With the holiday party season upon us, I wanted to submit a reminder to those on the road.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 people in the U.S. die every day in vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. That is one death every 53 minutes. The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes is more than $44 billion. Two recent front page stories in the Sun Herald have been on DUIs and the impact on the families involved. While the two articles differ in severity, both involve accidents caused by an impaired driver.
DeAnna Tucker died at the hands of a drunk driver, and that driver is serving 18 years in prison. The Bates family were blindsided by a drunk driver, totaling their truck and injuring a family member. The common denominator is the drunk driver, who can kill or injure innocent people in a split second.
When a drunk driver injures someone on their first offense, the driver gets 48 hours in jail. But this is not generally their first time driving impaired. On average, people drive drunk 80 times before getting caught.
On Oct. 1, the law changed in Mississippi to make a fourth DUI offense in Mississippi, no matter the time period involved, a felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison. But why do we have to wait until the fourth offense to get serious ?
Remember that your decision to drink and drive can change innocent lives.