How does intoxicated driving impact me?
Intoxicated driving impacts us all. Directly or indirectly, many of us have been harmed in some way by individuals who made the decision to drive while impaired. Still, in recent years, we have seen an increase in the number of alternatives to driving while impaired and it is now easier and more cost effective to make the right and smart choice.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reports that in New Jersey in 2015, 163 traffic deaths were related to intoxicated driving (representing 29.3 percent of all total traffic deaths), which is, sadly, a significant increase from 2014.
In 2014, MADD reported that in the United States, 9,967 people were killed and approximately 290,000 were injured in accidents connected with intoxicated drivers. Shockingly, even those not directly involved in accidents caused by intoxicated drivers are impacted. MADD found that there is a $132 billion price tag given to American taxpayers each year to deal with drunk driving. In New Jersey alone, the price tag came to $992 million in 2015.
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility found that in 2014, over 23,000 people were arrested for driving while intoxicated in New Jersey (and more than 870,000 individuals throughout the entire country). The costs associated with these arrests add up very quickly.
While the national average cost incurred for a first time DUI offense is around $10,000, it has been shown that it can be considerably more in New Jersey (from $10,427 to $12,827). These costs include:
- Fines and assessments
- Required education classes/school
- Attorney fees
- Increases in insurance
There are also social and work costs associated with the inability to drive if you lose your license after a driving while intoxicated conviction.
What are the alternatives to driving under the influence of alcohol?
While there has never been an excuse for driving under the influence, there are now a growing number of available alternatives to driving while intoxicated. Consider alternatives like share-ride services (Uber, Lyft, etc.), public transportation, designated driver programs and taxi services. Uber alone has approximately 5,000 drivers in New Jersey.
MADD and Uber partnered up to release a report – “More Options. Shifting Mindsets. Driving Better Choices” – that found that in “California, drunk-driving crashes fell 6.5% among drivers under 30 in the markets where Uber operates […]. That represents potentially 60 fewer drunk driving crashes each month -- a total of 1,800 crashes avoided -- since July 2012.”
The joint report also found that:
- Nearly 4 in 5 (78%) respondents said friends are less likely to drive home after drinking since ridesharing services like Uber started operating in their city.
- A remarkable 93% of people would recommend Uber as a safer way home to a friend who had been drinking.
NJ Transit provides many alternatives to driving under the influence, including train, bus and light rail services. These are safe and cost effective ways to avoid driving under the influence.
Beer producers and distributers have also realized the advantages of getting people home safely after drinking. Many programs have been made available by these companies. For example, MillerCoors offers consumers a national taxi dispatch service (1-800-TAXICAB) where vouchers are available to consumers as a part of local promotions and advertised in radio, print and social media.
How can an attorney help if I have been arrested for driving under the influence?
Remember that you should never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but if you have been arrested on a DWI charge, contact a New Jersey DWI lawyer at Helmer, Conley and Kasselman, P.A. for immediate assistance.
An experienced DWI attorney can help you through the legal process and work to protect your rights. Never face a DWI charge alone, contact us today.