Not only is driving drunk illegal, it is also incredibly dangerous to anybody that is on the road--or near it. Drunk drivers routinely hurt themselves and the people around them and can cause fatal accidents in the blink of an eye. There are a few ways to spot a drunk driver that could save your life.
A drunk driver will:
-Tailgate - ride uncomfortably close to another driver's bumper.
-Accelerate and decelerate - random and extreme changes in speed are causes for concern and a great signifier of an unfocused and, possibly drunk, driver.
-Brake randomly - random stops in the middle of the road.
-Swerve - the biggest tell - a drunk driver cannot stay in their own lane.
As you can see all these "tells" pose potential danger to those around them. There are other little things that can be potential signs of drunk driving as well including: headlights being off, driving way too slow, or inconsistent turn signals that do not correlate with the actual road. However these same things can be signs of other sort of drivers (namely bad ones) as well.
If you have the feeling that the person in front of you is driving drunk then you should be sure to report them immediately. Pull over to the side of the road, after getting their license plate, and report them to the police.
While it may seem like a safer option, riding a bicycle while intoxicated is not necessarily legal. The laws differ per state. The key in determining your state's laws is to see how they define a "vehicle." Some states may classify bicycles as vehicles while others do not.
If your state's law includes the word "motor" with vehicle, it's a good bet that bicycles are excluded. However, that won't necessarily exempt you from receiving a ticket. Read the law very carefully and if you're still unsure, consult legal counsel.
It's important to remember that if you're operating a vehicle in a public roadway, you are putting yourself and others at risk if you are riding while intoxicated.
Receiving a DUI while operating a bicycle will not affect your driver's license because no licenses are required to ride bicycles.
The laws governing intoxication and bicycles vary from non-existent to quite specific. For example, in Washington state, a police officer cannot cite an intoxicated bicyclist but can transport him to safer place. In Oregon, the same vehicular laws apply to bicycles. Oregon is a "three strikes" state and a DUI received while biking counts towards those strikes. South Dakota offers yet another take. DUI laws do not apply to bicycles, tricycles, or animals.
The safest bet if you've been drinking to let someone else do the driving.
Having an open container of alcohol in your car while you're driving is against the law. Depending on the state you reside, and whether or not this is your first offense will determine if the crime is a felony or misdemeanor. If you're stopped by the police for a traffic offense, and the officer sees the container in plain sight, that gives him/her probable cause to ascertain whether or not you're driving under the influence. You can expect the officer to give you a field sobriety test and a Breathalyzer test. If you're not intoxicated in the officer's opinion, you will be cited for the open container and have to pay a fine; the amount of the fine depends upon your past arrest record. If you're a "habitual offender," the fine will be higher. Play it safe - keep the open container out of your reach in the trunk. Better still, don't have any open containers in the car, and don't allow any passengers to do so.
Did you know that MADD lobbied for your right to make a courtroom statement as the victim of a DUI offender who has moved into the sentencing phase? Underage drinking, teen drunk driving, and other DUI or DWI cases now offer a constitutionally protected right for you, the victim, to deliver a victim impact statement to the court in many states.
The victim impact statement can help demonstrate the seriousness of the crime, and bring you closure during a painful period in life. Nobody wants to become part of the underage drinking statistics, DUI accident or crime rates, or any other such measurement of DUI related crimes. But in an unfortunate circumstance, it's important to do whatever is possible to bring closure and remind others that these crimes can and do happen very close to home.
While not all MADD chapters have the resources to do so, in some states, MADD advocates can accompany you to the courtroom in drunk driving-related court dates. If your family has been the victim of drunk driving, whether it is an underage drinking case, a repeat adult DUI offender, or any other kind of case, you may not have to face the court--or the offender--alone. In places such as Washington State, courtroom accompaniment services are available should you need it. If this program is not available in your area, ask what kinds of victim services are open to you. You may get some excellent information on community referral programs that can assist you in a time of great difficulty. Underage drinking, teen drunk driving, and other situations that can bring unexpected grief into your life don't have to be handled alone. MADD is there to help.
Did you know that MADD offers many forms of assistance for the victims of drunk driving? MADD can assist victims of drunk drivers in locating emotional support, financial assistance, and help from state or federal agencies. MADD can provide helpful information on where to locate such assistance, especially where veteran's benefits, vocational rehab, and other programs are concerned. If you need such advice, don't hesitate to contact your local MADD chapter for immediate information.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|