With the warm summer months quickly approaching, more Iowans are finding time to enjoy a cold drink outside with friends. But with this fun comes some serious dangers. Drunk driving is on the rise across the state. According to the Iowa Department of Transportation there were 123 deaths related to drunk driving last year. This accounted for 38% of all traffic deaths in Iowa and those numbers are expected to rise this year. There are alternatives to drinking and driving and it’s up to Iowans to make a responsible choice and find a sober ride home.
According to Iowa Department of Public Safety a first offense OWI is a serious misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $1,250, or both. A person must also serve a minimum of 48 hours in jail. In addition to criminal penalties, a person convicted of an OWI can lose their license for 180 days if they submitted to a chemical test. During that time a person may apply for a temporary restricted license. When all the costs are taken in to consideration, a first offense OWI, without injury, can cost close to $3,000 and that’s not counting any the cost of SR 22 insurance, an ignition interlock device or attorney fees.
Alternatively, taking a cab, Uber, staying in a hotel or having a designated driver will cost you much less. It will also save you the embarrassment of asking friends and family for rides while your licenses is under suspension. By choosing a sober ride home, you’re not only saving yourself money, your potentially saving a life.
If you are over the age of 21, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above is considered legally drunk, even if you just “had a few.” Those under the age of 21 can lose their license if their BAC is above .02.
So enjoy the weekend, but make plans to not drink and drive. Have a safe Memorial weekend and don’t become a statistic.