The Cost of Alcohol and Drug Impairment

Introduction

Alcohol is the number one drug used by teens. Driving while impaired by alcohol or other drugs and being on the road in the presence of an impaired driver poses the greatest threat to your life and the lives of your friends.

The costs associated with alcohol and drug abuse go way beyond the monetary costs of going to court, increased insurance, and crash repairs. When the consequences of driving while impaired involve injury or death, the costs can be horrific and impossible to measure.

Not only are people under the influence a risk to themselves, but they become a risk to others around them as well.

Learning Objectives

This module is about the costs associated with driving and alcohol/drug-related impairment. The topics that will be covered include:
  1. Crashes, Deaths, Injury, and Monetary Costs
  2. Crashes are Avoidable
  3. Effects of Impaired Drivers on Others
  4. Risk to Sober Drivers
  5. Victims Do Not Always Die
1. Crashes, Deaths, Injury, and Monetary Costs

On average in the U.S., one friend, parent, or family member dies every 32 minutes in alcohol-related crashes (5). Each one of these crashes could be avoided if everyone took the social responsibility “don’t drink and drive” seriously.

Try to imagine how many people are impacted by an alcohol-related death every 32 minutes. If one of your friends or siblings died because they were involved in a crash related to alcohol or drugs, how many people in your family would be devastated? How would it change your life? How many families would be affected? How many friends would it hurt to never see that person again? So now imagine the impact of having that many people affected because of an avoidable incident that happens in our society an average of 48 times a day. The numbers are impossible to measure!

Not everyone who gets hit by an impaired driver dies. The pain and suffering related to the injuries sustained in a crash may often be worse than dying to severely injured individuals.

People who are caught driving under the influence are categorized as reckless and careless, or worse. The social stigma of being a “drunk loser” may stick with you for life.

Costs that can be more accurately measured are the dollar costs - which are steep! In 2006, the estimated economic cost of alcohol-related crashes in the U.S. was over $129 billion. This includes monetary costs and insurance claims.

Even simple collisions can cost thousands of dollars in vehicle repair and increased insurance premiums. If you were impaired and responsible for a crash or get caught driving under the influence of drugs, where would this kind of money come from?

Florida 2008

In Florida, the numbers of deaths, injuries, and crashes related to alcohol/drug abuse are gathered each year. In 2008, Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported 39% of traffic fatalities and 9% of traffic crashes were alcohol-related. Drivers in the age group of 15 to 19 years old have the highest rate of crashes. Drivers age 20 to 24 years old hold the highest rate in fatal crashes (3). There was a decrease from 2007 in each of these categories:
  • Deaths - 1,169 alcohol-related traffic deaths
  • Injuries - 15,736 alcohol-related injury crashes
  • Crashes - 22,259 alcohol-related crashes

2. Crashes are Avoidable

A collision is something that is unavoidable. Crashes caused by poor driving are avoidable. Crashes and collisions are the result of something a driver does wrong behind the wheel - that’s why drivers need to develop good driving habits, follow the rules, and be good, safe drivers. Driving while under the influence of alcohol is obviously not a safe driving habit.

Take a moment again to imagine how many people are really impacted by those alcohol-related deaths that occur every 32 minutes. Friends and family relationships are permanently altered by losses in these crashes. Think about the pain suffered by so many people. The numbers and suffering are impossible to measure.

Law enforcement officers write citations for speeding and for seat belt violations. They also try to remove impaired drivers off the road before they kill people. It’s a proven fact that those things save lives.

The Cost of Drinking and Driving Under 21 = Suspension

In Florida, drivers under the age of 21 with a blood alcohol level of .02 or more will have their license immediately suspended for six months. This administrative action is for a first offense; a second offense will result in a one year suspension (FS 322.2616).

Refusal to submit to testing (first offense) results in a suspension of 12 months. A second or subsequent refusal is a 1st degree misdemeanor (FS 322.2616).

If your license is suspended, you will need to find alternative transportation. If you can’t get to your job, you lose your income. If you can’t find transportation to a team practice, you might have to quit the team. If you can’t drive to the mall or the movies, there goes your social life. The costs associated with a suspended license are not as great a losing your life or being injured, yet none of these consequences are worth the risk of drinking and getting behind the wheel.

3.3 The Cost of Alcohol and Drug Impairment

3. Effect of Impaired Drivers on Others

Impaired drivers not only harm themselves, but they harm other individuals and affect our entire society.

Hard-earned tax dollars are spent policing and prosecuting impaired drivers. Endless hours of training and law enforcement time are dedicated to the detection and removal of impaired drivers from our roads.

Our court system is also tied up with trials and prosecutions of impaired drivers. Those costs are huge and represent yet another cost to Florida taxpayers.

