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Don’t Let One Become One Too Many

Twenty-Nine people. Every day.

Car crash aftermath Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes—that’s one person every 48 minutes in 2017. Drunk-driving fatalities have fallen by a third in the last three decades; however, drunk-driving crashes claim more than 10,000 lives per year. In 2010, the most recent year for which cost data is available, these deaths and damages contributed to a cost of $44B per year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Not just alcohol

While driving under the influence of alcohol is most common, don’t forget that drugs, either legal and illegal, can impair your judgment and your driving. Whether you’ve had one too many, or way too many, never drive impaired.

Typical OWI costs about $10,000 infographic
In Iowa, a typical OWI costs about $10,000 when you factor in legal fees, fines, and higher insurance rates.
34 percent of crashes ar OWI infographic
In 2018, 34 percent of all crash fatalities in Iowa can be linked back to an impaired driver.
Male drivers ages 20 to 24 and alcohol infographic
Male drivers ages 20 to 24 represent the highest percentage of drivers involved in alcohol and drug-related crashes.
Every 51 minutes dies infographic
Every 48 minutes someone in the U.S. dies from in a crash with an impaired driver.

How many drinks does it take?

Everyone is different

It is difficult to calculate how many drinks it takes until a driver is over the limit because everyone is different.

The law, however, is the same for everyone

Any BAC (blood alcohol content) 0.08 percent or higher is considered legally “drunk.” That being said, even a single drink can affect your driving, motor skills, and reaction time.

Police car observing city traffic

Here are some facts to think about:

At BAC 0.02 percent, effects on your driving abilities include:

  • Decline in visual functions such as rapid tracking of a moving target.
  • Decline in ability to perform two tasks at the same time.

check mark iconAt BAC 0.04 percent, commercial drivers are considered legally drunk.

At BAC 0.05 percent, effects on your driving abilities include:

  • Reduced coordination.
  • Reduced ability to track moving objects.
  • Difficulty steering.
  • Reduced response to emergency driving situations.

check mark iconAt BAC 0.08 percent, drivers are considered legally drunk

It's the law, not a suggestion

48 hours to one year
Seven days to two years
30 days to five years
Fines and penalties
$625 to $1,200
$1,875 to $6,250
$3,125 to $9,375
License suspension
180 days
Two years
Six years
Operating while intoxicated (OWI)
Aggravated misdemeanor
Class “D” felony
  • If a driver refuses to take a blood, breath, or urine test, they will be subject to a fine and automatic license suspension ranging from one to two years.
  • Depending on the specifics of a case, an OWI may also be punishable by:
    • Seizing, impounding, or immobilizing the vehicle.
    • Requiring the driver to undergo substance abuse treatment at a personal expense.
    • Requiring the driver to install an ignition interlock device (a Breathalyzer system that prevents a vehicle from being started if a driver has a BAC over the limit).
  • Teens are subject to an OWI if they are driving and have consumed even the slightest amount of alcohol or drugs.
  • OWIs have a look-back period. This means that prior OWIs are relevant for sentencing. Even if the offense was committed out of state, a driver who has been convicted of OWI within the last 12 years will be levied a more severe punishment.
  • Some substances can remain in the bloodstream for up to several months resulting in an OWI even after the initial consumption.

What you can do

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Recognize the signs

If you have blurred vision, irregular fatigue, difficulty focusing, delayed reaction time, or even the slightest concern that your ability to drive may be compromised, call for a ride.

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Impairment can be more than alcohol

Driving impaired includes more than just alcohol. Don’t drive if you have taken prescriptions drugs warning of drowsiness or other side effects known to cause impaired senses.

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Pull over

If you begin driving and realize you are impaired, stop driving. Pull over to a safe place, get out of the driver’s seat, and put the car keys away. Call for a sober ride.

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Offer a sober ride

If you’re in a group, be a friend and don’t let anyone else drive impaired.

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See a dangerous driver? Call 9-1-1

If you happen upon anyone with some or all of the warning signs of drunk driving, pull off to a safe place and call 911.

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Always buckle up

Buckle up. Every seat, every time.

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