DUI is no laughing matter. That young man is lucky to be alive. Perhaps the saddest part of the story is that where he ended up at 7:30 that Monday evening is where he should have been headed. We commonly speak in terms of “the legal limit” for blood alcohol. There is a subtle deception in how we interpret that phrase. We infer that “legal limit” is “what we can get away with.” The truth is that a blood alcohol level of 0.08 (the recognized “legal limit”) is really the point at which a person is legally considered “impaired.” We may even take the word “impaired” too lightly. Merriam-Webster defines impaired as “unable to function normally or safely.” Dictionary.com calls it “deficient or incompetent; functioning poorly.” Perhaps we would all have a better understanding of DUI if it were more universally known as “Driving While Unable to Function.” Do Not Underestimate Inebriation
Although it may be difficult to legally draw a direct line from 20 empty beer bottles to that young man’s blood-alcohol level at the time of the incident, it certainly makes a clear case for probable cause. This is especially true because impairment is almost always a result of binge drinking. Although thankfully no one died in the incident, it is worth noting that the driver fits two out of four common binge drinking characteristics listed on our website.
- Binge drinking causes 80,000 deaths in America each year
- Binge drinking is most common among 18 to 34-year-olds
- Men are twice as likely to binge drink than women
- Binge drinking accounts for 90 percent of all underage drinking
The Centers for Disease Control has documented some sobering (or at least they should be) statistics about drinking while impaired. Consider that every day 28 people in the United States die “in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver.”
- That is one person in the U.S. every 58 minutes.
- That is 10,220 people in the U.S. every year.
- That is one-tenth of all alcohol-related deaths in the U.S.