The prevalence of drinking and driving in the state of Illinois is staggering. When you consider that the penalties for a DUI charge can involve a fine, vehicle impoundment, a suspended driver’s license for a year or more as well as imprisonment, it’s difficult to understand why anyone would take the risk and get behind the wheel when they are impaired.
Nonetheless every year thousands of people in the state choose to engage in the life-threatening activity. Not only is the choice of drinking and driving harmful and self-injurious, but it can also injure and kill other people, leading to a felony offense. In the cases of driving under influence where a charge of reckless endangerment, involuntary manslaughter or repeat offenses of DUI are involved, a sentence which can include prison time is probable.
On behalf of all residents in our state of Illinois we would like to educate people on the true cost of drinking and driving or operating a vehicle while impaired. When you find yourself charged with a DUI, life can change dramatically and will discuss how it will impact your quality of life, in the hope of educating our drivers and helping them to make better choices.
DUI: Just the Stats
How serious the problem is driving under the influence in major cities like Chicago and across the state of Illinois? Statistics show that the highest prevalence of impaired driving is with young adults aged 16 through 25 years. The next highest risk group are young professional males from the age of 25 years 35 years, who are unmarried.
Here are some other statistics consider when it comes to impaired driving, as published by the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Illinois chapter:
- From 2014 to 2015, there were 322 drunk driving fatalities in Illinois. That number represented 32.5% of all total traffic deaths for the year.
- The total number of DUI arrests in the state of Illinois was 34,611.
- The number of DUI conviction in the state of Illinois was 14,343.
- The total number of individuals who refused chemical testing in suspected DUI cases was 4,215.
- The total cost to taxpayers as a result of fatalities in Illinois from 2014 to 2015 was $1.6 billion dollars in the past year alone.
These statistics really bring the problem to the surface for discussion. If you ask the average resident of Illinois how many impaired driving charges were laid in the last 12 months they would be likely to underestimate the number. The amount of drivers who make the decision to drive while impaired is not increasing annually but it is also not decreasing, and represents significant cost in terms of loss of life, injury, and expense annually.
The Financial Cost of Impaired Driving
Most people understand the social costs involved with impaired driving, and the risk of injury to themselves or to other people which is significant when you consider the number of fatalities that are directly caused by impaired driving. But there is another side, a hidden cost that few people realize they will incur as a result of being charged with impaired driving.
Some people refer to an impaired driving charge as a $10,000 hangover. The reason for this is that there are number of costs associated with being charged, convicted, and incarcerated. There are also costs involved in reinstating your license after serving a suspension. As part of the process of reinstating your license after suspension due to impaired driving, you would be required to engage in remedial education regarding driver safety. If you are placed under probation there may be fees for your supervision, fees for chemical testing as part of compliance for probation and suspended licensing, legal fees and much more.
Being charged with impaired driving doesn’t just cost you physically nor does it simply cost you in terms of inconvenience, but is significantly costs you money in fines, fees and mandatory programs. And depending on the severity of your DUI charge the cost may be far greater particularly if you are required to serve a sentence in prison.
In addition to facing penalties if successfully convicted of impaired driving, you may also face additional civil liability with regards to personal injury suits. If you are in impaired driver and your vehicle has caused damage to another vehicle, property, or created injury for another individual you may be sued. A conviction of driving while impaired is sufficient evidence to demonstrate guilt and liability in civil cases, which can result in punitive damages being awarded to victims for short term or long term damages.
With so many other alternatives including assigning a designated driver, using affordable services like Uber or even calling a cab, it’s difficult to understand why people still choose to risk themselves and the safety of others by impaired driving. It simply is not worth the risk.
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