According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, automotive accidents are the leading cause of death in the United States for individuals between the ages of 2 to 33.
Out of all fatal accidents, 41 percent of them involved alcohol. In spite of the historical references to the danger of drinking and driving, authorities recently let an elderly woman escape a DUI charge even though the woman admitted to drinking a cup full of vodka earlier and a container of vodka was found in the car.
Facts of the Case
Authorities received communication about a potential drunk driver in a Toyota Camry that was driving down the road on Highway 98 in the direction of Mexico Beach. When the Bay County Sheriff’s officers attempted to pull the elderly woman over, she did not immediately comply as she continued to drive for about five more blocks. After the woman pulled over, a Bay County Sheriff’s deputy approached the driver and smelled alcohol. Although she initially denied being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, she admitting to having “a cup…earlier” after the deputy spotted an open bottle of vodka on the car’s floor. She agreed to take a Blood Alcohol Content test, but she was unable to complete it. Authorities cited the woman’s age of 75 and handicapped condition as reasons for not pressing DUI charges against the woman. However, the woman did receive citations for having an open container, careless driving, and violation of drivers license restrictions.
First Time Offenders
Some areas let first offenders leave with a “hand slap,” rather than enforcing the law to the fullest extent. Authorities may decide that a person who has not engaged in similar behavior in the past will take the stop seriously and will not act in a similar manner in the future. Being convicted of a DUI can often lead to jail time, a fine, loss of driver’s license privileges and social ramifications. Police may want to help a person avoid these problems.
Problems with Drinking and Driving
Although there are several reasons why a police officer may not charge someone with a DUI, there is one good reason why he or she should always make this charge: to save lives. Individuals who do not have to face the toughest consequences for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol may be more likely to drink and drive in the future. Keeping the roadways safe for the general public and the greater community far outweighs any interests on behalf of the drunk driver. While a drunk driver chooses to imbibe and then operate a vehicle, an innocent driver on the road, passenger or pedestrian does not make this conscious choice and should not lose his life or be seriously injured due to the decision of the drunk driver. When a drunk driver has to face jail time, a hefty fine, community service, mandatory entrance into an alcohol treatment program and consequences to his driver’s license, he may think before he drinks and drives in the future.