreach to end drunk driving,  unfortunately, it remains a serious issue. Drunk driving is not an accident, it  is a serious crime.

Impaired driving starts after only one drink. With each  drink, the crucial decision making process involved with driving are severely  impaired. Driving while intoxicated impairs a person’s ability to: brake,  steer, change lanes and use judgment to adjust to changing road conditions. At  a certain limit, driving under the influence of alcohol can lead to arrest.

In every state in the US, there is a specific limit as to  how much alcohol a person can have in their system while driving. This limit is  measured through a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) which measures the  weight of alcohol in a certain volume of blood. In Pennsylvania, a BAC of 0.08  and over qualifies a driver as driving while intoxicated (DWI). Driving while  intoxicated has serious legal consequences in Pennsylvania. For an in depth  overview of the penalties of driving while intoxicated in Pennsylvania, visit Pennsylvania’s  Department of Transportation website.

Drunk Driving  Prevention

Drunk driving is easily preventable. But how can you protect  yourself from other drivers who are intoxicated?

  • Always wear your seatbelt and ensure that any  child in a car is placed in a child safety seat. Modern car safety innovations  such as airbags only are effective if you wear your seatbelt.
  • Never get into a car with someone who is under  the influence of alcohol. Call a cab or ask a friend, who has not been  drinking, to drive you home.
  • Report drunk drivers to law enforcement.
  • Keep a distance from anyone who is driving  erratically.

Never risk driving while intoxicated, it endangers the lives  of anyone on the roads. If you plan to drink, choose a designated driver before  going out. If you do not have a designated driver, take mass transit or taxi  cab in order to get home. If either of these options are unavailable, spend the  night where the activity is being held.

Drug Induced Impaired  Driving

As with driving while intoxicated, drugged driving presents  many of the same concerns. Driving under the influence of drugs impairs a  person’s motor skills, reaction time and judgment; all essential parts of  driving. As with drunk driving, drugged driving is a growing concern of the  public due to its dangerous nature. As with driving under the influence of  alcohol, driving under the influence of drugs is a serious crime.

Unlike drunk driving, there is no current technology that  can determine drugs levels and therefore determine impairment. Currently,  Pennsylvania has passed a law that that prohibits the operation of a motor  vehicle if there is any detection of a prohibited drug in a driver’s system. In  many states, police enforcement are trained through a Drug Evaluation and  Classification program to help officers recognize a driver under the influence  of drugs. For more information on laws regarding drug driving, visit the National  Institute on Drug Abuse’s website.

Drugged Driving  Prevention

Preventing incidents from drugged driving is similar to  preventing drunk driving incidents. To protect yourself from drugged driving:

  • Always wear your seatbelt and ensure that any  child in a car is placed in a child safety seat. Modern car safety innovations  such as airbags only are effective if you wear your seatbelt.
  • Never get into a car with someone who is under  the influence of drugs. Call a cab or ask a friend, who is not under the  influence of drugs, to drive you home.
  • Report drivers under the influence of drugs to  law enforcement.
  • Keep a distance from anyone who is driving  erratically.

Never operate a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs.  It is a crime with serious punishments and endangers the lives of anyone on the  road. If you are under the influence of drugs, have a way of transportation  through a designated driver, a cab or mass transit. If these options are not  available, it is not excuse to get behind the wheel of a car. Spend the night  where the activity is being held if all other options are exhausted.

References:

1. “.08 DUI Legislation .” Pennsylvania  Department of Transportation. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 July 2013.  <http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/legislation/dui.shtml>.
2. “DrugFacts: Drugged Driving  .” National Institute on Drug Abuse . N.p., n.d. Web. 24 July 2013.  <http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/drugged-driving>.
3. . “Drunk Driving Prevention  .” MedicineNet.com. Center for Disease Control, n.d. Web. 24 July  2013. <http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=             11915>.