Saturday, April 25, 2009

California DUI costs $13,000.00 per Auto Club, how to shop for low insurance rates

Warm weather leads to more parties, and all of these parties tend to bring out more alcohol. Spring break etc. Alcoholic beverages seem to accompany any celebration, from birthdays to time off from college. In fact, each year there seems to be more and more accidents related from these celebrations that involve drinking. Even worse, the number of alcohol fatalities has dramatically increased as well.

An analysis conducted by the Auto Club of Southern California revealed staggering results about the latest increase in these fatal accidents in the state of California. For all ages within the last ten years “the number of drivers involved in alcohol-related fatal and injury crashes increased 10 percent,” as quoted from the press release. Young adults saw an increase of 51% in alcohol-related fatal and injury crashes. More specifically, the number of alcohol-related deaths of college-aged women drivers has not just doubled, but has increased 116% over the last decade.

College students often look forward to this break from classes and take advantage of the time off by traveling out-of-state or staying close and hanging out locally. Part or most of the break usually includes consuming high levels of alcohol at parties or as a means of relaxation. Because of the age in this group, many students may feel a bit invincible, or will refuse to believe that nothing bad will happen to them. It’s because of this feeling combined with the amount of consumed alcohol that students allow themselves to disregard safety and drive while intoxicated.

There are many consequences to drunk driving. Some of these include injury or death-related accidents, fines (which can range in the thousands of dollars), penalties, and increases in insurance premiums. Not only that, but the consequences may go further and include a loss of trust by family and peers, worries of alcoholism, and it could even affect your job as it will be on your record. Being charged with a DUI is a major offense to some people and could ruin your life.

The Auto Club also gave estimates concerning a first misdemeanor DUI conviction, and those numbers are costly. They estimate the minimum of fines to be $468 and the minimum of penalties to be $780. The tow/impound fee is estimated to be $187. The driver is required to take (and pass) an alcohol education class, which is estimated to cost the participant $500. The auto insurance increase estimate is a whopping $8,652 added to the current premium cost.

When involved in a DUI a California attorney is required, which can cost about $2,557 in legal fees. The DMV will need to reissue your license and that will cost $100, and another $100 will go towards a victim restitution fund. Finally, a fee of $156 will go towards the driver’s booking, fingerprinting and photo. Insurance can escalate. Shop for the lowest rates.

The total estimated cost by Auto Club is about $13,000 for a first-time DUI offense. There are plenty of better ways to spend $13,000. While this is an estimate, it is a pretty close estimate since Auto Club did their research to find the most recent and average costs. The driver charged of a DUI may find themselves paying even more.

There are plenty of ways to avoid drinking and driving. There have been countless campaigns pleading for drinkers to be safe and finding a designated driver before the party begins. If that doesn’t work, call a cab to take you home if you are too intoxicated to drive, or even if you think you haven’t had too much to drink. Too many people assume they are fine and are not drunk enough to drive. That risk can lead to killing a person, including yourself, in a major accident. Commissioner Poizner said in the press release, “Avoiding unnecessary expenses, injuries and death can be as easy as calling a taxi. I encourage anyone embarking on a fun vacation to spare themselves the pain and trouble of a potential DUI - don’t drink and drive.” There’s also the option of abstaining from drinking altogether. You cannot be charged with a DUI if you haven’t been drinking or involved in any other drug use at that time.

It is important that people spread this knowledge to others and share their concern of the increase in fatal accidents. This lack of responsibility is threatening to any driver of California as it shows more and more drivers do not care about their ability to operate a vehicle safely. Looking at reports such as this should encourage all drivers be more aware of their choices and how those choices affect the lives of others. Without a push to encourage responsible drinking, the number of fatal accidents involving alcohol will only increase. There is too much at stake to ignore the warnings and consequences of driving while intoxicated, or even driving while feeling a little buzzed. When a driver drives while under the influence, they are putting themselves and other drivers and passengers at risk, as well as possibly hurting their own families and the family members of the other people on the road.