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Monday, December 09, 2019

The Financial Consequences of Drinking and Driving, Revealed

Drinking and driving will always be ill-advised for a number of reasons. These include the increased risk of getting into an accident, causing harm and damage to health and property, and financial implications. If you're wondering what the financial consequences of drinking and driving include, read on to see three major ones.

Ticket Costs

It's illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, so if you get caught behind the wheel while in this state, there will be consequences to face. In California, for instance, the legal limit for alcohol while driving is a 0.08 percent concentration of blood alcohol. Anything higher than this calls for tickets, fines, and possible jail terms. Different states have different regulations and so there will be a different cost depending on the state you reside in.

There may also be other associated costs, like being charged for breaking other laws, such as having more passengers or failing to follow road rules. This is because while intoxicated, you're not in the best state to make decisions for the most part. You can avoid all these extra costs by simply staying sober while driving. You will not only keep yourself and the passengers you may be carrying safe, but you will also help keep other road users safe.

Accident Costs

As mentioned, your judgment is impaired when you take in alcohol, and so you have a higher chance of getting involved in an accident if you drive while under the influence. The costs involved with auto accidents have a very wide range depending on how minor or major the accident is. On the lower end, the costs may be for replacing broken items and fixing up fender-benders. On the higher end, you may have to pay for damage to your car, other people's cars, property, and in the worst-case scenario, health issues and personal injuries, or even fatalities.

Different states will also have different costs of auto accidents depending on things like the cost of living. For example, the New York State Department of Transportation places the average cost of a car accident between $15,000 on the lower end and $63,000 on the higher end. This is dependent on where the auto accident took place, and most accidents end up costing between $30,000 and $40,000. These are high figures, and this is money that could have gone into a different use.

Legal Costs

Finally, you will have to pay legal costs if you're caught driving while intoxicated because it's against the law, as stated above. There will be a different length of time over which your court proceedings will last as well, and it's not the best use of your time that you could have had. While you will have an easy time finding a lawyer, as there are 1,268,011 men and women practicing as licensed lawyers in the U.S., it will still be something that you could have avoided by not driving while drunk in the first place.

The legal costs may be added to the other costs mentioned above because if you destroy peoples' property or cause bodily harm to them while driving, they may sue you for damages and so you will end up paying a lot of money. Depending on the degree of the accident, you can end up spending a lot of money on the legalities involved.

The three costs above are just the tip of the dark iceberg that is driving while intoxicated. To make sure you avoid all of them and also preserve your health and that of others, avoid getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. No matter how little you've had to drink or how capable you feel, the risk involved with driving while drunk is never worth it in the end.


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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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