When a person is caught and legally labeled as a DUI offender, they will carry the stigma of being an impaired driver and the record of the offense on their driving record for their lifetime. Many people in our society view an impaired driver not only as reckless, selfish, and irresponsible, but a danger to society.

Other costs that cannot be measured include strained relationships, money losses, in addition to injury and death caused by riding with an impaired driver.

4. Risk to Sober Drivers

Mixing alcohol with driving does not just affect the driver who has been drinking or doing drugs. It has a potential impact on all other drivers who share the road. Impaired drivers are responsible for motor vehicle crashes that kill sober drivers too - not just themselves. All drivers who share the road with an impaired driver are at risk.

You don’t have to be drinking or under the influence of another drug to be the victim of a drug-related crash. Three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives, and many of those people will be sober.

On average in the U.S., one friend, parent, or family member dies every 32 minutes in alcohol-related crashes (5).

Sober drivers are killed by impaired drivers, especially late at night.

One study found that a sober driver’s chance of being involved in a fatal crash with an impaired driver is about 50 times as great during 1:00-3:00 a.m. as it is from 7:00 a.m.-noon.

5. Victims Do Not Always Die

In 1999, 20 year old Jacqueline Saburido left her family and friends in Venezuela to come to Austin, Texas. She traded flamenco dancing and jet skiing for an adventure in a new country and the chance to learn English. Reggie Stephey was a senior at Lake Travis High School near Austin. He played baseball and football.

Early one Sunday morning in the fall of 1999, Jacqui’s and Reggie’s paths crossed. In a split second, their lives would be changed forever. Just a few hours earlier, Jacqui had been at a birthday party with some of her new friends. It was late when they left the birthday party. That same Saturday, Reggie met some friends after work and had a few beers. Later, he went to a party and drank some more, even though it is illegal for anyone under 21 to buy or possess alcohol in Texas.

On a four-lane road just outside of Austin, Reggie’s SUV crossed the centerline and hit the car Jacqui was riding in, head-on. Two of Jacqui’s friends died instantly. Jacqui’s legs were pinned under the dashboard. Trapped, Jacqui begged for help, but rescuers could not get her out. A fire started in the engine and spread to the inside of the car. Engulfed in flames, she screamed for 45 seconds. Then there was silence.

Other than a few bruises, Reggie was OK except for one thing. A blood test showed he had been drinking. Police officers arrested Reggie and took him to jail. Jacqui was barely alive when she arrived at the hospital. She was burned over most of her body. The pain was indescribable and constant. Jacqui spent months in the hospital.

Reggie Stephey was tried and convicted for causing the deaths of two people while he was driving impaired. He is now in the state penitentiary, serving two concurrent 7-year sentences for intoxication manslaughter. Reggie never thought this could happen to him. He will be 28 years old when he is released from prison. The damage he did, he says, is “a pain that will never go away.”

Four years later, Jacqui’s recovery continues. She has had more than 50 operations so far and has many more to go. To get the medical care she needs, she must live in the United States - far away from family and friends. Once fiercely independent, Jacqui has come to rely on her father, Amadeo, to take care of her. Amadeo left his business in Caracas to take care of his only child. He has not left her side since the crash.

In May 2003, after many operations to replace her left eyelid that was completely destroyed in the fire, Jacqui was able to have a cornea transplant. The operation was a success, and some of her vision has now been restored.

Jacqui doesn’t want anyone else to have to endure the suffering that she has experienced. When she is physically able, Jacqui speaks out against impaired driving. Jacqui’s incredible story of courage and determination has touched millions of people throughout the world. Thousands of people have written her letters or sent emails. Many people who hear Jacqui’s story want to do something.


SUMMARY Review


  • Alcohol is the number one drug used by teens. Alcohol and drug abuse affect more than just impaired individuals. It affects their family, friends, and other drivers on the road.

  • On the average in the U.S., one friend, parent, or family member dies every 32 minutes in alcohol-related crashes. Each one of these crashes could be avoided if everyone took the social responsibility “don’t drink and drive” seriously.

  • Costs of alcohol and drug abuse are not only monetary costs, but the pain and loss of family members and friends.

  • When an individual chooses to make bad choices, they have to be ready to deal with the consequences of their bad choices. Drinking while under the influence of alcohol is always a bad choice.

  • In Florida, drivers under the age of 21, with a blood alcohol level of .02 or more, will have their licenses immediately suspended for six months. This administrative action is for a first offense; a second offense will result in a one year suspension (FS 322.2616).

Impaired drivers not only harm themselves but they harm other individuals and affect our entire society.

