Intoxication is a process that has several stages with an ultimate result – slow reaction time. When one takes in alcohol, the blood stream transports it directly to the brain where it depresses and slows down brain activity. Alcohol is filtered into the bloodstream so quickly that within moments of consumption it can be found in all tissues, organs and secretions of the body. Driving Under Influence (DUI) as well as Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) is what results when someone decides to drive or operate a motor vehicle with blood levels that exceed the legal limit-Blood Alcohol Content (BAC).
Higher Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) depresses the brain activity to such a point that the memory, as well as muscular coordination and balance, are temporarily impaired. This lowers reaction time as well as the rate of judgment. The person’s receptor nerves of the eye become highly sensitive and being on the road in such a state poses major road hazards.
Driving under influence has very bad effects, according to an Australian Department of Transport report:
“If you drink alcohol and drive, you may likely find it difficult to: judge the speed of your vehicle, judge the distance between you and other cars, notice traffic lights, pedestrians and other hazards, concentrate on the task of driving, keep your balance, especially if you are riding a motorcycle, stay awake when driving; and react appropriately to things going on around you, particularly if an unexpected hazard should suddenly appear” (p. 2).
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Therefore, driving under influence always has fatal results that usually involve massive death tolls in case of an accident. Chances of survival are very low where one party is DUI compared to an accident caused by other factors.
According to the U.S Department of Transportation Statistics, “In 2010, 85 percent (9,694) of the 11,432 drivers with a BAC of 0.01 or higher who were involved in fatal crashes had BAC levels at or above 0.03, and 58 percent (6,652) had BAC levels at or above 0.15. The most frequently recorded BAC level among drinking drivers in fatal crashes was 0.18”. When one’s alcohol content exceeds the limit and they continue to drive and operate a motor vehicle, they are most likely to be involved in an accident.
To every action, there is an opposite but equal reaction – this is Newton’s third law of motion. Thus, it comes as the normal courtesy that those who drive while under the influence of any alcoholic substances be punished. DUI is a punishable offence in most countries. Setting up and enforcing blood alcohol concentration limits for drivers with random breath testing at sobriety checkpoints has become a worldwide feature.
A Canadian Insurance company compiled an article that indicates the variable fines one can expect to pay when caught while driving under influence. “For a first conviction, there is a minimum fine of $600, in addition to a 12-month license suspension and a further 1 month of being required to use an ignition interlock device” (para. 5). This is quite a heavy penalty, especially for a first-time offender, because most people who fall under this category are youngsters and this means missing out on some of their routine fun activities. As targeted by various governments, the preparations have to be steep to discourage such endeavors in the future.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is under the estimated time. Roughly, one person is either injured or killed every minute due to someone driving while intoxicated. Drinking alcohol and driving are both activities that seem routine especially in today’s youth.
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Problem drinkers often termed as “hard-core drinking drivers” are proving to be a problem that is permanent. DUI repeatedly seems like a hobby to some of the drivers out there. The thought of putting nondrinkers, animals and other road users seems to be eluded by the “one more for the road” saying. Numerous statistics, shown on televisions and public billboards, of drivers with a BAC exceeding 0.15 percent seem not to help these drivers see some sense.
There is more to driving under the influence than driving under the influence of alcohol. Over the counter, decongestants can affect driving skills – moreover illegal drugs. Most people overlook the fact that alcohol is not the only drug that affects driving skills. The education system and most researches carried out put more emphasis on alcohol that people are reluctant to believe that they can be intoxicated from prescription tablets.
Driving under the influence of drugs, when one takes in drugs they target the nerve cells and the central nervous system along the process. The nerve cells happen to be the only type of cells that cannot reproduce. When lost or damaged, there is no replacement forever. Thus, fewer nerve cells mean the slower reaction in the nervous system.
