Alcohol-related accidents still kill up to 10,000 people every year in the US. One in three car accident deaths can be attributed to alcohol. There are plenty of warnings against drinking and driving. There are education programs and penalties that change someone’s life. Despite all of this, people are still driving while they’re intoxicated. Car accidents have taken more lives under the age of 24 than any other factor. Nearly half of those accidents involve alcohol.
The CDC released a report about drinking and driving in Idaho. From 2003-2012, there were over 700 deaths caused by drunk drivers. When it comes to percentages of adults who reported driving after drinking, it was 1.9% Nationally and 1.2% in the State of Idaho. If a driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.10, they are seven times more likely to have involvement in a car crash. This is compared to someone who hasn’t been drinking. There is absolute proof that drinking puts you at greater risk, and others, of a car accident that could be fatal.
Taking Drinking and Driving Seriously
So many stories indicate that it was just a normal night. Normal American citizens going from point “A” to point “B” not believing that it could happen to them. That they would get into an accident after having a few drinks, kill someone, and end up in jail. Lives are ruined all the time by victims and those drinking and driving.
One college student was working on her cosmetology license. She was out one-night having fun with friends. She drank too much to the point she blacked out. Still, she drove and killed three people. They were her friends.
She lost control of the car going about 60 miles per hour. Her Camaro smashed into a tree and the car was almost torn in half. She was the only one wearing a seat belt. Still, she had internal bleeding, her organs had all been badly damaged and her back was fractured in four places. Three of her friends died in the crash while one of her friends suffered from major injuries also.
She has been incarcerated for two years already at the age of 23. Her sentence is six years. The decision to drink and drive completely changed her life and took three of her friends’ lives away.
Drinking and Driving in Idaho
There have been many recent stories where Idaho residents were drinking and driving. They ran people over, ran into buildings, and ran the risk of ruining their life. Drinking and driving is still a serious offense. It puts innocent people at risk of injury or death. Here are some of the most harrowing stories linked to drunk driving in Idaho.
Two Women Dragged Under a Car By Drunk Driver
There were two young women hit and then dragged by a car near Idaho State University. They were crossing an intersection when a drunk driver struck them. He didn’t stop when he hit them so one girl was dragged for a block, the other for two blocks. The women ended up in critical condition.
The driver had a BAC of .1 where the legal limit is .08. He was arrested on two counts of aggravated drunken driving. If he’s convicted of the felony charges, he faces up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Idaho Woman Crashes Into Building
A woman from Pocatello crashed her car into a pediatric clinic. Fortunately, the clinic was closed and no one was inside. She was three times over the legal limit with a BAC of 0.306. She was arrested on charges of excessive driving under the influence. There was open alcohol in the car. The woman was arrested before because she arrived drunk to pick up her 5-year old from daycare. She had reported her 3-year old missing at the center but she had actually left her at home alone. This is an instance where officials will give a mother options on keeping her children and getting help. Often legal intervention is needed to stop problem drinkers from continuing on their destructive path.
Kuna Man Kills a Motorcyclist
MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) issued a statement regarding a Kuna man being sentenced to a rider treatment program instead of getting jail time. They said it’s an “outrageous justice” how little he will be penalized for his crime. The court retained jurisdiction which means the driver could be out of prison within six months. At the time of the drinking and driving incident, the driver was 31. He was sentenced to up to 13 years in prison. First, he will serve a rider treatment program for 12 months. If he successfully makes it through, he’ll get probation and very little or no prison time. The judge suspended his license for fiver years and had to pay $8,500 in restitution.
His original charge is vehicular manslaughter. He turned left in front of an oncoming motorcycle and they collided. The motorcycle driver suffered severe injuries and would later die at a local hospital. The BAC level on the drunk driver was somewhere between .165 and .177 which is more than two times the legal limit. The driver had a prior conviction of drinking and driving and his car insurance was expired when the car accident occurred.
MADD had this to say about it,
“Once again an outrageous injustice has occurred in response to a drunk driving death in Idaho. The reality of this sentence is that someone who took a life could be out on probation in as little as six months. … If we are to eliminate this senseless, 100% preventable crime, judges must hold drunk drivers accountable for their actions, every single time.”
Harsher Drinking and Driving Penalties in Idaho
At the beginning of 2019, Idaho got more serious about disciplining drunk drivers in the state. If you’re a first time DUI offender, you’ll have to install an interlock device in your car. Most of the people that get caught drinking and driving have likely done it before. In fact, the public affairs director for AAA said they know most drunk drivers will have driven about 80 times before ever getting caught.
In the US, there is a fatal car accident related to drunk driving every 49 minutes. Idaho has high numbers when it comes to drinking and driving. In 2016, there were 1,500 car accidents relating to drunk driving. While cars are safer than they have been in the past, it’s still disturbing that so many people are still getting behind the wheel of a car while drunk. Lawmakers in Idaho, along with AAA and MADD have come up with a new penalty which is the interlocking device.
For anyone who refuses to take a roadside test or who are driving drunk, they will be obligated to install the device. You have to blow into the device or your car won’t turn on. This is also the case if you blow over for alcohol content in the body. This technology has been around for some time but previously only used for repeat offenders.
Laws Against Drinking and Driving in Idaho
Idaho is ranked #3 for being one of the most dangerous states in the US for drinking and driving. The DUI laws in Idaho can lead to severe consequences. Drinking and driving is a serious crime and can come with heavy fines, jail time, loss of your driver’s license and more. The charges can be civil or criminal. You will be arrested and charged for drinking and driving if:
- Your BAC is .02% or more and you’re under 21.
- You’re over 21 and your BAC is .08% or more.
- You’re under the influence of other drugs whether illicit or prescription drugs.
