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costs of impaired driving
December 11, 2020

The Dangers of Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence is a crime with deservedly severe consequences. According to the National Traffic Safety Highway Administration, we lose nearly 30 people per day in the U.S. to auto accidents caused by someone driving under the influence. We could prevent many needless tragedies if more people understood how risky it is to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking or using drugs. Since December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, what should you know about driving under the influence and the hidden costs of impaired driving?

What Makes Driving Under the Influence So Dangerous?

You might not feel too impaired to drive yourself home after drinking or using drugs. However, it only takes a small amount of drugs or alcohol to cloud your judgment and instill you with a false confidence that makes you drive recklessly, even if you’re usually a cautious, considerate driver. 

Substances like alcohol, opioids and marijuana can also slow your reaction time and affect your motor skills, leaving you sluggish and uncoordinated. For example, you might not be able to hit the brakes in time if the driver in front of you suddenly stops to let a pedestrian or cyclist cross the street, which would make you at fault in a rear-end collision. 

Drugs and alcohol also shorten your attention span, and when you aren’t focusing 100% on the road, accidents can occur. Being drunk or high makes it much more challenging to multitask, which is an essential skill when piloting a vehicle. Distracted driving is hazardous enough for sober people. If you’re intoxicated and take your eyes off the road for even a couple of seconds to change the radio station or send a text, you could cause a serious accident.

The Hidden Costs of Impaired Driving 

In addition to causing hundreds of injuries and thousands of deaths every year, driving under the influence can lead to a DUI arrest, which comes with mandatory jail time in almost every state. The jail sentence and electronic home monitoring increase sharply with second or subsequent convictions. 

Having a DUI can make it more challenging for you to find consistent employment, as many employers are unwilling to hire someone with a criminal record. If you get your driver’s license suspended or revoked after a DUI, you’ll lose the freedom to drive yourself anywhere you need or want to go, and will have to depend on public transportation, ridesharing or generous friends to take you everywhere – including work. The lost independence will mean you’re no longer fully in charge of your daily comings and goings, which might make you less reliable in a hiring manager’s eyes. You could struggle to make ends meet if you don’t have a steady job.  

If you drive under the influence and get caught, your auto insurance company will likely increase your rates, even when there’s no damage, injury or death involved. Insurers categorize people with one or more DUI charges as being higher-risk, which means your insurance bills could go up exponentially. 

Other hidden costs of impaired driving include court and attorney fees, court-ordered alcohol and drug education, medical bills and the expenses associated with getting your driver’s license reinstated when you are finally clear to do so. Depending on where you live, these might total in the thousands of dollars.    

Is Driving Under the Influence Worth These Heavy Costs?

Every year, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are two of the most dangerous days to be on the road. This winter, before you decide to get behind the wheel after having a few drinks or getting high at a holiday gathering, reevaluate all the possible costs of impaired driving – which might include your or someone else’s life. 

If you can’t imagine the holiday season without drinking or using drugs, you might have a substance abuse problem. In that case, you’ll benefit from a long-term addiction treatment program that starts with safe, medically monitored detoxification. Explore all the reasons Beach House’s approach to drug and alcohol rehab can help you find freedom by contacting us today.

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