Drug abuse has been gradually increasing, but since the most visible DUI issue is alcohol related, the effects and contribution have been overlooked. Jolly says “…treatment for substance abuse where appropriate. In the last couple of decades, drug DUI cases have been growing in number.” (p. 25). The extent to which alcohol and drug abuse dominates people thinking about traffic safety clearly rings a bell that more attention needs to be directed in drug taking within the community.
Despite the knowledge about a drug’s potential, lethal effects on driving performance and other concerns that have been acknowledged by most of the health and policy officials. Not much effort is being put into totally doing away with DUI of drugs and/ or alcohol.
Factors leading to most fatal road accidents have been put together to indicate alcohol and drugs on top of the list among others. According to an article on the World Health Organization European site, a compilation by Villaveces et al states that: “…and for interventions related to such risk factors as alcohol, fatigue, medicines and recreational drugs; elucidating drugs as well as their possible interactions in increasing the risk of crashes, including when used in combination with alcohol” (p. 71). This shows that alcohol and drug use have been found wanting as weapons of destruction in the transport sector and around.
Buzzed driving is misunderstood. Most people think that there is a difference between being buzzed and being drunk. In an effort to make roads safer, Mayer a worker of the National Traffic Safety Administration in America conducted a research on young people aged between 18 and 34. “All of the groups had participants who reported taking keys from a friend who was too drunk to drive. They considered this though if the person was “totally wasted”, not just “slightly buzzed”
Being drunk is being drunk, no matter the feeling and actions. One is said to be feeling tipsy and light headed and happy which most youngsters describe as being buzzed. This, however, is not true as each individual is structured differently from the next person and what happens to one’s friend cannot be true for the next person.
One can say they are buzzed but not drunk, but the breathalyzer might prove them wrong. That warm floaty and soft feeling that most people fail to stop at can exceed the legal limit in the blood stream. As one continues drinking and the world starts being loud and objects start spinning, the drinking party loses its meaning. This is the point when one is passed as wasted and totally drunk.
When it comes to driving, being buzzed is being drunk, driving while buzzed is drunk driving; it is as simple as that. One has to find a designated driver whether they define themselves as drunk or buzzed. Numerous people have been thrown into jail because their BAC was above the legal limit, whereas they thought themselves fit enough to drive. Whether you are buzzed or drunk – the end result is the same, you get arrested.
The State of Iowa is run by a tight lock and key legislative system. The Iowa State Law that is the “Implied Consent Law” can be found in Iowa Code Title VIII. Chapter 321J. This consent law, as written by Wall-Cyb, states that as long as one is within the State of Iowa, then Implied Consent fully applies that is, “If you are lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe that you have been driving under the influence, then you consent to taking a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining your blood alcohol content (BAC)”. (para 1.)
When one gets pulled over for an OWI check and the officer asks them to take a blood, breath, or urine test… the individual has to take one, this is a must. This law applies to everyone within the state and it is mandatory. Failure to comply and cooperate with an officer of the law results in a heavy penalty.
Refusal to take the test within the state has a lot of penalties. First refusing to take the test within 2 hours of being legally arrested will result in a notice from Iowa’s Department of Transportation suspending your license for one year if this will be the first refusal case, but if there are prior refusal encounters before, the license suspension will be for 2 years. A permanent license that lasts for up to 10 days enables the offender to contest the suspension sentence. This is a pretty tight legal procedure.
Once arrested and undergoing the legal procedure in Iowa, chances of winning the case are usually very slim, unless there is good legal counsel – a lawyer that specializes in OWI defense cases. Total refusal to provide one’s blood, breath or urine can be used against them in the court of law as evidence of the knowledge that they were driving under the influence and/or Operating While Intoxicated. The penalty charges are very harsh
This research found beyond doubt that cases of DUI and OWI need to be dealt with harsher than they are being currently handled. This will dissuade the youth, those growing and currently involved in binge drinking to quit whilst there is still time. Despite the efforts by organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in conjunction with governments to try and contain deaths resulting from alcohol and drug abuse, the truth of the matter is the death toll and is still high.
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