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Monday, September 26, 2022

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Drunk Driving On the Rise: Drunk Drivers, Stay OFF the Road


 Drunk driving causes more than 17,000 deaths annually, according to the New York State Police. This means there are 310 funerals each week, or one death every 30 minutes, in relation to drunk driving. 

Since this past June, there have been at least 5 reported fatal drunk driving incidents on Long Island alone. 

New York State law states that a driver is considered impaired if their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is greater than 0.05%, and legal intoxication is at 0.08% or higher. 

There are 7 alcohol and drug-related violations in New York state: Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (Aggravated DWI), Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol (DWAI/Alcohol), Driving While Ability Impaired by a Single Drug other than Alcohol (DWAI/Drug), Driving While Ability Impaired by a Combined Influence of Drugs or Alcohol (DWAI/Combination), Chemical Test Refusal and Zero Tolerance Law. 

In a recent study, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) discovered that 16% of weekend nighttime drivers, just about one in six tested positive for illegal drugs in their system.

Who in their right mind would get behind the wheel while their abilities are impaired?

For starters: nobody under the influence is in their right mind. 

29.8% of American Addiction Centers’ August study respondents stated they felt “okay to drive” after drinking for about two hours. 10% of people said their destination wasn’t far from their current location, so they were “happy to chance it and get behind the wheel for a short journey.” 4% stated they had no other way to get home. 

American Addiction Centers Study on August 22, 2022. (Credit: AAC)

There are many different transportation methods: Uber, Lyft, Curb, Taxi and other driving service applications available for free on your smartphone.

Drunk driving means you risk losing your license, killing someone on the road, killing yourself, jail time and a felony on your record for the rest of your life. Once this is on your record, it’s harder to get a job and move forward with your life– no matter how sorry you are.

Leandra’s Law was enacted to honor the 11-year-old child in the backseat of her friend’s mother. The mother was intoxicated, and the child died at the time of the accident. Leandra’s Law protects children under 16 when a drunk driver is conducting the vehicle. The defendant may be charged with a Class E felony, punishable by up to four years in State prison. 

New York’s “Open Container Law” deems it illegal for drivers and passengers to possess and consume alcohol in an open container in the car. While the driver may not be drinking, passengers under the influence can obstruct the driver’s focus which can cause a severe and potentially lethal accident. 

It is never okay to get behind the wheel while impaired. You are a danger to yourself and the innocent drivers on the road. Before going out, come up with a game plan. If you do the crime, you’ll do the time– and pay the fine.

Daniella Rodriguez-Rebolledo
Daniella Rodriguez-Rebolledo
Lead Reporter for The Messenger Papers. Aspiring Broadcast/Multimedia Journalist/Reporter. Discusses Politics and Sports.