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Thomas DeLattre and Glen D. Wieland

Driving Under the Influence: Drunk, Distracted or Drowsy

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2017 | DUI |

Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence usually refers to operating a vehicle while inebriated, but what many drivers fail to realize is there are other, equally dangerous influences that can spell danger for everyone on the road.

Have you ever driven while tipsy? Have you ever sent a text message while driving or nearly nodded off while behind the wheel? All of the above are easily avoided and could, with as much ease, cause the injury or death of yourself, your passengers and nearby motorists and pedestrians. Each can be dangerous when driving. Read on to learn more.

3 Deadly Influences When Behind the Wheel

Alcohol: We all know drinking and driving is incredibly negligent and selfish behavior, yet many are caught inebriated behind the wheel every year. As alcohol and certain drugs can lower one’s inhibitions and diminish good judgment, it is easy to see how one too many cocktails can lead to the impulse. However, it is the individual’s personal responsibility to everyone on the road to take a moment to think before they drink and arrange for a designated driver or utilize a ride-sharing app instead of pointlessly risking it all.

Even if you are confident that you can make the drive home without incident, remember the penalties if caught over the legal limit. For a first-time offense, those convicted of a DUI face:

  • 50 hours of community service
  • $250-$500 fine
  • Up to one year of probation
  • Up to six months of jail time
  • Up to nine months of jail time with a BAL of .08 or higher with a minor in the vehicle
  • Minimum 180-day license revocation
  • 12 hours of DUI school

All of the above penalties are assuming you do not harm people or property while driving under the influence. The penalties only get worse from here. Especially considering that Florida has quite a minimal option for public transportation, losing one’s license may result in work and personal issues, only complicating matters further.

It is not worth risking the strict penalties laid down by the law, nor the risk of hurting yourself or others due to a lack of proper planning.

Distractions: Our current high-tech lifestyles are something straight out of science fiction of days past thanks largely to our cell phones. Through social media, text messages, phone calls, emails and more, our attention is constantly being demanded in multiple places at the same time. The problem? Driving requires your complete attention at all times.

Taking your eyes off the road for mere seconds is enough to risk a serious accident. Risks like cyclists, pedestrians unexpectedly crossing the road, roadway construction, stopped vehicles and more could easily spell disaster if your eyes are not fixed on the road, as they should be.

Though Florida does not consider texting while driving a stoppable offense, it may result in a fine if stopped for another reason. However, if texting or other distracted driving is found to be the cause of an accident, especially one that results in injury or death, you will correctly be found negligent.

Even in today’s world of constant connection, you must put driving safety above your texting and social media habits. If you can’t resist the urge to check your phone, silence it and put it in your glove box until you safely arrive at your destination.

Sleep Deprivation: They often say that sleep is not something to take for granted. We may stay up late watching our favorite TV shows, reading an especially gripping novel or even pulling a late night at the office, but that morning grogginess can spell disaster if not kept in check.

Driving drowsy has strikingly similar symptoms to drinking and driving, including a lack of focus on the road, impaired decision making and affected vision. In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, after 18 hours without sleep, you drive like you have a blood alcohol level of .05. After 24 hours, driving is reduced to that of someone at .10.

Though there are not specific laws that regulate how much sleep non-professional drivers must get before hitting the road, it is highly advised that one gets a full night’s rest before a long drive, taking breaks when necessary, drinking caffeine to help with drowsiness and driving during the morning and day instead of nighttime hours when possible.

Though it may sound something akin to what a concerned mother may preach, being rested can truly save lives when it comes to roadway safety.

The Safest Route

Many of us enjoy adult beverages, most are attached at the hip to their cell phones and even more fail to get a full night’s rest. Our responsibility to ourselves and all those we share Florida’s roadways with is to ensure we are never driving under the influence of any of these potential risks. Never drink and drive, ignore those text messages and get to bed early. By doing so, you are actively making our roads safer for everyone.

If you are involved in an accident due to another’s reckless driving, please do not hesitate to contact our car accident attorneys immediately. We are ready to help you receive the compensation you deserve.

Drive safely.

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