Any progress made on preventing alcohol-impaired driving stalled starting in the mid-90s. While fatalities declined, twenty-five percent of all drivers who lose their lives have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent and higher.
High-profile enforcement that remains continuous is of paramount importance. In addition, various punitive measures can play a role in preventing this level of dangerous driving and including the following:
- Administrative license suspension after failing or refusing an alcohol test – Many drivers will likely think twice before getting behind the wheel of their car while under the influence.
- Ignition interlock devices – Mandated for most states, IIDs are effective because those convicted and required to install the system are less likely to drive drunk. On a larger scale, they also help to reduce drunk driving-related crashes.
- Sobriety checkpoints – Coordinated efforts have not led to many arrests. However, high-profile locations that are publicized effectively have served as a sound deterrent.
- Minimum drinking age – Young people are most at risk of alcohol-fueled collisions. Statistics show that raising the age to 21 has reduced dangerous driving by teenagers.
Problems with pot
With state after state legalizing marijuana for recreational use, operating a vehicle under the influence of pot is as dangerous as someone drinking and driving. Even worse, combined use carries significantly more impairments, with crash data revealing increases in areas of the country that have retail sales of cannabis.
Marijuana use continues to cause concern as more states legalize recreational use. Studies reveal that recent marijuana use worsens driving performance, with one-third of drivers admitting to combining it with alcohol, resulting in greater impairment of either substance alone. In fact accidents have grown in states that have legalized retail sales for recreational pot.
Tragically, drivers sharing the road with impaired operators do not see them coming. In a split second, collisions occur, leaving accident victims with severe and potentially fatal injuries.