The high cost of alcohol-impaired driving

What happens to your wallet if you are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol? Financial penalties ae swift, severe, and can linger for a number of years. There are 42 states with an automatic license suspension on first offense, and the suspension can extend from 30 days to as much as a year, depending on the state.

You can look up your state’s impaired driving laws and penalties in this chart.

Here are some of the negative consequences of having a DUI conviction:

  • Your license could be suspended. 42 states have administrative license suspension on the first offense.
  • Your vehicle may be confiscated or impounded.
  • You may be required to participate in an ignition interlock program and pay for all associated costs. MADD estimates the cost of ignition interlock device installations at $70 to $150, plus a monthly fee of between $60 to $80.
  • You are flagged as a high risk driver and may require an SR-22 filing by your insurer. In violations that result in license suspension, SR-22 forms must be obtained from your insurer before a license can be reinstated. Essentially, it’s a red flag signifying that you are a high risk driver. State laws vary, but the average SR-22 spans three years.
  • You could be dropped by your insurer. At the very least, your auto insurance options are more limited.
  • You will pay higher insurance rates over a number of years.
  • You might be subject to alcohol exclusion laws. Currently, 37 states have laws that allow insurers to refuse payment of costs for treating drunk drivers’ injuries.

So far, we’ve only talked about the financial costs of a DUI violation. Impaired driving also puts you and others at a much greater risk of being injured or killed. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 9,967 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2014, accounting for nearly one-third of the nation’s traffic-related deaths. That’s about 28 people every day, or one death every 53 minutes.

It’s vitally important to understand the effects of alcohol on driving. See the 6 stages of getting drunk. Your BAC (Blood Alcohol Count) is a measure of the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream. Check out the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Calculator to understand the impairment effects of drinking. There are also a variety of BAC gauging apps that you can get for your phone.

Our best advice? Line up a designated driver in advance or call a cab, an Uber or a Lyft. Impaired driving is not worth it, whatever measure you use!

Keep Super Bowl Sunday super: fans don’t let fans drive drunk

On average, about 98.7 million fans tune into watch the game on Super Bowl Sunday. If you’re going to be hosting or attending a Super Bowl party this weekend when the New Orleans Saints take on the Indianapolis Colts, you should plan in advance for your safety and that of your guests.
The Insurance Information Institute (III) suggests that designating a driver should be at the top of everyone’s super bowl party list. They note that:
“According to the most recent figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2008, alcohol-impaired-driving crashes accounted for 32 percent of total motor vehicle traffic fatalities. On Super Bowl Sunday (February 3 to 5:59 a.m. February 4), 49 percent of the fatalities occurred in crashes in which a driver or motorcycle rider had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08 or higher. Overall, more than 13,000 Americans died that year in crashes involving an impaired driver.”
Whether you plan to be a party host or a party attendee, III offers a list of tips and suggestions to help you stay safe. Plus, party hosts have a particular imperative to protect guests. It’s the right thing to do – plus, it may protect you from liability.
Here are some additional tips from the Natioanl Highway Transportation and Safety Administration’s Fans don’t let fans drive drunk program.
Tips for party hosts
If you are hosting a Super Bowl party, remember, you can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you served ends up in an impaired driving crash. To protect both yourself and your guests:

  • Make sure all guests designate their sober drivers in advance, or help arrange ride-sharing with other sober drivers.
  • Serve lots of food—and include lots of non-alcoholic beverages at the party.
  • Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter of the game and begin serving coffee and dessert.
  • Keep the numbers for local cab companies handy, and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving while impaired.

Tips for party attendees
If you are attending a Super Bowl party or watching at a sports bar or restaurant:

  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Pace yourself—eat enough food, take breaks and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Designate your sober driver before the party begins and give that person your car keys.
  • If you don’t have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a cab, friend or family member to come get you; or stay where you are and sleep it off until you are sober.
  • Research and use a local Sober Rides program.
  • Never let a friend leave your sight if you think they are about to drive while impaired.
  • Always buckle up—it’s still your best defense against other impaired drivers.

Additional resources
Drunk Driving Laws by State