Published On: Tue, Sep 1st, 2015

Impaired Driving: How Big Is The DUI Problem In The United States?

DUI is the acronym giving to the name of “driving under the influence.” Impaired driving is a topic that often comes up in the media. Especially when it involves high-profile figures like celebrities! But, it’s not just famous people that get caught DUI. It’s something that affects many “ordinary” citizens too.

You may think that DUI isn’t an issue in your part of the country. But, just because you don’t know anyone that got caught DUI doesn’t mean that it never happens! The sad truth is that many people are not aware of the consequences of their actions. And, the even more disturbing news is that they can sometimes result in fatalities.

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Driving under the influence: the official facts

Just how big of a problem is DUI in the United States? According to the CDC, around 30 people die each day as a result of a drunk driver. Or, to put it another way, that’s one death every 51 minutes. Statistics for 2013 showed that 31% of all traffic-related deaths got caused by a DUI driver.

Figures released back in 2010 also stated that 1.4 million drivers got arrested. Why? Because they were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

How can impaired driving affect other people?

In extreme cases, accidents caused by DUI drivers will almost always result in death. There are other consequences too:

  • Injury to other people, such as other motorists and pedestrians;
  • Damage to property like other vehicles, buildings, and road infrastructure;
  • Traffic delays, caused by the temporary blockage of the road from the accident.

As you can imagine, a driver under the influence of alcohol or narcotics can do some serious damage. In some scenarios, the consequences can be life-changing.

What happens if you get caught DUI

So far, you’ve seen examples of how DUI drivers can impact other people’s lives. But, if you got caught driving under the influence, what can you expect to happen to yourself?

First of all, it’s likely that a police patrol car will spot your erratic driving behavior. They will then pull you over and investigate why your driving’s impaired. Once they complete their investigation, you will usually get arrested on the spot. Meanwhile, your car will also get impounded.

Next, you’ll have an opportunity to seek legal representation. As you can imagine, people will seldom not agree to have a DUI lawyer present. You’ll then get interviewed, and so the legal process will continue until you stand before a judge. The outcome of your court case will depend on many factors.

The judge will take into account the events surrounding your arrest. They’ll also note if you’ve had any prior criminal convictions. You will then get a hefty fine if you’re lucky. And if you’re not, you can expect to spend some time behind bars.

Life after a DUI conviction

The bad news for those convicted of DUI is that it doesn’t just end with a fine and/or jail time. It’s likely you will lose your ability to drive, and that can mean you lose your job too. If you can’t pay your bills, you may end up homeless.

As you can appreciate, the best advice is just to avoid driving under the influence!