Hard-earned tax dollars are spent policing and prosecuting impaired drivers. Our court system is also tied up with trials and prosecutions of impaired drivers. Those costs are huge and represent yet another cost to Florida taxpayers.

If you are caught and legally labeled as a DUI offender, you will carry the record of the offense on your driving record for your lifetime. There is also a stigma to being labeled as a DUI offender.

The driver who has been drinking or doing drugs has a potential impact on all other drivers who share the road. Impaired drivers are responsible for motor vehicle crashes that kill sober drivers too.

Thirty percent of Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives and many of those people will be sober.

Sober drivers are killed by impaired drivers, especially late at night. The hours between 1:00 and 3:00 a.m. hold the greatest degree of danger of being involved in a fatal crash.

At this point in your life, your future opportunities and options are unlimited. It is perfectly acceptable and encouraged for you to enjoy these years. However, consider the huge changes that can occur in an instant from the reckless actions of a selfish person who drives under the influence of drugs. He/she has lost the ability to make wise decisions.

The emotional, societal, financial, legal, and physical detriments can have unending consequences. There are no winners at all for those who drink and drive - not the driver or anyone else. The losses can result in “a pain that will never go away.”

Alcohol is the number one drug used by teens. Alcohol and drug abuse affect more than just impaired individuals. It affects their family, friends, and other drivers on the road.

On the average in the U.S., one friend, parent, or family member dies every 32 minutes in alcohol-related crashes. Each one of these crashes could be avoided if everyone took the social responsibility “don’t drink and drive” seriously.

Costs of alcohol and drug abuse are not only monetary costs, but the pain and loss of family members and friends.

When an individual chooses to make bad choices, they have to be ready to deal with the consequences of their bad choices. Drinking while under the influence of alcohol is always a bad choice.

In Florida, drivers under the age of 21, with a blood alcohol level of .02 or more, will have their licenses immediately suspended for six months. This administrative action is for a first offense; a second offense will result in a one year suspension (FS 322.2616).

Impaired drivers not only harm themselves but they harm other individuals and affect our entire society.

Hard-earned tax dollars are spent policing and prosecuting impaired drivers. Our court system is also tied up with trials and prosecutions of impaired drivers. Those costs are huge and represent yet another cost to Florida taxpayers.

If you are caught and legally labeled as a DUI offender, you will carry the record of the offense on your driving record for your lifetime. There is also a stigma to being labeled as a DUI offender.

The driver who has been drinking or doing drugs has a potential impact on all other drivers who share the road. Impaired drivers are responsible for motor vehicle crashes that kill sober drivers too.

Thirty percent of Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives and many of those people will be sober.

Sober drivers are killed by impaired drivers, especially late at night. The hours between 1:00 and 3:00 a.m. hold the greatest degree of danger of being involved in a fatal crash.

At this point in your life, your future opportunities and options are unlimited. It is perfectly acceptable and encouraged for you to enjoy these years. However, consider the huge changes that can occur in an instant from the reckless actions of a selfish person who drives under the influence of drugs. He/she has lost the ability to make wise decisions.

The emotional, societal, financial, legal, and physical detriments can have unending consequences. There are no winners at all for those who drink and drive - not the driver or anyone else. The losses can result in “a pain that will never go away.”


Blood Alcohol Level and Impaired driving

Alcohol affects your driving ability

The Cost of Alcohol and Drug Impairment

Psychological factors related to alcohol and other drugs


Florida TLSAE/Drug & Alcohol 4 hour Course Online

Who is required to take this 4-hour drug and alcohol course?


This is a first-time drivers ed course for new aspiring drivers. The state of Florida requires all new drivers take a 4-hour drug and alcohol course. If you want your Permit License you must take this course. You can take the DATA course when you are 14 1/2. You can sign up right now at our website. Our course is easy and fun!
  •     Florida 4 hour first-time drivers course also referred as:
  •     TLSAE - Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education
  •     DATA - Drug Alcohol Traffic Awareness course
  •     DATE Drug Alcohol Traffic Awareness Education course
  •     ADAPT - Alcohol Drugs Accident Prevention Training
  •     Drug & Alcohol Course or Drug and Alcohol Class
  •     Florida Permit Test or Florida Permit Exam Course
  •     The Permit Test is also known as the DMV Exam or DMV Test
Florida first time driver course required to get a Florida drivers license. Florida first time driver courses teach drivers how drugs and alcohol affect driving,. In that situation you have to go home, make a new appointment and return the DMV. Every new driver is required to take a Florida TLSAE course.

Enroll your Florida 4 hour drug and alcohol course online and meet your learner's permit requirement.

Take Your FL Drug & Alcohol Test. FL DMV Authorized. Get Started Now!