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Recently many of us may have seen PSA commercials promoting the concept that a potential conviction for a DUI comes from “buzzed” driving. It’s important to distinguish the difference between being buzzed and drunk and why this distinction doesn’t really matter when it comes to the letter of the law.

What Is Being “Buzzed?”

The term buzzed is a slang word younger people often use to describe themselves as being “tipsy or slightly drunk.”  No matter how “slightly” drunk one may think they are, they are still drunk on some level no matter how slight. Drunk driving risks are very real even if someone thinks they’re only buzzed, not drunk.

Think of it this way: if a person suffers from a “slight” concussion, they still have an injury, even if it’s mild. They are still subject to the same medical protocols that include limiting activities that require thinking and mental concentration. There’s an easy comparison to be made here with being “slightly drunk” and having a “mild concussion.” Those afflicted with either should avoid activities like driving that require concentration.

Changes in Legal BAC Levels

BAC (or blood alcohol concentration) for a DUI conviction is .08 in the majority of the U.S., except in Utah where it is .05. There are many reasons for this legal BAC level. For one thing, people who drink alcoholic beverages on a regular basis may have a higher tolerance. They might not think they’re intoxicated when they actually are, in fact, legally drunk. On the other hand, those who imbibe these drinks less often may believe they’re only “buzzed,” when they’re actually legally drunk.

As a matter of fact, legal BAC level numbers could drop even further in the future as they’re already much lower in many places around the world. For example, many countries have a legal BAC of .05 or lower. These countries have average alcohol consumption rates that are similar or higher than those in the United States, but their alcohol-related accident and fatality rates are actually lower. We may see other states following Utah’s lead and lowering the legal BAC level even further.

Young People Are More Susceptible to Drunk Driving Risks

According to recent statistics, young drivers accounted for the highest percentage of drunk drivers involved in fatal car crashes for people aged 21 to 24 (34%), followed by ages 25-34 (30%) and those aged 35 to 44 (25%). Sadly, out of over 1,200 deaths among children under the age of 14 in car accidents, there were alcohol-related circumstances at play with the driver in 17% of cases.

Differing Legal Terms

DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) are generally accepted terms for illegally operating a motor vehicle while under the influence. Another term is OUI (or Operating Under the Influence). This term encompasses the operation of other vehicles, motorized or otherwise.  These include bicycles, recreational vehicles including boats, ATV (All Terrain Vehicles), and other off-road vehicles like trail motorcycles. Even riding a horse while intoxicated may be under the scrutiny of these laws.

Examining Other Acronyms and DUI Convictions

For many people who are convicted of a DUI (or any of the other acronyms listed above), the installation of an ignition interlock device is potentially a part of the consequences. The installation of an IID when mandated by a court means for a person to operate their vehicle, they must pass a breath test via the ignition interlock device. This greatly reduces drunk driving risks for those with a DUI.

It also means the driver must take and pass random tests while operating their vehicle. This is often an important way for drivers to maintain their ability to legally possess a driver’s license following a DUI conviction.

Facing life with an IID after a DUI conviction? If you need more information and assistance with the installation, servicing, operation, and costs of an IID device, please contact us.  No matter your age or location, we’re here to help you with this process with understanding how to use ignition interlock devices, helping you meet your requirements while keeping you in compliance. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

*Links to any third-party websites herein are provided for your reference and convenience only. Dräger did not create nor develop and does not own, any such third-party websites. Dräger does not endorse nor support the content of, nor any opinions stated in any such third-party website links. Dräger is not responsible for the content of any third-party website or its accuracy or reliability. Nothing contained in this article or in any such third-party website shall be considered legal advice or be deemed to constitute legal advice. For any legal advice concerning a DUI arrest, charge, conviction or consequences thereof, you should contact an attorney of your choice.