The holiday revelry is in full swing today as citizens and visitors celebrate America’s 242nd birthday. Grills are lit, family is chattering, and children are splashing in the pool.
And, as with most summer festivities, alcohol is flowing.
In and of itself, having a few drinks isn’t an issue. However, if drinking is on the agenda for Independence Day activities, make sure to have a designated driver. Impaired driving is not only an expensive risk, it is also a dangerous crime.
Charges for DUIs can range from misdemeanors to felony offenses, and penalties for impaired driving can include driver’s license revocation, fines, and jail time. It’s also extremely expensive. A first-time offense can cost the driver upward of $10,000 in fines and legal fees.
Here in Kingman, a DUI charge can result in several felonies depending on the level of impairment, plus a suspended license for up to a year.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates 1,017,808 drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics in 2016. The arrest rate works out to one arrest for about every 215 licensed drivers in the United States.
The risk simply isn’t worth it.
Every day, almost 29 people in the United States die in alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes – that’s one person every 50 minutes in 2016. Drunk-driving fatalities have fallen by a third in the last three decades; however, drunk-driving crashes claim more than 10,000 lives per year. In 2010, the most recent year for which cost data is available, these deaths and damages contributed to a cost of $44 billion per year.
Of those involved in fatal DUI accidents in 2016, 15 percent of them were between the ages of 16 and 20, and nearly 2,000 of those deaths were passengers, not drivers.
Pride isn’t worth a life.
We all share the same roads. Our children and grandchildren are out on the streets today. It’s our responsibility to keep them safe, and the best way to be responsible is to not drive after drinking.