There are few people, perhaps, who question the safety of consuming alcohol and then getting behind the wheel of a car. Yet the fact that drunk driving continues to be a social problem indicates the depths to which people lose judgment when impaired by alcohol. Each day in America, drunk driving takes the lives of 27 people. In 2014, this added up to 9,967 people across the nation, an average of one every 53 minutes.
At its most basic level, drunk driving is a crime committed when a person with too much alcohol in their bloodstream operates a motor vehicle. Many states set the legal limit for blood alcohol level at .10, although numerous other states have lowered that rate to .08. The average adult can metabolize alcohol at a rate of one drink per hour. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines one drink as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled alcohol. All of these amounts contain the same level of alcohol.
Drunk driving is said to cost the United States more than $132 billion each year. Additionally, more than 28.7 million Americans admitted to drunk driving in 2013, more than the entire population of Texas. Fortunately, drunk driving deaths have been cut in half in the United States since 1980, which many attribute to the founding of MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which has consistently lobbied for more aggressive enforcement, including routine sobriety stops by police in the effort to identify intoxicated drivers and prevent another tragedy at the hands of drunk driving.