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Combatting drunk driving is essential to lowering traffic deaths

Alcohol-impaired driving kills thousands of people each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the data available for the most recent 10-year period shows that 3,233 people died in New York motor vehicle crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers. Across the United States each year, more than 10,000 people die in alcohol-related crashes.

State and federal government agencies use data that law enforcement gathers to develop strategies to combat the prevalence of drinking and driving and the injuries and fatalities this behavior causes.

Laws

Although even one alcoholic beverage can affect someone’s driving abilities, the law sets the blood alcohol concentration limit at 0.08% for adult drivers. It is illegal for drivers under the age of 21 to drink any amount of alcohol. Most impaired driving convictions result in jail time, steep fines and restricted or suspended driving privileges.

Sobriety checkpoints

Although law enforcement has to have a reason to pull a vehicle to the side of the road, authorities can set up roadblocks where they stop and check drivers for alcohol impairment. Courts have determined these are legal in New York, and by publicizing the times and locations of the stops, law enforcement agencies reduce the number of drunk drivers on the roads.

Alcohol treatment programs

For a person with an addiction to alcohol, fines, prison time and other penalties may not be enough to stop the dangerous behavior. New York courts have set up drug court programs that enforce supervised addiction treatment for those with substance abuse issues. These programs have proven effective at reducing the number of alcohol-impaired drivers on New York streets.

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