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Posted on: November 13, 2019

Holiday Driving

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The holiday season is upon us. The joy that comes with the seasonal festivities is like nothing else we experience throughout the year. Unfortunately, for many families this holiday season, the love and laughter will be interrupted by tragedy and loss.


In spite of the stiff penalties, all the public service announcements, and the made-for-TV movies, many people (including some of you reading this article) will still choose to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol this holiday season.


The statistics are startling; in 2018, 10,511 people in the United States died as a result of drunk driving crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 29 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities are caused by drunk driving. The good news is that the total percentage of DUI fatalities has decreased by 3.6 percent since 2017. The bad news is we have a long way to go.


The Apache Junction Police Department is taking measures this holiday season to further reduce DUI fatalities. The department is assigning officers to saturation details in and around the city beginning Thanksgiving weekend and continuing throughout the month of December. In addition, officers will be participating in a multi-agency DUI task force throughout the holiday season. If you decide to drive under the influence in the city of Apache Junction there is a strong possibility you will be arrested.


On the bright side, you can avoid being arrested for driving under the influence by following these simple suggestions:


  • Make a transportation plan before you head out for the evening. Alcohol affects your judgement and impairs your ability to make good decisions. In advance, designate a (sober) driver, take a taxi or use a ride share company like Uber or Lyft.
  • Moderation is your friend. Every party or gathering doesn’t have to turn into an excuse to get drunk.
  • Invest in a personal breathalyzer. They can be purchased online for less than $100.
  • Don’t overestimate your tolerance to alcohol. It does not take as much as you might think to put you over the legal limit.
  • If someone tells you that you shouldn’t drive, take their advice. That person is trying to help you.


If for some reason you choose to ignore these suggestions and you are convicted of DUI be prepared to pay through the nose.


For your first DUI conviction expect to pay fines totaling up to $2,500. In addition to fines, you will likely be required to install and maintain an ignition interlock device at a cost of about $1,000. You also may be required to undergo alcohol screening tests and forced to attend sobriety classes which will cost $500.


On the bright side, the sobriety classes aren’t a requirement if you’re willing to spend 10 consecutive days in jail. You should also expect to see a $3,000 per year increase in the cost of your vehicle insurance as you will be required to purchase SR-22 coverage. If you can afford a vacation, you’ll have to run it by your probation officer before you leave the state as you will be on probation for 24 months. You should also be aware that the penalties cited here are for an ordinary misdemeanor DUI with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08. The penalties and expenses go up if you are convicted of extreme DUI, which is over 0.15.


You should also be aware that you don’t actually have to have a level of 0.08 to be charged and convicted of DUI.  An alcohol concentration in excess of 0.05 but less than 0.08 can still result in a DUI conviction if there is additional competent evidence presented which shows that you were impaired. In other words, it’s best if you don’t drive if you’re going to drink.


Of course all of these previously mentioned fines and penalties are supposed to serve as deterrents. If the fear of being arrested and convicted of DUI won’t dissuade you then maybe this will. Drunk driving destroys lives. Each year, for thousands of families across the nation, the joy of the holiday season comes to a violent and devastating end as they’re notified that their loved one was killed by a drunk driver. Please don’t become the source of someone else’s pain and grief this season.


Let’s all as a community commit ourselves to making this a safe and fun holiday season for everyone. Help keep our roads and our families safe. Don’t drink and drive.


https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving

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