An watchful citizen saw a West Richland woman driving erratically and alerted the authorities. She is now facing charges for suspicion of driving under the influence. West Richland Police say that this is the seventh similar arrest in the last two days with half of those arrests coming from others notifying the police. The community is to thank for helping to keep the streets and roads safe.

It shouldn’t be news to anyone that getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol is a life-threatening possibility!  Yet, despite the information and laws that prohibit such actions, it still happens. Law enforcement are the first to say that there just isn’t enough patrols to catch everyone that is a potential threat on the road. That’s where you come in.

“It’s a huge help for us,” Police Sergeant Duane Olsen said, about folks who see something and say something. “We like to work with the citizens, it’s really a community that keeps itself safe when they are an active part in that.”

He said DUI drivers are hard to catch because the ratio is pretty high. He said an estimate in 2016 put it as high as one in ten drivers. When it comes to everyone’s safety–those are some pretty high odds!

Local law enforcement had some tips if you seen somebody you believe to be driving impaired.

  • Get a license plate number
  • Describe the vehicle
  • And the direction it was going
  • Do not follow them, especially if they are speeding.

Dangerous Decisions

Driving under the influence is a serious and dangerous crime. With the creation of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and other national ad campaigns, there has been a notable reduction in the amount of alcohol-impaired driving deaths since the 1980’s. But even today, it is still the single highest cause of motor vehicle fatalities in the United States. Drunk  driving crashes claim more than 10,000 lives per year and another 290,000 were injured. Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers with blood alcohol concentrations of .08 and higher.

Since the consumption of alcohol is an elective choice, that means we can do better, because we know better–and save a lot more lives!

How Much is TOO Much to Drink?

Alcohol effects every body differently. It’s been well-documented on how it diminishes the body’s physical and cognitive response times as well. Check out this link for more information on alcohol’s effects on our biology and responsivity.

No matter your tolerance or ability to function after a few drinks, the law has clearly outlined what the legal limits are for anyone operating a motor vehicle. Here’s some of the reasons why the legal limit is .08 BAC and what you could expect to see in driving behaviors if the blood alcohol concentration was higher. 

Driving under the Influence is a Crime

It’s a well-known fact that DUI–Driving Under the Influence–is a crime. So there are stiff penalties for DUI in Washington state to help deter potential drivers from getting on the road if consuming alcohol. You may be charged with a DUI if you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) 0.08%, if you’re 21 years old and over. But did you know that the law also includes other limits that could get you in some legal hot water? The severity of your punishment may vary depending on how high your BAC is when you are arrested. You may also receive DUI-like penalties even if your BAC is under the legal limit.

  • 0.04%, if you are driving a commercial vehicle.
  • 0.02%, if you are younger than 21 years old

Take Steps to Prevent Drunk Driving:

Being a responsible citizen and driver means keeping the law, especially when it comes to driving under the influence. Here are a few things you can do to keep our community safe:

  • If you will be drinking, do NOT drive. Plan a safe ride home before you even head out to party or socialize. Designate a sober driver ahead of time.
  • If you drink, do not drive for any reason. Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, use public transportation, etc. Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app which helps you identify your location and call a taxi or friend to pick you up. Put the UBER or Lyft app on your phone ahead of time as well.
  • If someone you know has been drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel. Take their keys and help them arrange another ride home.
  • If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement immediately. Your actions could help save someone’s life.

Auto Accidents Can Be Costly

Don’t let a drunk driver take you to the cleaners or an early grave! The average drunk driver has driven drunk over 80 times before their first arrest. That’s 80 times a drunk driver comprised the well-being and safety of everyone on the road. Pass these tips along and encourage everyone you know to make smart choices before getting behind the wheel. Let’s ensure we all reach our destinations safely.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a motor vehicle collision due to a drunk driver, contact Fielding Law Group today for a free consultation with one of our legal professionals. Our accident attorneys know exactly how to get you the help and compensation you need to get your life back. Remember–Don’t let an accident WRECK YOU!