Health & Safety

May 3, 2013

Life of the party, death on the streets

Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 48 minutes. The following is some information to consider before you begin enjoying beverages at home or at an event:

• Prior to drinking alcohol, designate a non-drinking driver when you’re with a group

• Alcohol impairs judgment. If you’re hosting a party where alcohol will be served, designate a responsible person to remain sober. The sober person ensures that guests don’t drive impaired.

• If you know someone has been drinking, give them a ride home or call a taxi.

• Most people that have been drinking are persistent about not being impaired and will ensure you that they are “Ok” to drive. Blood alcohol concentration levels as low as .02 affects driving ability and crash likelihood. The chance of a crash begins to increase significantly at .05 BAC and rapidly after .08 BAC.

California’s Laws

• California has the strictest impaired driving laws in the nation. A license suspension or revocation occurs immediately upon arrest for a person driving with a BAC of 0.08 or more. Commercial drivers are deemed impaired with a BAC of 0.04 or higher.

• Felony driving under the influence charges result when a serious injury is caused and/or when an individual is charged with a fourth DUI within a 10-year period. It also applies to a person that has been charged with a DUI and has a prior felony conviction within 10 years.

• If a driver is convicted of a DUI involving an accident that results in great bodily injury, a “strike” under the Three Strikes Law can be administered.

• California has an implied consent law. A driver can be arrested for DUI if the individual refuses to submit a breath, blood, or urine sample to a law enforcement officer.

• California has a “Under 21 Juvenile DUI Zero Tolerance Law.” A driver under 21 years of age convicted of driving with a .01 BAC or higher will result in a one year driver’s license suspension. If the underage driver is convicted of driving with a BAC of .05 or higher, two points will be added to the driving records.

Impaired Driving Statistics

• Most DUI convictions on Fort Irwin involve a BAC well above the legal limit. The national BAC average of a convicted DUI offender is 0.15.

• The average age of a person arrested for DUI in California is 30 years old. Less than one percent of all DUI arrests involved persons under age 18. Just over eight percent were under 21 years of age.

• 34 percent of fatality accidents involving alcohol were between 21 and 24 years of age and most were males. The proportion of females convicted of DUI has risen consistently every year since 1989.

• Nearly half of the alcohol-impaired motorcyclists killed each year are age 40 or older. Motorcyclists ages 40-44 have the highest percentage of deaths with BAC’s of 0.08 or greater.

• Drivers with a BAC of 0.08 or higher involved in fatal crashes were four times more likely to have a prior DUI conviction.




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