National drunk driving laws make it illegal to drive with a BAC at or above 0.08%. For people under 21, “zero tolerance” laws make it illegal to drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in their system. These laws are in place in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and have had a clear effect on highway safety saving tens of thousands of lives. Further action is still necessary to reduce the data that reveals approximately 30 people dying in alcohol-related driving accidents every day. Almost one third of all U.S. traffic crash deaths involved drivers who were under the influence of alcohol at levels of .08 g/dL or higher, and alcohol-related accidents were still increased by impaired drivers with lower alcohol levels.
Even though the laws have gotten more severe with regard to OWI in Louisiana, there are still too many people dying in cars while drinking and driving; or being killed by a separate vehicle where that driver had engaged in drinking. Charges for drunk driving can range from classification of misdemeanor to felony charges depending on the situation. An experienced attorney can explain penalties along with charges for drunk driving dependent on:
- Blood alcohol level,
- Repeat offender status,
- Whether there was a minor in the vehicle.
State and community law enforcement and institutional action.
- Sobriety checkpoints allow police to briefly stop vehicles at specific, highly visible locations to see if the driver is impaired. Police may stop all or a certain portion of drivers. Breath tests may be given if police have a reason to suspect the driver is intoxicated.
- Ignition interlocks installed in cars measure alcohol on the driver’s breath. Interlocks keep the car from starting if the driver has a BAC above a certain level, usually 0.02%. Mandating interlocks for all offenders, including first-time offenders, will have the greatest impact.
- Media campaigns spread messages about the physical dangers and legal consequences of drunk driving.
- Administrative license revocation or suspension laws allow police to take away the license of a driver who tests at or above the legal BAC limit or who refuses testing. States decide how long to suspend the license; a minimum of 90 days is effective.
- Alcohol screening and brief interventions take advantage of “teachable moments” to identify people at risk for alcohol problems and get them treatment as needed. This combined strategy, which can be delivered in health care, university, and other settings, helps change behavior and reduces alcohol-impaired crashes and injuries.
- School-based instructional programs are effective at teaching teens not to ride with drunk drivers.
- Do not drive when you have been drinking,
- Insist on a designated driver if you are planning on going out with a group who plan on drinking.
- Do not mix alcohol with any other drugs, including over-the-counter medications as they sometimes negatively interact and cause increased lethargy and decreased reaction time for any kind of body movements, nonetheless those requiring acuteness such as driving a car,
- Do not get into a car with someone who has been impaired by drinking.
- If you encounter another driver on the roadway who is driving erratically, contact the highway patrol as soon as possible and give them a license number.
If you have been injured in a car accident due to drunk driver actions, contact Attorney Brad Doyle at the Doyle Law Firm for guidance toward compensation for injury and damages.