Distracted or intoxicated driving is the number one cause of automobile accidents in the United States, as well as the deadliest. Intoxicated drivers experience negative impacts on their bodies such as motor skills, reaction, and decision-making abilities. Drunk driving not only increases the chances of injury for the driving community, but also commonly raises insurance rates for the individual. Contrary to popular belief, a recent study indicated that most drinkers are aware of their limits regarding alcoholic consumption, with nearly 30.5% claiming to refuse to operate a motor vehicle after just one drink; however, 18.9% included in the study admitted to driving while under the influence in the last six months. As a sizable concern for law enforcement agencies across the country, drunk driving poses a variety of risks to the community at large. Between the years 2003 and 2011, law enforcement reported approximately 119,100 drunk driving related fatalities in the United States. For that same time period, Texas ranked the highest with 13,138 deaths.
Accordingly, a DWI arrest in Texas typically results in two legal proceedings — an administrative case against the driver’s license, and a criminal case against the driver’s personal freedom. When arrested for a DWI, a driver’s license will be suspended automatically if that driver produced a test with a blood alcohol concentration level at or above 0.08% or the driver refused to voluntarily submit to the test at the scene. The average cost of resolving a DWI charge reportedly ranges from $9,000 to $24,000 in Texas. To prevent incurring such negative results and expenses, there are nine things that drivers can do to avoid obtaining a DWI conviction in Texas:
- Acknowledge the risks. Every day, nearly 30 people — drivers and passengers alike — die in automobile crashes caused by drunk driving. On average, that statistic amounts to one person every 50 minutes in the United States alone. Driving while intoxicated poses not only a real threat to an individual’s personal safety, but also to the livelihoods of all drivers on public roads. Although the number of fatalities caused by drunk driving has decreased by 30% in the last decade, such decisions still claim over 10,000 lives a year throughout the country. Every driver must acknowledge these risks and assess their own situation before going behind the wheel.
- Stay well below the limit. Breathalyzers are highly unreliable. As a result, the same individual may produce different numbers based on the breathalyzer used at the scene of the traffic stop. Consequently, drivers should keep their blood alcohol concentration significantly below the maximum legal limit to avoid suffering from the discrepancies of breathalyzers. Doing so also has the potential to prevent an automobile crash, property damage, or resulting injury.
- Pace alcoholic drinks and consume water. Experts claim that consuming no more than one alcoholic beverage per hour helps keep an individual’s blood alcohol concentration within the legal limit. Additionally, drinking water is an effective method for maintaining sobriety. Remember, just because a driver may feel sober, does not mean that driver is capable of operating a motor vehicle.
- Use a personal breathalyzer. Although personal breathalyzers are even more inaccurate than law enforcement devices, they can still provide some kind of guide for an individual’s blood alcohol concentration. Investing in a personal breathalyzer may help drivers avoid DWI convictions.
- Do the math. Typically, an individual’s blood alcohol concentration drops approximately .015 per hour after the initial peak. Similarly, a blood alcohol concentration of .05 takes 3.33 hours to drop to zero. Knowing this simple equation and keeping track of the number of drinks consumed is an easy way to avoid a DWI conviction and, possibly, even save someone’s life.
- Avoid drinking games. Drinking games are a form of binge drinking. Not only do they increase the probability of alcohol poisoning, but they also raise the chances of exceeding the legal limit quickly. Accordingly, individuals who engage in drinking games should not drive afterwards.
- Use a designated driver or rideshare service. A designated driver is a member of a particular group who agrees not to consume alcohol and drive the other, usually intoxicated, members of the group home. Designating a particular person for this important role not only prevents alcohol-related collisions, but also helps intoxicated individuals avoid embarrassment, keep their driver’s license, and stay out of jail. Even if an individual chooses to drink alone, modern technology provides easy access to a variety of rideshare services that can help intoxicated individuals get home safely.
- Don’t drink. Not consuming alcohol before stepping behind the wheel is a foolproof way to avoid exceeding the maximum legal limit for alcohol consumption.
- Obtain legal representation. Although prevention is the most effective way to avoid a DWI conviction, thousands of Americans are charged each year. Consequently, individuals who find themselves under police scrutiny should contact a DWI lawyer, like a DWI lawyer in Dallas, TX, immediately for adequate representation.
While many drivers recognize the dangers of driving while intoxicated, DWI’s are becoming increasingly more common amongst younger generations. As a result, thousands of drivers are exposed to the dangers of drunk driving every year. Drivers must act responsibly to avoid the consequences of drunk driving.
Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm for their insight into how to avoid a DWI conviction.