How To Make Sure Your Summertime Fun Does Not Result In A Conviction Of Drink Driving

As the holidays approach and people’s spirits are lifted by the thought of taking time off work to spend with their friends and families during the summer months, it is important to stop and think about your plans for the social calendar that lays ahead and make sure you take steps to avoid finding yourself in a position of drinking and driving. This article seeks to remind us of the disastrous effects of drinking and driving, how to drink and stay within the legal limits, and what the penalties of being caught driving while over the legal limit of alcohol are.

So what are we legally allowed to drink and still be ‘safe’ to drive? Current law states that we should not consume more than 80mg of alcohol for every 100ml of blood in our body. In real terms, this roughly equates to one large glass of wine for women (equivalent to 3 units of alcohol) and 2 pints of lager for men (equivalent to 4 units of alcohol). However, these guidelines should be treated with caution as the amount of time it takes for alcohol to be released from the bloodstream varies from person to person depending on factors such as their age, height, weight and build. The only way you can guarantee that you are not going to fall foul of the legal driving limits is by abstaining from alcohol altogether if you are planning to drive.

The effect of alcohol on our ability to drive can be extremely significant and, as we are all aware, the results can often be catastrophic. Even one glass of wine can affect our ability to make snap decisions which may avoid a collision. In addition, alcohol effects our reaction times (meaning our ability to brake in time to avoid a collision may be impaired) and our co-ordination and vision can also be effected. People that have had even a small amount of alcohol before getting behind the wheel are more likely to take unnecessary risks which may result in a collision.

If you are caught driving whilst over the legal limit of alcohol you can expect to receive a punishment which is severe. You are likely to have your licence taken away for at least 12 months, you may face a fine of up to £5000, you may face a prison sentence of up to 6 months and your insurance premiums are likely to increase.

The best approach to staying safe this summer is to plan, plan, plan. Make sure you either designate a driver within your group of friends who will agree to drink soft drinks all evening, or alternatively book a taxi in advance so that you do not have to make a decision about how to get home at the end of the evening. Too many people in the UK are still having their lives devastated by drink drivers – make sure you to your bit to reduce the risk of people being harmed or even killed in this way.

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What Can We Do to Prevent Drinking and Driving?

We hear on the news day after day that people are getting into accidents while under the influence of alcohol. How can we as a society prevent alcohol-related accidents among people who are dependent on alcohol? Is there a sociological approach?

Alcohol dependency is a problem that affects all of us. Therefore, we all have to do what we can to limit its negative impacts on society, whether taking a friend or family member to alcohol rehab centers or volunteering on a regular basis as a designated driver. The addiction to alcohol is chronic and progressive in nature, (Alcohol Research and Health). This disorder is a disease like any other medical conditions that needs medical interventions or treatments. Punishing offenders of alcohol induced infractions is only a part of the solution. For one thing, people who get into car accidents as a result of alcohol use will still continue to drink if they don’t get proper treatment for their alcohol dependency problem. To make matters worse, many alcoholics don’t believe that they have an alcohol problem until it is too late, either they lose their jobs or they get into a severe motor vehicle accident as a result of their alcohol dependency.

We as a society cannot afford to wait until alcoholics figure out their problems. We have to be proactive by creating a plan that will help save the lives of both alcoholics and our citizens from alcohol-related incidence.

Our society should put in place a system that regulates the amount of alcoholic beverages an individual can consume at a bar in a given day. No one person should be given the opportunity to consume more alcohol than is legally allowed, in regards to blood-alcohol levels. Our society is making it too easy for people to get into trouble by drinking too much. If one beer is enough to prevent people from going over the legal drinking limit, then one beer should be the norm for anyone who enters a bar and orders beer. Our current stance is that people should be held accountable for their actions and therefore should take responsibility for such actions. The sad truth is that such strategy is not working because if it was we wouldn’t be hearing about so money alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents.

Alcoholism or alcohol dependency is a disease that needs to be dealt with as such. Many research studies have been conducted using primates, such as monkeys to understand the mechanism of alcohol dependency; such animals are used in these studies because they have similar genetic predispositions as humans, (Alcohol Research and Health). A substantial amount of research has examined the neurobiological basis for alcohol abuse, which includes neurobiological adaptations. Neurobiological adaptations is believed to be the mediator of addictive behaviors associated with alcoholism.

Alcohol dependency is therefore a medical condition with a neurobiological basis. Society cannot depend on an alcohol-susceptible person to make wise decisions when it comes to the consumption of alcohol and getting behind the wheel of a car. There has to be a regulatory mechanism in place, which will prevent an alcohol susceptible person from drinking too much while outside the home.

