Drunk Driving Prevention Guide

Drunk driving causes numerous injuries and deaths, and the drivers themselves aren't the only victims: Often, innocent people are harmed by a drunk driver's actions. But these devastating effects are not unavoidable. Learning how to avoid driving drunk and how to stop others from driving drunk is crucial to keeping yourself and others safe.

Just How Serious Is This Epidemic?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that at least 29 individuals die in drunk-driving crashes every day, and many more are seriously injured. Perhaps the saddest fact is that the offenders are usually aware of the dangers of drinking and driving, but they do it anyway. While they can be punished with things like jail time and losing their license, that doesn't bring back the people killed by their actions.

What Is the Definition of Drinking and Driving?

Drunk driving is when a person drives a vehicle after they've been drinking alcohol. A person doesn't have to be visibly drunk to be an impaired driver; even if you think you can "hold your liquor," having alcohol in your system can affect your ability to drive.

What Are the Consequences for Offenders?

  • Typically, a drunk driver's license will be suspended.
  • After repeated offenses, the driver's license may be revoked.
  • Drunk drivers may be put in jail, even if it's their first offense.
  • Extremely high insurance rates are a common consequence of drunk driving.
  • If the offense was committed while on the job, the driver's employer may face consequences as well. This will likely cause the offender to lose their job.
  • If a drunk driver is injured in an accident that they caused, their insurance company could refuse to pay for treatment.
  • The driver may have to have an ignition interlock device put on their car.
  • Getting into an accident while driving drunk can cause injuries that have lifelong effects, like disfigurement and paralysis.
  • If others are hurt or killed in a crash caused by drunk driving, the driver will have to live with that on their conscience for the rest of their life.
  • If a drunk driver is below the legal drinking age, they may face other consequences, like losing financial aid for college or even getting kicked out of school.

How Does Someone Spot a Drunk Driver?

Signs that a driver may be drunk include:

  • Very wide turns
  • Swerving, drifting, riding on the center line of the roadway, or weaving back and forth
  • Driving the wrong way
  • Driving extremely slowly
  • Repeatedly stopping the vehicle for no reason
  • Braking frequently
  • Running traffic lights or responding to them slowly
  • Driving in the dark without their headlights on

What Are Some Ways to Prevent Driving Drunk?

  • If you plan to drink, always have a designated driver. If you don't have one, don't drink.
  • Don't let anyone pressure you into drinking.
  • If you find yourself drunk and without your designated driver, call a taxi or a car from a ride-sharing service to take you home.
  • If the person who was supposed to drive you home has been drinking, find another way home: Don't get into a vehicle with a drunk driver.
  • If you see that a friend is drinking and plans to drive, take away their keys.
  • If you're a parent, have frank discussions with your child or children about the dangers of driving drunk.
  • Set a good example for children and teens by never driving drunk.
  • Let teenage children know that they can always call you for a ride home if they need to.

Additional Resources