As we approach the December holidays, the roads will be packed with travelers visiting family and with partiers who have likely been drinking — most of who will not be paying as much attention to the road as they should be. Out of all the holiday driving dangers, by far drunk driving is the worst of them and — as a society — we need to do everything we can to prevent it.
Let’s take a look at some of the drunk driving prevention strategies that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says work:
— Drunk driving laws: The stricter the penalties, and the stricter the drunk driving limitations, the less likely drivers are to get behind the wheel while they’re intoxicated. So far all states, including Virginia, have a blood alcohol content limitation of 0.08 percent for drivers aged 21 and up. Furthermore, Virginia is a “zero tolerance” state, so drivers under 21 with any measurable amount of alcohol in their blood are considered DUI.
— Sobriety checkpoints: Sobriety checkpoints make DUI enforcement more visible and remind drivers that DUI laws will be enforced, thus adding further motivation for drivers to not drink and drive.
— Ignition interlock devices: These devices, which when installed in cars prevent drunk drivers from operating their vehicles, address the problem of potential repeat offenders. Drivers who repeatedly drive drunk, regardless the consequences, will not be able to operate their vehicles when they are dunk and an ignition interlock device is installed.
There are other great strategies that work in addition to the above three, like mass media campaigns, alcohol intervention programs and school-based instructional programs. Also, those who are hurt by drunk drivers can do their part by holding unlawful drivers accountable for the accidents, injuries and financial damages they cause. Filing a personal injury claim against a drunk driver sends a clear message that Virginia Beach residents will not stand for this kind of behavior and there will be financial as well as criminal consequences.
Source: CDC, “What Works: Strategies to Reduce or Prevent Drunk Driving,” accessed Dec. 16, 2016