There is probably no moredangerous vehicular situation than distracted driving. More specifically, distracted driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Says The Barnes Firm, an car accident lawyer in Long Beach, California, in 2020 in the Golden State alone, there were more than 3,600 deaths from vehicular accidents. Many of these deaths were due to drunk drivers.
Statistics show that most DUI fatalities occur between 3am and 5am which is why it’s important to avoid driving at these hours. But if you do happen to notice another vehicle that’s speeding, braking erratically, and swerving, the driver is likely to be drunk.
You need to keep your distance from the drunk driver and notify the police immediately. That one call may not only save the driver’s life but the lives of other innocent drivers and passengers also.
But what else can be done to prevent drunk driving? According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), different states utilize differing but similar strategies for preventing or reducing alcohol-impaired driving. These guidelines are presented in detail in what’s called, The Guide to Community Preventive Services and have been endorsed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
That said, here are some serious strategies presently being employed in the U.S. for preventing drunk driving.
Driving Laws Pertaining to Alcohol-Impaired Driving
The current alcohol-impaired driving laws state that it’s illegal to drive a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) at or above either 0.05 percent or 0.08 percent, depending upon which state you reside.
For drivers who are under the age of 21, the “zero tolerance laws” mean it’s illegal to get behind the wheel with any amount of alcohol in your systems. The zero tolerance laws which are associated with a minimum drinking age of 21, have been in place in all 50 states for some time now, and are said to have saved tens of thousands of lives.
Publicized Sobriety Checkpoints
Engineered to give law enforcement such as State Troopers and/or local police the right to stop vehicles at “highly visible locations” in order to check for drunk driver impairment, publicized sobriety checkpoints have proven quite effective in the reduction of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) arrests.
This is because police can stop all or just a certain portion of the drivers that come their way. These checkpoints must be well publicized via mass media and social media campaigns for them to pose the greatest public impact.
Ultra High-Visibility Saturation Patrols
Ultra high-visibility saturation law enforcement patrols are made up of an extra large number of police who are assigned to patrol specific areas at locations and times where alcohol-impaired driving car wrecks are more likely to occur.
Just like sobriety checkpoints, high-visibility saturation patrols must be very well publicized while being conducted on a regular basis for them to be effective.
Ignition Interlock Systems
Sophisticated high-tech interlock systems for all convicted DWI offenders can now be installed in most vehicles. These devices are designed to measure the alcohol level on a driver’s breath. The interlock will prevent the vehicle from starting if the driver possesses an alcohol level above 0.02 percent.
Interlock systems are said to be highly effective at the prevention of a repeat DWI offense. Studies have shown that by incorporating treatment and alcohol problem assessment with the interlock device, repeat offences have been reduced even after the device has been removed.
Alcohol Screening and/or Brief Interventions
Many people with alcohol problems are either simply unaware of their issue or just don’t want to admit the problem. But alcohol screenings combined with brief interventions create powerful “teachable moments.”
These interventions and screenings can occur in personal settings, a place of business, a religious institution, a health care office, or even a college or university setting. They are deigned to positively identify persons at high risk for alcohol abuse problems that could lead to DWI. The program prescribes alcohol prevention treatment as required.
Just like the title suggests, multi-component interventions are designed to combine more than one program and/or policy with the specific intention of preventing alcohol-related driving.
Community mobilization is said to be one of the keys to these comprehensive efforts, which can involve task forces and coalitions in both implementation and design.
Instructional Programs in Schools
Instructional programs designed for teenagers just learning to drive have proven effective in teaching them never to drink and drive. The educational programs havealso proven themselves to be a life saver.