December has been designated as National Drunk & Drugged Driving Prevention Month, or as it has become known more recently, National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. This time of year is typically filled with holiday parties. Although there should be fewer parties this year, alcohol sales have increased during COVID-19 so driving under the influence (DUI) continues to be a major concern. That makes it all the more important to understand Florida DUI facts and to take steps to avoid impaired driving.
What is Impaired Driving?
Driving under the influence means that you are impaired because of drug or alcohol use. Even though DUIs are typically associated with drunk driving, impaired driving can also be the result of drugs, either prescription or illegal. In fact, in Miami/Dade County in 2019, drugs other than alcohol were involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths. These other drugs were often used in combination with alcohol.
National Drunk & Drugged Driving Prevention Month has been designated as a time to raise awareness of the consequences of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, whether those consequences involve fines, jail time, injury, or even death. Although the numbers have been declining somewhat, in 2019 over 28 million people in the US, 11.2 percent of all residents ages 16 and up, drove under the influence of alcohol or illicit substances at least once.
Florida DUI Facts
More than 10,000 people in the United States die each year in crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. In the state of Florida, 7,573 people were killed in crashes involving an impaired driver from 2009-2018.
In 2018, a study was conducted that found that 2% of adults in Florida reported driving after drinking too much in the past thirty days. In 2019, 60.8 arrests for DUI were made for every 100,000 people in the Miami/Dade County area. Nationally, that number was 1.7%. There was a total of 32,177 DUI arrests in Florida reported in 2018. Of these arrests, 69 were juveniles and 32,108 were adults.
DUI Offenses in Florida
Beyond the dangers of impaired driving that include property damage, serious injury, and death, when you are arrested for a DUI in Florida you will face additional serious consequences. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) states that under Florida law, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcoholic beverages, chemical substances, or controlled substances is one offense, proved by impairment of normal faculties or an unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 or above.
Even if a DUI arrest and conviction is your first, you can be subject to fines of not less than $500 and no more than $1,000. If your blood/breath alcohol level (BAL) is .15 or higher, if there was a minor in the vehicle with you, that fine increases to not less than $1,000 and not more than $2,000. In addition, you could face imprisonment for not more than six months, unless your BAL is .15 or higher or if there was a minor with you, in which case the term could increase to not more than nine months.
Ignition interlocks are required for convicted repeat offenders and first-time convicted offenders with particularly high BALs. Florida is one of 14 states, including Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, that have 24/7 sobriety monitoring programs or pilot programs at the state or county level for repeat offenders.
A Persistent Public Health Issue
Driving while impaired continues to be a complex and persistent issue, for traffic safety as well as for public health. According to the CDC, in 2018, 12 million people in the US, or 4.7% of the population age 16 years and older, reported driving under the influence of marijuana during the past 12 months, and 2.3 million, or 0.9%, reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs other than marijuana during that time. In 2019, over 5% of high school students who drive reported they had driven after drinking alcohol.
This December, it is particularly important to be aware of these Florida DUI facts and to take the time to understand more about the effects of impaired driving. The latest data shows that alcohol sales during the pandemic have increased. If you are turning to drugs or alcohol to deal with the stresses of COVID-19 or any other issues in your life, know that help is available.
Contact South Miami Recovery for Help Now
Driving while impaired is dangerous and can even be deadly. During National Drunk & Drugged Driving Prevention Month, and throughout the year, you can turn to the professionals at South Miami Recovery for help overcoming your addiction to drugs or alcohol. You deserve to enjoy true freedom from active substance dependency, so you can live a safer and healthier life.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we want you to stay safe and healthy, so we offer HIPAA-compliant telehealth services to help you get the treatment you need now. To learn more and to sign up for telehealth substance abuse services, contact us today. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.