It does not make much sense to always allowing people the opportunity to drink as much as they want knowing that such actions will put people at increase risk for getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol. A preventive strategy should be put into place. It is always easier to prevent the problem than to cure it. One should realize that it is much more difficult for a person under the influence to make wise decisions. We should not leave it up to the drunken person to make the decision as to whether to get behind the wheel or not. We should instead create an environment where people will have the opportunity to make such decision with a clear head.

Our society allows people to drink as much alcohol as they want at bars with no restrictions. Most of the time people drink because they refuse to face stressful situations in their lives. So, they go to the bar and drink beer after beer to get drunk, so they can temporarily rid themselves of their worries at home. We as a society should help these people by not making it so easy for them to drink as much as they want, especially at a bar. Granted, it is next to impossible to control how much a person drinks at home. However, it is very possible to control how much a person is allowed to drink at a bar. It is much better for society when a person drinks at home because that person is not compelled to get behind the wheel of a car and drive home, as that person is compelled to do while at a bar. People have no choice but to get behind the wheel of a car and drive home when at a bar, especially if that person’s judgment is impaired as a result of excessive amounts of alcohol intake.

We should not totally ban alcohol. Such actions did not work in the roaring twenties when alcohol was totally prohibited. Doing so would not work today. There were many illegal smuggling of alcohol going on in those days as a result of prohibition. The ban of alcohol in the 1920s gave rise to another problem-drugs. So, totally eradicating alcohol is not the answer, but regulating it could be a very good option in limiting the amounts of alcohol-related accidents on our streets.

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To Drink Or Not to Drink That Is The Question?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a sanctimonious prude.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a sanctimonious prude. I have a drink now and then, especially if relaxing in the evening with friends. My preference is Appleton or Mont Gay rum mixed with my favorite cola and a few ice cubes. The ice is very important even if the cola is already cold, since it keeps the drink tasting fresh. The cola doesn’t seem to go flat as quickly with ice in it, as it does if you are depending upon the cold cola alone to keep the drink tasting the way it should.

What do you do if you do not presently drink?

If you do not presently drink alcoholic beverages at all, think long and hard before you start. If you are going to drink, drink responsibly. Don’t let your drinking get out of control. I will expand on these points later and also point out the consequences that can follow if my words of caution are lightly dismissed.

What about an occasional drink, is that okay?

An occasional drink now and then when having a night out or gathering with friends in a private setting if engaged in responsibly, for me at least, is relaxing and helps to rid myself of the anxieties and stress of the moment. For a few minutes you can forget that there is a whole world out there to which you must relate in several ways: family, friends, job, neighbor, you name it; all have a claim on your time. All are attempting to gain your attention and if you do not have a way to release the stress it can sometimes seem entirely too much.

The important thing to realize is that while a temporary flight of fancy away from your problems may buy a little breathing space, the problems you had before you took that drink are still there when you finish it. It takes you to solve the problems that exist in your life and you do that by taking constructive action specifically designed to meet the need. Drinking alcoholic beverages won’t solve any problem for you. So be aware of your limit and then stop drinking. All sorts of problems can come your way if you don’t stop when you should have.

If you are drinking away from home and need to get back, you could have a designated driver or a taxi take you there. This would be a better decision than driving yourself home when you’ve had too much to drink. Aside from the fact that it is against the law to drive under the influence of alcohol when your normal faculties are impaired, you could negligently cause significant property damage, seriously injure or kill someone, and in the process injure yourself and lose your driving privileges or even kill yourself. It isn’t worth the risk to get behind the wheel when you’ve had too much to drink. Too many things can go wrong and you could end up paying for that mistake for years to come. A lesson you will have had to learn the hard way.

Although retired now, when I was still practicing law, I represented many individuals charged with driving while intoxicated. If someone was struck and killed, a manslaughter conviction could put that person in the State Prison for a very long time. No-one wants that to happen. Even if no accident occurs and nothing more than being cited for driving under the influence happens, a court appearance is necessary and you could lose your driver’s license, with the possible exception of only being allowed to drive for work purposes. What a drag that is. No wheels available to take you where you want to go. Having to depend upon others for a ride.

If under the age of twenty-one are you even old enough to drink legally where you live?

The legal age for drinking may vary with each jurisdiction. Check to make sure you understand what the legal age for drinking is where you live. If you have not yet reached the minimum age for drinking, act responsibly. Do not falsify an identification card to show an attained age that is incorrect. That could get you arrested. It is not worth taking the risk. You may think you look old enough to pull the off the ruse, but very often you are sadly mistaken in assuming that bar tenders, store attendants and others checking identifications can’t put two and two together, confiscate your altered identification and report you to the authorities. Most night clubs and stores selling alcoholic beverages do not want to jeopardize their liquor license by selling or serving alcohol to a minor. Having an adult make the purchase of alcohol for you is every bit as much of a problem and only spells trouble for all concerned when caught.

