The Real Costs of Drinking and Driving
The real costs of drinking and driving can be staggering. Most people think that if they do not drink and drive that they are immune from its effects. The fact is that drunk driving affects every driver on the road more than you think. Learn more about the real costs of drunk driving below.
The Most Important Costs of Drunk Driving
The statistics when it comes to the loss of life and drinking and driving are shocking. Every day in the United States, according to the CDC, 30 people are killed by a drunk driver at the wheel. According to NHTSA, about 290,000 people in the United States are injured by a driver that is drunk every year. In fact, about one-third of all traffic deaths involve alcohol.
There are hundreds of thousands of people each year that are negatively impacted by drinking and driving. The cost of human life and the damage that their loved ones must deal with throughout theirs is tremendous. Children grow up without a parent, parents have to bury their children, and many people are left to make sense of a senseless loss.
People that are injured in accidents where injuries are involved lose time from work, face devastating financial losses, and often suffer permanently because of drunk driving. The costs of drunk driving snowball with time, as many people injured in these types of accidents can never return to the lifestyle they had before if it’s a physical effect.
It is difficult to measure the personal cost of drunk driving that the victims pay. How do you measure emotional pain and suffering or a lifestyle that is lost never to be recouped again? It is impossible to put a monetary value on what could have been had there not been an alcohol-related accident that stole someone’s life.
The Measurable Amounts
There is a figure that is associated with the costs of drinking and driving. According to the CDC, alcohol related accidents cost the U.S. more than $132 billion each year. However, that estimated cost dates to 2011. The cost has likely risen.
That $132 billion estimate includes things like the cost of medical care for the victims, the cost of lost wages, property damage, and rising insurance costs that are attributed to the increased risk drunk driving poses on the roads. Drunk driving is an expensive endeavor. Yet, many people take the risk everyday.
According to the CDC, there are more than 26 million licensed drivers in California and a full 1.8% of them admit they drink and drive. That is roughly 468,000 people in one state alone that get behind the wheel after drinking, showing the problem has reached epidemic levels.
The Cost of Drinking and Driving to the Driver
States have tightened the laws when it comes to drinking and driving. For example, in Michigan, there is a zero-tolerance policy for anyone under the age of 21 that is caught out on the roads after consuming any amount of alcohol. In Michigan if you are under 21 – the legal drinking age – it does not matter if you are legally drunk or not; you will be charged.
Every state does “DUI checkpoints” to catch intoxicated drivers on the road. Drivers that are charged with a DUI often lose their license automatically for a specified amount of time. They face heavy fines and penalties, are often arrested right on the spot, and risk a great deal of financial costs.
Habitual offenders are often sentenced to active jail time. On average, hiring a lawyer to fight a DUI charge will run in the thousands. With about 5% of people pawning their jewelry to raise cash, you may also need to go to extreme measures to pay for the law-related costs of drinking and driving! You can expect months of court dates moving forward, which means having to take the day off from work. Speaking of work, if you work in any industry that requires you have a drivers license, if your license is suspended, consider yourself suspended from work.
Never drink before you drive. Even if you think you are okay to drive, call an Uber or a Lyft or hand your keys to someone sober. Making the right decisions will ensure that you never learn the real costs of drinking and driving.