Over 1,000 people are killed annually on Florida roadways in alcohol-related crashes.
The human body takes about one hour to eliminate the alcohol contained in an average drink. So it will take the average person about four hours to recover from the effects of four standard sized alcoholic beverages. Drinking coffee or taking a cold shower does not reduce the amount of time that the body needs to process alcohol. That is a myth.
You don’t have to be the one drinking to feel the effects of alcohol. Innocent victims of traffic crashes, robberies, hate crimes, and sexual assaults feel the effects of alcohol impairment on a daily basis in Florida.
Those who begin drinking before the age of 14 are five times more likely to be injured while under the influence of alcohol at some point during their lives than those who begin drinking after the age of 21.
Alcohol affects people differently, depending on their size, sex, body build, and metabolism.
Alcohol use plays a substantial role in all three leading causes of death among youth—unintentional injuries (including motor vehicle fatalities and drowning), suicides and homicides.
People who drink alcohol while dining tend to eat more—about 350 calories more—than at meals without alcohol.
Most teens believe that drinking is less dangerous than using drugs, in spite of the much higher rate (4 times) of alcohol-related deaths.
The brain goes through dynamic changes during adolescence, and alcohol can seriously damage long- and short-term growth processes. Damage from alcohol while a young person’s brain is still developing can be long-term and irreversible. In addition, short-term or moderate drinking impairs learning and memory far more in youth than adults. Adolescents need only drink half as much to suffer the same negative effects.
A clear relationship exists between alcohol use and grade-point average among college students: students with GPAs of D or F drink three times as much as those who earn As.
The costs of youth drinking are an estimated $53 billion annually, and include costs to society such as medical care costs and lost productivity, as well as costs to the young drinker such as pain and suffering and loss of income.
In Florida, a DUI conviction stays on your driving record for 75 years and on your criminal record for life! That means that every time you apply for a job you will have to check yes to the question, have you ever been convicted of a crime.
Florida DUI Laws
Under Section 316.1934, Florida Statute, it is unlawful to drive when a person’s normal faculties are impaired or when their blood-alcohol or breath-alcohol level is .08 or higher. The penalties upon conviction are the same, regardless of the manner in which the offense is proven.
The penalty for a first DUI conviction is:
- A fine of $250 to $500
- Imprisonment for up to six months
- Monthly reporting probation period (the total period of imprisonment plus probation may not exceed on year)
- Community-service work, with a minimum of 50 hours served
- Completion of an approved substance-abuse education course conducted by a DUI program licensed by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
- Revocation of the driver’s license for at least 180 days and up to one year
Impoundment of the vehicle that was operated by the defendant for 10 days
Second conviction for a DUI:
- A fine between $500 to $1,000
- If within 5 years of a previous conviction, a minimum 5 years revocation of driver’s license
- Imprisonment for not more than 9 months
- Completion of an approved substance-abuse education course conducted by a DUI program licensed by the DHSMV
- Installment of an ignition interlock device on all vehicles owned, leased, and routinely operated by the offender for a period of one year
Third conviction for DUI within 10 years of the prior convictions:
- Requires a fine between $2,000 and $5,000
- Defendant is guilty of a third-degree felony
- Mandatory imprisonment of at least 30 days
- Minimum 10 years revocation of driver’s license
- An ignition interlock device will be placed on all vehicles owned, leased, and routinely operated by the offender for a period of two years when the person becomes eligible for a license
- Impoundment of all vehicles owned by the defendant for 90 days
Third conviction for DUI not within 10 years:
- Requires a fine between $1,000 and $2,500
- Imprisonment for not more than 12 months
- An ignition interlock device will be placed on all vehicles owned, leased, and routinely operated by the offender for a period of at least two years when the person becomes eligible for a license
Fourth conviction for DUI:
- Is guilty of a third-degree felony
- Imprisonment for not more than 5 years
- The offender’s license is permanently revoked, with no chance for a hardship hearing
- The fine imposed may not be less than $1,000
Failure to buckle up contributes to more fatalities than any other single traffic safety-related behavior.
Despite terrible traffic problems such as aggressive driving, increasing safety belt use is still the single most effective thing we can do to save lives and reduce injuries on America’s roadways.
Adults who don’t buckle up are sending children a deadly message that it is all right not to wear a safety belt. Children model adult behavior. Research shows that if a driver is unbuckled, 70 percent of the time children riding in that vehicle won’t be buckled either.
Data suggests that education alone is not doing the job with young people, especially males ages 16 to 25- the age group least likely to buckle up. They simply do not believe they will be injured or killed. It takes stronger safety belt laws and high visibility enforcement campaigns to get them to buckle up.
Safety belts are the most effective safety devices in vehicles today, estimated to save 9,500 lives each year.
If 90 percent of Americans buckle up, we will prevent more than 5,500 deaths and 132,000 injuries annually.
The cost of unbuckled drivers and passengers goes beyond those killed and the loss to their families. We all pay for those who don’t buckle up – in higher taxes, higher health care, and higher insurance costs.
On average, inpatient hospital care costs for an unbelted crash victim are 50 percent higher than those for a belted crash victim. Society bears 85 percent of those costs, not the individuals involved.
By reaching the goal of 90 percent safety belt use, and 25 percent reduction in child fatalities by the year 2005, we will save $8.8 billion annually.
Research shows that when a driver is unbuckled, 70 percent of the time children in that vehicle will not be buckled either. A child unrestrained in a 30mph crash is equivalent to a child falling from a three-story building. Personal choice is forfeited when others are injured and killed.
Florida law is very specific about how passengers in Florida should be belted. All front seat occupants must be buckled up, regardless of age. Children ages 6 – 18 must be belted in either the front or back seat of the vehicle.
Every American pays about $580 a year toward the cost of automobile crashes. If everyone would buckle up, this figure would drop significantly.
In Florida, the highest safety belt usage was observed in women and men over 60 years of age, and the lowest use rates were found in men driving light trucks, vans, and cars.
Experience shows that upgrading to a primary safety belt law can result in up to a 15 percent increase in safety belt usage statewide.
The NHTSA estimates that if Florida had a primary enforcement safety belt law, 270 lives would be saved and 1,100 injuries prevented the first year. This represents $459 million in potential savings to taxpayers.