The holiday season is around the corner, which means an influx of parties and special events where alcohol is served. And though drunk driving is a problem throughout the year, the period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day sees a spike in alcohol-related highway deaths each year, with 40 percent of fatal accidents involving an alcohol-impaired driver.
What does law enforcement do to reduce the dangers of drunk driving? Read on for more information about the laws surrounding driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI).
The Legal Limit
All 50 states enforce a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.08 grams per deciliter. A number of factors influence BAC, including weight and gender, the number and pace of drinks consumed, and how much food is in the stomach. With a BAC of 0.08, a driver can experience a range of dangerous side effects, including impaired perception, a reduced ability to process information and poor muscle coordination.
DUI and DWI Laws and Consequences
While the laws and penalties vary considerably from state to state, currently all but eight states have some form of license suspension for a first drunk-driving offense. And judges in all states can require convicted drunk drivers, including first-time offenders, to use an ignition lock to analyze their breath and determine if alcohol is present before the engine will start.
During no-refusal initiatives, drivers suspected of impairment can be court ordered to submit to a blood test if they initially refuse a breath test. Law enforcement must first obtain a warrant from an on-call judge or magistrate, who can authorize warrants over the phone to streamline the process.