Driving While Intoxicated abbreviated thus (DWI) is the offense of driving, operating, or being in control of a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other drugs (including recreational drugs and those prescribed by physicians), to a level that renders the driver incapable of operating a motor vehicle safely.
It is expressed in different ways in some quarters; like Driving While Impaired or Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Drunk Driving, Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OVI) in Ohio, Drink-driving (UK/Ireland), or Impaired driving (Canada).
Driving While Intoxicated involves operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of at least 0.08 percent. However, even a small amount of alcohol can lead to harmful situations. Some drivers may not even show warning signs of being under the influence, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less dangerous. It’s important to remember that any form of drinking and driving is illegal and can come with strict punishment.
Dangers of Driving While Intoxicated
Any amount of alcohol in your bloodstream can impact your driving ability. The effect vary greatly, putting you at risk for causing an accident or highway injury. Safe driving requires the ability to concentrate, make good judgments and quickly react to situations. However, alcohol affects these skills, putting yourself and others in danger.
Ways DWI impairs your driving skills:
It slows your reaction time: When you are intoxicated with alcohol or other hard drugs, it affects how quickly you are able to respond to different situations which can increase the likelihood of an accident.
Lack of coordination: Chronic drinking affects your motor skills such as eye, hand and foot coordination, this will make you unable to avoid an impending harmful situation.
Reduce concentration: Alcohol affects your concentration. With driving, there are many things that require your undivided concentration such as staying in your lane, your speed, other cars on the road and traffic signals. Your attention span is dramatically reduced with drinking, which significantly increases the chance of an accident.
Decrease vision: Alcohol decreases your vision. After drinking your vision may become blurred or you find it difficult to control your eye movement. Impaired vision can affect how you judge the distance between your car and other vehicles on the road, objects, etc.
Impairs Judgment: Your brain controls how you judge certain circumstances. When operating a motorized vehicle, your judgement skills play an important role in how you make decisions. For instance, you need to be able to foresee potential problems and make clear decisions if another vehicle cuts you off. Your judgement helps you stay alert and aware of surrounding conditions while driving.
Consequences of Driving While Intoxicated
If someone drives drunk and survives a crash that injures or kills other people, he or she must live with the consequences. That emotional burden can be worse than any bodily harm.
But the physical perils of drunk driving are immense, too. Impaired driving can cause accidents that lead to paralysis, disfigurement, brain damage, and even death.
Impaired driving is also a crime. Drunk drivers often pay significant fines, lose their license. and face higher insurance costs. Common punishments for conviction of a drunken driving-related offense can include:
- Driver’s license suspension / revocation
- Imprisonment in jail
- Vehicle impoundment
- Vehicle license plate confiscation
- Ignition interlock device (IID) restrictions
- Alcohol abuse evaluations
- Mandatory alcohol abuse treatment programs
- Monitored sobriety
How to Prevent Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
- Do not let friends drive after drinking. Take their keys.
- If you have been drinking, get a ride home from a friend who has not been drinking or call a taxi.
- If you host a party with alcohol, offer alcohol-free beverages and remind guests to designate a sober driver.
- If you suspect a drunk driver on the road, call the police and provide the location, direction the vehicle is headed, the vehicle’s make, model, color and license plate number.
- Understand both how much alcohol you are having and how much you should have
- Slow your intake with alcohol-free drinks
- Skip the drinking games and shots