Drunk driving poses a serious threat of accidents, not just to those who have consumed alcohol but also for those who might become innocent victims (such as pedestrians) of the accident. As per the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the maximum percentages killed in accidents are those in passenger vehicles followed by motorcycles and pedestrians.
Based on information from the NHTSA, the total fatalities due to road accidents in Alabama were 895 in 2011 and 865 in 2012, in which alcohol impaired fatalities were 261 in 2011. Alcohol impaired fatalities contributed 29% to the total number of accidents. In 2012 the number is 257, and it contributes to 30% of total accidents.
Even if you survive the accident, you will have to face the financial implications, such as a fine up to $2100 (for the first conviction). The amount of fine will be even higher for subsequent offences. As per Alabama Department of Public Safety, driving under the influence is also a criminal offense that could land you in jail for up to 1 year in a municipal or county jail.
One of the major repercussions of a drunk driving conviction is that it is bound to drive your auto insurance premiums through the roof. In the state of Alabama the average premium for auto insurance is $1667, which can increase up to $3101 in the first year of the DUI. This can go further up in some cases for the next seven years after conviction and also for repeat offenders.
In Alabama as per the Insurance Research Council, 22% of the population does not carry insurance, which makes Alabama the 5th worst in the country in this regard. Those who are caught driving without insurance are fined up to $500.
Most car insurance companies follow the Insurance Services Office's (ISO) standard of increasing premiums. In Alabama as per the ISO, for multicar policies the surcharge is $2000 of the base rate for the first two vehicles on the policy, and $2334 for a single-car policy.
If you're involved in an accident that causes serious injuries or major property damage, your insurance premiums could increase by between $2501 and $3334 after your next policy renewal.
The best way to keep the insurance premiums low is to be safe and avoid alcohol when you are driving back home. However, drivers who have been convicted can bring down the insurance premiums to $2636 by taking defensive driving courses.
To avoid these consequences it is best to either avoid being drunk while driving or to plan ahead and arrange an alternative mode of transport.