Drinking and Driving

Drinking and DrivingFor the past several years, statistics have shown that instances of drinking and driving on American roads are lessening. And although there are still more than 12,000 drunk driving fatalities each year in the United States, the numbers are reducing appreciably. There are three primary factors that are credited with keeping American drivers safe and sober.



Factors that are forcing drunk driving rates and drunk driving fatalities in America down:

Stiffer penalties for drinking and driving exist including:

  • Heavy fines;
  • Loss of driving privileges;
  • High risk insurance;
  • Jail time;
  • Probation;
  • Alcohol counseling;

The American public's attitude supports the stiff penalties:

  • Public awareness and education helps individuals to make safe driving decisions;
  • Celebrity reputations are put on the line from DUI charges;
  • As more Americans continue to make safe driving choices, drunk drivers stand out more and more;
  • Everyone owns a cell phone and people are very happy to call the police on drunk drivers;

The automotive industry is incorporating loads of high-tech safety features in new vehicles:

  • Brings down the number of overall traffic fatalities, including DUI fatalities.
  • Airbags are the major factor for stopping drunk driving fatalities;
  • Advanced engineering techniques such as including crumple zones and collapsible steering columns are very effective;
  • Ignition interlocking devices significantly decrease repeat drunk driving offenses;

Major automotive manufacturers like Toyota are already testing large-scope deployment of ignition interlock in devices. Toyota engineers are testing these devices on their fleet of Japanese company trucks. They are monitoring drivers, vehicles and methodologies that will allow them to refine the interlocking systems to the point that they will be feasible for mass inclusion on all vehicles. The newest technologies include sensors that require the driver to hum, blow and suck into a specially designed mouthpiece. As an added measure for effectiveness, trans-dermal alcohol content levels will also be measured through the skin of the driver's hands.

After the technology for ignition interlocking devices has been improved to accommodate wide scale public testing, laws will have to be introduced to compel auto manufacturers to buy in. Calibrating, recalibrating and servicing the ignition interlocking devices must also be considered. It is estimated that it will take up to another five decades to completely integrate these systems into all vehicles. It will take approximately two decades, after legislation is passed, for older non-interlocking vehicles to sufficiently dwindle in numbers.

In a country that seems to be drowning with problems, it's nice to see that the statistics for drunk driving in America are showing improvements. The financial repercussions of a DUI charge are sizable, longstanding and a complete pain to say the least. However, it seems that it is necessarily so. Drinking and driving on U.S. roads is becoming less and less frequent. And that's good news for all Americans.

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