Drunk driving or driving under the influence is a serious offense and is the cause of a death Every 15 Minutes. In 2010 alone, there were 10,228 reported drunk driving fatalities nationwide, according to NHTSA. Three years prior in 2007, 12,538 Motorists were arrested in Nevada for drunk driving.
The DUI statistics and drunk driving statistics aforementioned may be frightening, but receiving a DUI in Nevada is not just limited to those who are of or above the legal drinking age of 21. Unfortunately, there are many underage drivers that add to the DUI statistics. These not-of-age motorists decide that drinking and then driving while intoxicated is a safe, or their only, option. In 2011 alone, there were 11,834 Underage drivers arrested for driving under the influence. That same year, there were a total of 70 Alcohol-Impaired driving fatalities in those who were not of age-frightful DUI statistics in underage drivers.
Drunk driving or driving under the influence of any harmful substance is 100 percent avoidable. When you help stop people from getting behind the wheel intoxicated, you help DUI statistics and drunk driving statistics lower each year.
What you can do:
Arrange to have a designated driver and plan ahead of time! You may think this is a difficult task, since most people would rather partake in the festivities, but finding a designated driver is truly an easy task to accomplish.
- Call a non-profit organization. There are services, such as the Designated Drivers Foundation, Inc., that provide a driver for people who are intoxicated. These drivers will come to your location and drive you home safely and are generally available 24/7.
- Make sure there are a correct number of designated drivers. If you have a larger group, please be sure there are enough sober drivers to go around. If you find that later in the evening one of more of your drivers were drinking or are short a sober driver, have your designated driver make multiple trips, or call another friend or family member to assist.
- Switch off being the designated driver. More often than not, one person does not want to be dubbed as the sober driver every time you decide to go out. Take turns and allow yourself to also be a designated driver every now and then.
- Call a taxi. Although they can become expensive, taxi services are available 24/7 and will get you home safely.
- Take public transportation. If you plan to come home during the hours of a bus service or any other form of public transportation, do so! These services can run cheaper than a taxi cab.
What law enforcement can do:
Law enforcement and officers are able to help DUI prevention and make sure you and your loved ones don’t become part of drunk driving statistics in more ways than you might know. On top of responding to 911 calls on suspected drunk drivers from civilians, law enforcement agencies can do many things to help keep our roadways safe of drunk drivers.
- Make themselves visible on roadways. Many times, motorists become nervous or more cautious when they see that an officer is on the road. If law enforcement agencies choose to have themselves noticeable around areas where people will be enjoying alcoholic beverages, such as bars of clubs, many people might refrain from getting behind the wheel because they will not want a DUI violation.
- Create sobriety checkpoints. Although these may be a hassle to motorists who are sober, these stationed checkpoints allow officers to evaluate drivers and check for signs of impairment and various points along roadways.
- Set up saturation patrols. These patrols are concentrated with law enforcement that specifically look for signs of impaired drivers and irregularities in driving. Officers on duty during these saturation patrols look for reckless driving, aggressive driving, speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, etc.
Dealing with Drunk Drivers
You may not be the one behind the wheel, but if you are driving and suspect that another motorist is driving under the influence, there are multiple ways you can take action.
Firstly, stay far behind the driver you suspect to be under the influence. Never stay too close to this driver, as if they are in fact under the influence, they are known to make erratic decisions when it comes to driving. Be wary and always expect the unexpected!
Secondly, if you are not already, be sure that you are wearing your seat belt and that all your passengers are doing so as well. You might think this sounds silly, but your seat belt and cars equipped with air bags are your best defense against drunk drivers!
Thirdly, once it is safe and an appropriate, stop and call 911 or *SP to contact your local police station or state. (If you have a passenger in your vehicle, have them call, as this is the safest option.) When you get through to the operator, give a description of the vehicle and a license plate, if you are able to read it. Also, provide the direction of travel of the suspected drunk driver.
Never hesitate to report a suspected drunk driver. Help keep our roadways safe and lower our DUI statics. Call authorities when necessary. DUI prevention starts with you!