The game show Press Your Luck was one of my favorite sick day treats while growing up. I loved watching how far contestants would push it risking a whammy and all of their cash in the process. Too many people risk getting a Driving Under the Influence offense (DUI) with Press Your Luck like abandon because they fail to prepare ahead of time or do not take the DUI threat seriously. DUI is a serious offense in every state in the US and many countries around the world. In every state a blood alcohol content of .08% is considered over the limit and many states have special laws punishing rates of .12% or over with extra vigilance.
Why take a DUI seriously?
- DUI is prosecuted as a serious crime because of the danger to innocent motorists. That means court involvement, fines, and possible jail time.
- DUI’s bring serious financial consequences with them. A recent article from Money.msn.com estimates the total around $10,000. The total financial components related to a DUI include bail, towing, fines, court costs, insurance increases, pricey legal fees, alcohol education classes, and possibly monitoring devices. Costs associated with possible lost work time are not reflected in this figure.
- A DUI carries a lot of social stigma and can also have an impact on your career if it is disclosed or interferes with your ability to work.
- You put others at risk if you attempt to operate a vehicle while highly intoxicated
How much alcohol would lead to you being over the limit?
This is a tough question to generalize since everyone has a different body size that processes alcohol different. Other factors such as stress level, amount of food you consume and pace of drinking must be taken into account to get an accurate indication. In general it is better to err on the side of caution and avoid drinking while driving altogether. For those that can practice moderation successfully I still recommend a little portable breathalyzer. They are cheap enough now to help give the extra piece of mind and also make fun party games.
Options for portable breathalyzers: They will cost you between 40$-130$ but worth having the extra control point considering the low investment. You can go cheaper as well but not sure I’d go lower than 40$.
How to avoid a DUI and still have fun
- Set up a designated driver rotation – My friends and I have taken this approach and it works well. Build the rotation up to 3 or 4 people and that means you have enough people to party with and still get home safely. Everybody wins
- Call a taxi – It’s going to cost you some extra money that you might not feel like spending but it is a lot cheaper than $10,000 so consider cab fees a sunk cost of a fun night on the town and try to split the cost among a few people.
- Get a hotel within walking distance – Try and split the cost a few ways to help make this a more affordable option
- Leave your car and get a ride – If you did not make arrangements ahead of time and find yourself in a situation where it is better not to drive don’t. Getting a ride or a taxi will be preferable than risking your future.
- Throw a party at home – Now your covered but make sure your guests are too.
DUI danger situations
- When you will be going out during a highly emotional time – A few people I know got DUIs when they were under extreme emotional stress, going through things like breakups, divorce, deaths etc.. What out when you go out in these times and try to get a ride or avoid going out
- When your returning from partying late at night – Even if you have practiced total moderation unless you know how your body processes alcohol or have a portable breathalyzer how do you know for sure your legal? I have a hunch I can not pass a field test while sober they look hard..
- Hungover early in the morning – Your chances of getting a DUI in the morning are significantly less but that doesn’t mean your not legally drunk. If you were partying hard and out late there is a good chance your over the limit early in the morning. Even though it feels more like a hangover its over the limit.
DUI’s are serious business but do not mean if you got one your a bad person, you just used bad judgement. This is one lesson you should not need to learn the hard way so plan ahead and stay safe.