How Drunk Driving Affects Us All

In 2009 there nearly 11,000 traffic deaths were directly related to drunken driving totaling one third of all traffic deaths. A while back there was an infographic that was actually very surprising. We previously knew this, but it was staggering to see how directly correlated alchohol is related in car wrecks. We could throw out a handful of numbers and statistics out there, but here we will analyze how drinking and driving is a sure fire way to kill yourself and others.

Studies have shown, and it should be obvious that the higher the alcohol, the greater the injuries. In 2011, alcohol was involved in 6% of minor injuries, 11% of major injuries, 25% of severe injuries, and 37% of total traffic fatalities in 2011. That should give you pretty good idea of how badly drunken driving effects the severity of a crash.

It’s quite obvious that if you blow a 0.24 BAC, you’ll have a better chance at veering off the road, across the median and into oncoming traffic, only to miss a semi by inches then crash dead into a tree than if you stay under the legal limit.

What Can We Do?

Every day 30 people die from an alcohol related crash and that means someone is dying every 45 minutes. Some states, like Minnesota, have already implemented an in-car breathalyzer as a form monitoring DWI offenders called “Smart Start Alcohol Monitoring.” The system is considered ignition interlock with a camera installed that snaps a photo of your face while breathing into the device.

While statistics remain staggering and there is no clear way to prevent a driver from driving drunk, there are precautionary measures and policies we can implement into our law enforcement. There is not a better way than utilizing the Smart Start Alcohol Monitoring as a way to prevent repeat offenders. While in some states offenders are required to use them for a short period of time following the offense, that is only for a short time and only in some states.

A long term installation of these prevention systems should be introduced or at least considered. Come on here. When these systems are being put into place, the person charged with the crime pays for equipment costs, installation, and a monthly fee. Why is this not a long term solution? The average span of time spent with a  Smart Start is 6-12 months. There should be no problem making them use this machine for 3-10 years and making them pay the licensing fees that go along with it. Repeat offenders usually have the highest blood alcohol content and are involved in more sever crashes resulting in death. We can’t trust these repeat offenders with anymore of their freedoms they have willingly given up. It only makes sense to enforce with a stronger fist.

has been writing for Minneapolis Criminal Defense attorney Carolyn Agin Schmidt for years. He closely follows anything legal, especially in his home state of Minnesota.