Operating Under The Influence (OUI)

By Paul Dirchens

It is a sad fact that approximately every 40 minutes someone gets killed by another person that is intoxicated. This problem of OUI, or operating under the influence, is found commonly with teenagers and adults alike. Celebrities, teens and college students have a high incidence of OUI. When it comes to teens they think it is the cool thing to do and with college age students there are the infamous frat parties. With celebrities it is going to many clubs as we see and hear in the news often.

Most states refer to driving under the influence and drunken driving charges as a DUI or a DWI. Some states refer it as an OUI (operating under the influence). The penalties are about the same, but specific sentencing guidelines and laws will vary depending on which state the charge takes place. Due to the fact of all the wrecks that has happened due to alcohol and drugs it is a criminal offense to drive while intoxicated. It is illegal to operate a vehicle if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08% or higher. If the driver is under 21, the charges will differ. Because the law states you, have to be 21 or older to drink.

In a survey taken in 1997 people 18 years and older were asked if they drove while alcohol impaired and 2.1 replied yes. The same survey in 2002 had a 2.3 yes response from Americans. That is quite an increase in 5 years of people driving while impaired in the survey and since then has likely gone up. In the United Stated each year reportedly 20% of the fatalities on the road are the result of driving under the influence. If serious injury or worse, death, occurs as a result of OUI there would be more than just charges.

Yes partying and having a good time is part of human nature, but doing it responsibly is much better. Teens shouldn't' be really drinking, but they are going to do it anyways so might as well give tips to everyone. Drinking responsibly includes planning your party booze ahead of time. You should get a designated driver, or plan to sleep at a friend's house, or sleep in your car if you have to. Do not drive if you are intoxicated.

No one wants to see their loved ones get hurt, so law enforcement is cracking down on in most of the 50 states. If they suspect a driver is intoxicated they can pull them over. They have tests they can do to see if the driver is worthy or not. They have field sobriety exercises or they can have you take chemical tests.

The field sobriety tests mentioned include a walk and turn, the finger to nose test and Romberg balance test. The other test is the nystagmus test which is an object being put 12 inches from the drivers face by an officer and moved back and forth while eye movement is being observed.

If a chemical test is done it will consist of a breathalyzer, blood and more than likely urine samples. The breathalyzer, is blown into by the vehicle driver so the alcohol count can be done; the blood/urine samples are done in a hospital.

Don't drive if you are under the influence of anything. No matter who you are like a star, kid, teenager or adult, an OUI will look bad on your record. - 29952

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