DONE - Chapter 5. Societal and Economic Costs: Part 4

Florida Drug and Alcohol Test (TLSAE) Course: Chapter 5. Societal and Economic Costs

5.4. How Impaired Drivers Affect Other People

Section 5.4. How Impaired Drivers Affect Other People

(Family, Friends, Workplace, Law Enforcement Agencies, and the Court System)

If someone chooses to get behind the wheel in an impaired state, there could be serious consequences. Some might not even affect the driver; they could affect those in social circles around the driver, including family, friends and others that interact with the driver in a variety of ways - both directly and indirectly. The emotional impact upon a family is huge when any family member is charged with a crime, and driving under the influence is a crime. Time lost due to jail sentences is never recovered. Missed events due to court dates or other obligations as a result of DUI have an impact even on family members that are not participating in them.

Friends might not want to be around you if you are now the only one in your clique that has to go see your probation officer.

Most job application forms ask: "Have you ever been arrested?" Having a DUI conviction on your record could make you unemployable in certain fields.

Law enforcement agencies and courts are also involved when a person is arrested for DUI; this costs all taxpayers money and means that time and resources are spent on this easily preventable crime. A DUI can be avoided by making the right choice, thereby allowing police officers more time for other more positive tasks, such as community policing and patrols.

Emergency workers such as paramedics, firefighters, doctors and nurses all are impacted when a DUI fatality or injury occurs. This emotional cost cannot have a value placed upon it. Ambulances responding to a DUI collision might not be able to respond to another serious situation such as a heart attack or drowning....and that victim could be one of your loved ones!

Alcohol Can Mix with People's Attitudes as Well as Other Drugs

Being impaired while driving is dangerous. Add one of these two types of bad drivers, the aggressive driver, or the unaware driver, to the equation, and the danger increases significantly. NHTSA defines aggressive drivers as "high risk drivers [who] climb into the anonymity of an automobile and take out their frustrations on anybody at any time."

Let's review the characteristics of these two types of drivers.

Have you ever been behind someone on a single-lane road who's driving really slowly? There's a line of traffic behind them, but the person doesn't pull over. Why? Unaware drivers don't realize all those people are behind them. An aggressive driver says, "I know those people are behind me, but I don't care. I have to get where I'm going, and I'm more important." A driver is impaired when they are unaware of traffic around them or when they refuse to adapt their driving behavior to traffic conditions. If the driver is also under the influence of alcohol, she or he is even further impaired. Alcohol can also cause or contribute to other impairments, such as not being aware or being an aggressive driver.

Some people are both unaware and aggressive drivers. Do you know people like that? If these drivers are impaired by alcohol, the risks are even greater.

It's important to remember that a motor vehicle can be a deadly weapon. You must treat it as such and own up to the responsibility of driving. It's a right to own a vehicle, but it's a privilege to be allowed to drive it. Always keep that in mind.

Let's get started with behavior modification. It sometimes takes a tragic event to make people realize they've done something wrong. It hits them like a lightning bolt! A best friend loses their life drag racing because they thought it was cool. Another person drinks and drives and doesn't believe they will suffer any consequences until they kill somebody. These types of events are life-changing experiences.

Florida Drug and Alcohol Test (TLSAE) Course: