While most people get the picture that drinking and driving don’t mix, there are still those who think the rules don’t apply to them because they are the exception and will not get caught.
Drunk driving education has been in effect in all American states for many years now, and yet, devastating accidents continue to happen. “No matter how graphic the pictures of the carnage, crashes due to an inebriated driver are regular occurrences on police blotters across Florida,” said Orlando injury lawyer, Tony Francis of the Francis Law Firm in Orlando.
On the upside of this story is the fact that in 2006, drunk driving deaths dropped to 959 fatalities, a significant drop from 2005’s number of 1,271. While there is definitely room for improvement here, the numbers are encouraging. However numbers like these are still cause for concern and this is one of the reasons that all 50 states have two statutory offenses for those charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
“The first offense and it’s considered to be the original one,” explained Francis, ” is called either driving while under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI) or operating a vehicle while impaired (OWI).” What a driver is charged with is usually at the discretion of the police officer that pulls them over. The second offense is called illegal per se, which basically means operating a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% of higher.
“Floridians are nothing if not creative,” indicated Francis, as he outlined an interesting program launched in Maricopa County called DD 24-7 that stands for Designated Drivers 24-7. It was started in December of 2008 and became a virtual overnight success when they offered people and groups (there’s even an executive membership) a pick up from where they were drinking and a drive home safely. “The program takes the person’s car and them home safely,” he added.
It’s a fairly straightforward service. Anyone who has been drinking and isn’t able to drive calls DD 24-7 and within 30 minutes a team of designated drivers shows up. The first driver handles the member’s car, the member, and any guests by dropping them off at home. Driver number two follows along and then takes the first driver back to the office.
Without getting into the wherewithal of payments, tips or any fees that may be required for this service, it’s a sign of the times that private individuals are taking matters into their own hands to make a difference in waging war on drunk drivers. Along the way they have demonstrated that people can make a difference in dealing with the problem of drinking and driving by thinking outside the box. Would the government have the same capacity to address this issue in a more successful manner?
“Drinking and driving is not the smartest thing to do,” commented Francis, “but if you do indulge and get stopped, do not take any of the roadside sobriety tests. Wait until you have contacted an attorney before you say a word. It may mean a trip to the police station, but on the other hand, it may also mean I might be able to save your license,” he added.