In headlines across the United States, fatalities are reported as a result of an individual driving under the influence of alcohol. While warnings are apparent in educational programs, literature and legal information, much of this documentation focuses on the risk associated with survival rates and legal consequences when driving under the influence. Perhaps what deserves even greater attention is the lasting impact such a choice can have on an individual.
This is not to downplay the loss of life when a fatal accident occurs, but perhaps such a threat isn’t personal enough to the individual who believes he is invincible. After all, one in 10 drivers operating a vehicle between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. on any given weekend is driving under the influence and 71 people are killed each day in this country as a result of this choice.
Whether the act of driving under the influence results in the loss of life or not, it can still greatly impact the life of the guilty if caught in the act. The loss of driving privileges is almost certain, yet this is only the beginning. To re-instate an individual license it can cost anywhere from $250 to $1,200. And, while the individual may choose to drive while the license is suspended, if he or she is caught doing so the consequences increase exponentially.
Therefore, the individual who abides by the law from the point of license loss on must rely on others or public transportation to get to work, shopping, entertainment, day care, etc. Personal and professional relationships can suffer when driving is not an option. If a job loss results, finding a new job is even more of a challenge.
If, at the very least, the DUI results in an arrest, there are specific professional consequences to consider. For one, the individual could lose his or her job as a result of the arrest, regardless of the time or location of the incident. Second, the individual must miss time at work as a result of the DUI arrest. Third, transportation to and from work becomes a challenge. And, finally, depending upon the profession, certain licenses are permanently out of reach. This can include teaching, driving and other licensed-based professions.
Along with this increased stress could also exist the pressure of providing for a family or setting the example for the teen living in the home – both of which become harder to accomplish. The social stigma can wreak havoc for the individual as accidents are often public knowledge, especially if alcohol is involved.
Aside from the fact that the individual has lost the right to drive is the fact that he or she now has a criminal charge on record. If the act resulted in a traffic accident that caused the death of another individual, he or she must live with that reality. Worse, that life may be lived behind bars if charged and convicted in the death. The potential consequences are just not worth getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking – they are often a permanent solution to a split-second mistake.