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How to Prevent Drunk Driving

Driving under the influence of alcohol remains a leading cause of car accidents, accounting for 13,384 deaths in 2021 and costing an estimated $280 billion in medical expenses and lost wages. All states have drunk driving laws with rigorous enforcement measures in place and strict penalties for infractions and drunk driving accidents. In most states, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher with zero-tolerance policies for underage drinkers, for whom it’s illegal to drive with any blood alcohol content level. Despite these strict policies, the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary describes drunk driving as “one of the leading causes of roadway fatalities” and a tragic problem.

Below are strategies listed by major U.S. traffic agencies and the CDC to prevent drunk driving and reduce drunk-driving accident numbers within communities.

Increase Education and Instruction in Schools

Awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving should begin early since teenagers commonly experiment with alcohol and other substances despite laws against underage drinking. When communities increase instructional programs in schools it imparts critical information to teenagers such as understanding the effects of alcohol on driving ability, how to recognize dangerous driving situations, and alternatives to getting into a car with a driver who has been drinking.

Use Publicized Sobriety Checkpoints

Sobriety checkpoints allow local law enforcement officers to set up checkpoints where they screen random drivers for signs of intoxication. The CDC published that these checkpoints reduce drunk driving accidents in New Haven by as much as 20%. Sobriety checkpoints are legal in 38 states, including Connecticut as long as they meet certain standards, including visible signage, publicized times and locations, and locations in high-infraction areas. Screening must be at random, such as checking every third driver to ensure that no discrimination exists in these enforcement methods.

Monitoring High-Visibility Saturation Points


Local law enforcement agencies help reduce drunk driving accidents through increased patrolling of high-infraction areas and times, such as during the holidays and in locations near bars and nightclubs. Patrols should be visible and publicized for community awareness.

Mandate Ignition Interlock Devices for Convicted Drunk Drivers

States with ignition interlock devices used by the justice system after a drunk driver’s license suspension ends show less likelihood of repeat offenses. Ignition interlock devices are installed professionally by law-enforcement-approved companies. These devices require a convicted drunk driver to blow into a device installed on their dashboard before starting the car. The ignition unlocks only if the driver blows a BAC of less than 0.02%.

Look Toward Increased Technology In the Future

As technologies advance, drunk driving prevention may look very different in the future. According to NHTSA, the agency has taken early steps toward including alcohol impairment detection technology as the standard in new vehicles. The first step was the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking as part of its National Roadway Safety Strategy. The technology may use touch-based sensors in steering wheels, erratic driving indicators, and/or infrared lighting detection of alcohol fumes to give drivers a warning to find a safe location to pull over before shutting down their vehicle. Although concerns about false positives remain high, research into perfecting these future technologies continues.

Call a Drunk Driving Accident Attorney for Help

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident due to a drunk driver, you deserve financial accountability and compensation. While the criminal court serves as a means of punishment for drunk drivers and a deterrent to repeat behaviors, civil court action focuses on providing victims of drunk driving accidents with the compensation they deserve.