- You’re operating heavy machinery under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The amount of money you’re fined or time you’ll spend in jail will vary. If you kill someone, this is vehicular manslaughter. If you hurt other people or ruin someone’s property, various severe fines may come your way. Insurance rates will go up, you’ll likely lose your license for a period of time which might make your life more challenging. Even your first DUI could cause you to go to prison. It also costs a lot more money than you think. There are initial fines, the cost of getting a lawyer, the loss of work time, and reinstating your license.
Teenage DUI Comes with Higher Fines in Idaho
The state of Idaho doesn’t offer leniency to teens who drink and drive. In fact, their fines are worse than the standard drunk driving case. The charges and fines that may arise can affect their lives. Idaho has no tolerance for drunk driving with teens. A study in 2012 found that the death rate for drinking and driving accidents were higher than the average in the US. The most concerning age group was 21 to 34.
When a teen has a BAC that is over .02, they are considered over the legal limit for driving. The reason teens get penalized with less alcohol in their systems is the effect they have while drinking and driving. The reason the penalties are higher for a teenager is to discourage them, or their peers, to not do it again.
Their consequences for a first-time offense include:
- Their driver’s license is suspended for at least 6 months.
- If the test was refused, their license will be suspended for at least 12 months.
- There will be a fine of up to $1,000.
- They will have to go through alcohol education and pay for it.
Alcohol Rehab for Drunk Drivers in Idaho
Depending on the state, there may be a mandatory jail sentence. This includes first offenders. Convicted drivers will likely be put on probation and will have to do community service. Some DUI convictions can even include a court-ordered rehab program. It’s really dependent on the case but if the judge somehow feels you have a problem with abusing alcohol or drugs, this might be their way of getting you help. Signs of alcoholism include reckless behavior which is what getting behind the wheel while drunk is, reckless.
If you’re not being responsible while you drive and obeying the laws in place, the law may take the right away from you. If you want to get your license back, you may have to earn it. This often entails some kind of educational program. There is a DUI School but you’ll have to meet up with a counselor first to see if you qualify as having a drinking problem or an addiction to alcohol. If you do have a problem with alcohol, they may refer you to a treatment center before taking the education. This includes:
- Medical or holistic detox.
- Inpatient or outpatient alcohol recovery program.
- Local supports groups like AA.
It’s hard for the law to gauge how well your recovery treatment works. When it comes down to it, your recovery is an inside job and you have to want to change. However, studies back up the efficacy of addiction treatment recovery programs for those under pressure by the law. NIDA says that studies have found most individuals with legal pressure to go to treatment have a high rate of attendance. Their treatment outcomes are good or better when compared to others attending treatment without the pressure of the courts.
Is Alcohol Rehab Necessary For Someone with a DUI?
Drinking under the influence may be an indicator that you have a problem with alcohol. This isn’t always the case by any means. It’s a question you’ll want to ask yourself if you are caught drinking and driving. Reckless behaviors are one of the symptoms of being an alcoholic. Look at the other symptoms to know for sure. You may have made a bad decision driving under the influence of alcohol but that doesn’t make you an alcoholic. Here are some of the warning signs to watch out for regarding alcoholism:
- You’re neglecting many aspects of your life including your family, work, and other responsibilities.
- You spend a lot of time drinking and finding ways to hide it.
- Despite repercussions in your life, like a DUI, you continue to drink.
- Your work or school performance declines.
- You combine drugs with alcohol.
- You face legal problems but still continue to drink.
- You drink whenever a challenge occurs in your life.
- You are either drunk or hungover.
- You think about alcohol a lot and feel terrible when you go too long without a drink.
Alcohol is an addictive substance which means you might feel withdrawal symptoms when you don’t have it. These can actually be quite serious due to how alcohol alters the mind. Delirium tremens is a real risk if you’ve been drinking heavily for many years. If you’ve had a DUI and many of these symptoms sound familiar to you, it may be time to look at getting addiction help. It can save you a lot of time, money, your family life, and the lives of others.
What is Alcohol Addiction Treatment Like?
If it’s determined that you do need addiction help, it will start with detox. This is the process of getting the toxins out of your body. Alcohol is an addictive drug and your body and mind become dependent on it. When you stop drinking, withdrawal symptoms occur. Some of these are just mild discomfort but there are also dangerous withdrawal symptoms associated with alcoholism. There is a life-threatening symptom that comes with longtime drinkers known as delirium tremens. To avoid these dangerous seizures, medical detox is administered. Detoxing from alcohol should be done in a professional setting for your safety. The process of detox takes up to a week.
Once detox is complete, you’ll need to learn how to deal with the triggers that come up. Triggers are the usual things that happen around you which would normally make you drink. Through therapy, they teach you how to adjust behaviors. You may have mental health issues you weren’t even aware of. Sometimes they can perpetuate alcohol or drug abuse. Perhaps you’ve suffered great loss or are dealing with past trauma. This is also addressed in alcohol addiction recovery. Recovery can be inpatient or outpatient rehab programs. The choice is yours based on cost and your availability.
When you’ve come out of rehab, you will now want to focus on a long-term maintenance plan to stop you from drinking. This is where groups like Alcoholics Anonymous come in handy. They allow you to step into a supportive community while you work on a life of sobriety. Going through detox, rehab, and continuing on with an aftercare plan will show the courts that you are serious about changing. Getting a DUI, or many of them will often lead to a legal intervention where the person can’t drink or they go to jail. This is often the wake-up call needed.
If you’re experiencing alcoholism to the degree that it’s causing you to spin out of control, we can help. At Ashwood Recovery, our Intensive Outpatient Program allows you to continue working while you get high-quality care. Our compassionate, experienced staff can help you with our up-to-date recovery methods. We will help you and your family every step of the way so you can move past addiction. Call us today.