Do you think that drunk drivers take those risks because they don’t think they’ll get caught? Do you assume that getting arrested and convicted would make them think about things in a new light and refuse to drive under the influence in the future?
In a perfect world, the system would work. Unfortunately, for many drivers, it simply does not.
Some reports have estimated that about 30 percent of people who get arrested, convicted and sentenced for driving under the influence decide to drink and drive again after they have served that sentence. So, while many people do change their ways, three out of every 10 drivers just chance it all over again.
The problem, some researchers say, lies in the way that they perceive risk. They do not see it accurately in many cases, and it leads them to do things that are very hard for other people to understand.
“Surprisingly, these drivers usually don’t consider themselves as risk takers,” wrote one professional who studied the problem. “If drivers don’t believe they are risky, they will not accept the need to change”
Naturally, giving them a sentence is supposed to give them that incentive if they lack it otherwise. They have to spend time in jail and pay a fine. They lose their license. They have a criminal record. These things should make them stop drinking and driving to avoid that punishment, even if they do not think it’s risky to drive while intoxicated. Unfortunately, that’s just not the way that 30 percent of them see it.
As this risk continues to plague Virginia’s highways, make sure you know what rights you have to compensation if you get hit by a drunk driver.