By JASMINE COOLE
Everyone knows that drinking and driving can lead to serious — and sometimes deadly — consequences. But sometimes they make the decision to drive home after having just one or two drinks.
This is called buzzed driving, and many people don’t realize that buzzed driving carries the same risks and ramifications as drunken driving, especially if you get pulled over.
According to Ad Council, someone is killed in an alcohol-related car crash every 51 minutes. When a person decides to drink and drive after only a few drinks, they believe they’re not imposing the same dangers as a person driving drunk, and they may feel overconfident in their driving abilities. Driving while buzzed is especially tempting after meeting up with friends for drinks, or after a sporting event. And even if a driver doesn’t cause a fatal accident, they can still face jail time and thousands of dollars in fines and legal fees.
According to the Georgia Department of Motor Vehicles’ website, it is illegal for a person aged 21 years or older to drive if they have a minimum blood alcohol content percentage of 0.08 percent. However, a driver does not need to meet that minimum requirement in order to be considered for a Driving Under The Influence charge.
“There’s two types of DUI,” said Cpl. Christian Shepherd of the Kennesaw State University Campus Police Department. “There’s ‘less safe’ and there’s ‘per se.’ ‘Per se’ is, by legal definition, you are considered driving under the influence when your blood alcohol concentration is .08. Now, you can be charged with DUI even if you do not blow .08 or if your blood is drawn. You can be charged with ‘less safe’ if you’re below .08 or with reckless driving.”
A person can also expect to shovel out their savings in order to pay for the fines and legal fees.
“You can spend $10,000 to $15,000 fighting a DUI case,” said Shepherd. “To hire an attorney just to plead you is $2,500, minimum. Then the judge is probably gonna make you attend some sort of alcohol evaluation to see if you have a problem.”
Having a DUI on your record can have long-term consequences as well, and can even put a huge damper on students searching for jobs after graduation. For Skye Jones, an alumna of Kennesaw State, finding a job after graduation was challenging with the DUI charge she faced back in 2012.
“When you graduate, you have limited work experience despite internships,” she said. “So people look for those hints on your resume that tell them whether you’re responsible or not. A DUI was just another thing against me that could convince a hiring manager that I wasn’t worth calling.”
People have a variety of options when it comes to avoiding drunken driving. And nowadays there are services such as Uber and Lyft that provide safe rides home at a low cost, in addition to regular taxi services. With all the options available to make the right decision, is it really worth the risk?