Drinking and driving remains a top safety issue in Pennsylvania and nationwide. The consumption of alcohol is illegal for those under the age of 21, yet drunk driving accidents for the under 21 age group is a particular topic of concern.
Those who choose to drink and drive risk facing serious consequences. In PA, drivers under 21 who are convicted of driving with any amount of alcohol in their blood are subject to serious penalties including automatic license suspension, jail time and heavy fines. Worse yet, any person who makes the decision to drive drunk may cause an accident and end up killing themselves or someone else. On average, more than 3 people under the age of 21 die each day in alcohol-impaired driving crashes (Source: NHTSA/FARS, 2012).
Drunk driving is dangerous because of the effects alcohol has on the brain. The more alcohol a person ingests, the greater degree of difficulty a person will have functioning a motor vehicle. The speed of alcohol absorption also affects the rate of impairment on a person’s brain. This means that when a person drinks alcohol faster than it can be eliminated from their body, their blood alcohol content (BAC) rises.
In PA, drivers age 21+ are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more. Drivers under 21 are considered legally drunk when their BAC is .02 or more. These numbers are guidelines created as a way to enforce drunk driving laws, but the best way to avoid putting yourself or anyone else in a harmful situation is to abstain completely from drinking any amount of alcohol before driving.
The message is plain and simple: drunk driving kills.
At Metzger Wickersham, we want to remind people of all ages that injuries and fatalities caused by drunk driving are fully preventable. One bad choice can change your life forever. Don’t become a statistic. Join us in spreading the word that drunk drivers are not only a danger to themselves, but everyone else on the road. Send a message about the dangers of drunk driving by entering our Road to Safety Scholarship Contest.
STATS AND FACTS
- In 2012, 409 people died in alcohol-related crashes in Pennsylvania.
- Over 70% of alcohol-related accidents occur at night.
- Alcohol-related deaths account for more than 30% of all traffic fatalities in PA.
- Over 1.41 million drivers in the US were arrested in 2010 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.
- A first time drunk driving offender on average has driven drunk 87 times prior to being arrested.
- Over 70% of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities involve a driver with a BAC of .15 or higher.
- Drivers with a BAC of .15 and higher are 9 times more likely to have a prior DWI conviction.
- In 2013, 10,076 people died and 290,000 were injured in drunk driving crashes nationwide.
Sources: Just Drive PA / PennDOT / MADD / Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Pennsylvania DUI Association
Faces of Drunk Driving
Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
Students Against Destructive Decisions
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: Teen driving guide
How to drive stick shift
Sample driving exams
What to do after a car accident