But the legal problems you confront are only the tip of the iceberg. There are lots of other considerations as well. If an underaged drinker and you are stopped by the police, how do you explain all of that to your parents? Lying to the police or to your parents only digs a bigger hole to crawl out of, you are diminished as a person and as a result, lose a measure of your self-respect. It isn’t worth it.

Dancing With The Stars

Dancing With The Stars is an entertaining program to watch on television, but dancing on the table with shirt off and a red rose between your teeth after consuming more alcohol than is wont, is a no-no. It is unseemly to be dancing on a table at a night club or on the table of your host and hostess bringing embarrassment to yourself and all others present with your tomfoolery. It is like mooning someone with your bare booty sticking out of the window of a fast-moving car. It may give you a huge momentary rush but in the long run you come across as being idiotic and immature. It is not “a good and wonderful thing” to come across to others as a fool. It is quite unacceptable and you will likely be labeled as a social pariah.

Conclusion

This is the message I want you to take away after reading this article. Each person must carefully consider the impact a decision to drink will have on them. The questions presented below, if thoughtfully entertained will help you find your own answer to the question whether or not drinking alcoholic beverages is right for you.

Assuming you are of a sufficient age to legally drink alcoholic beverages, if you do not presently drink why do you think you may wish to begin now?

Is it simply a matter of drinking because your friends drink? If so, that is a very poor reason to start. Don’t let peer pressure or mere social considerations make a decision of this magnitude for you. After considering all of the facts, you are quite capable of coming to your own conclusion. Show the maturity to think this through, come to a considered decision, and then stick to your guns. If wavering from your decision to not drink, review your reasons for choosing abstinence in the first place and see if those reasons are still valid.

If you decide to drink, will you be a responsible drinker?

Will you know your limits? Or, are you likely to abuse alcohol, and often become drunk. Even those of sufficient age to drink who are confident they can control their drinking are sometimes wrong and end up having to seek professional assistance to overcome the problem. If there are heavy drinkers or alcoholics in your family there may be a family tendency towards excessive drinking that puts you at greater risk of abusing alcohol than others might be. The risk to your health and well-being may be unacceptable. So weigh this issue carefully before you decide to begin drinking.

Can you afford the financial cost of buying alcoholic beverages?

If you cannot afford it, why do something that may put you financially at risk? Drinking can involve a sizeable expense that if not controlled, could have significant impact on your overall budget.

If you start drinking, will it make you less dependable in meeting your personal and family responsibilities and obligations?

My experience with others, especially those who end up being heavy drinkers is that they become less responsible in meeting their obligations to work, family and friends than they were before they fell into the pattern of frequent heavy drinking. Although retired now and no longer accept clients or give legal advice, I had a law partner who wasn’t happy with his lunch unless he had at least two martinis along with it. Over time as his drinking problem went from bad to worse and he became unreliable, I had to end my relationship with him because he showed up at afternoon court hearings with alcohol on his breath, was often late for office appointments with clients and the quality and amount of his legal work over time became unacceptable. Don’t let this kind of thing happen to you. Perform the duties of your employment well, to the best of your ability. Don’t start drinking your lunch.

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What is the Legal Alcohol Limit in Your State?

What is the legal alcohol limit in your state? The answer is important, because if you’re pulled over for suspicion of drunken driving and your breathalyzer test shows you to be over the legal limit, you will be arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Intoxicated, both serious offenses. The higher your blood alcohol level, the more serious the charges will be against you and the greater legal penalties you may face.

In the past, the legal alcohol limit varied from state to state. Today, however, it is uniform, as every state in the United States has adopted a legal limit of 0.08 percent. This means that no more than 0.08 percent of the content of your blood can have alcohol in it. The higher percentage of alcohol you have in your blood, the more intoxicated you are and the more severe your offense is. If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test to determine your blood alcohol level, you will most likely be taken to jail and forced to submit to a blood or urine test to determine your degree of intoxication. Once the results are back and show you to be over the limit, then you will be formally arrested. Up until that point, you are just being detained.

Of course, the legal alcohol limit of 0.08 percent applies only to private drivers of cars. People who drive public transportation vehicles on the ground, such as buses and taxis, can only have a blood alcohol level of 0.01 percent, while pilots are allowed a level of 0.04 percent within 8 hours of consuming alcohol.

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