Driving under the influence

Driving under the influence! The many reasons why this can put you and others at risk

Driving under the influence of alcohol or an illegal substance is illegal, and there are valid reasons why. The biggest and perhaps most obvious reason is that it is extremely dangerous not only for you but everyone around you. Throughout this post, we will explain why you should think twice if you are considering driving while under the influence.

What is driving under the influence?

Driving under the influence is a criminal offence, and it involves being in control, operating or driving a vehicle whilst impaired by alcohol or drugs, to a degree that the law states a driver is unfit to operate a vehicle safely. All states and territories in Australia take a strong stance on driving under the influence charges, and the repercussions of doing so are generally harsh.

You can get charged for driving under the influence when operating a:

  1. Car
  2. Truck
  3. Bicycle
  4. Jetski
  5. Boat
  6. Golf buggy
  7. Motorbike
  8. Quad bike
  9. Heavy machinery
  10. Forklift

Often people make the mistake of sleeping or even sitting in their car when it is stationary while under the influence and find themselves facing a charge. Strict rules apply to vehicles and being under the influence.

How driving under the influence affects your ability to drive safely

To be able to drive competently, you need to be alert and fully aware of your surroundings. Unfortunately, alcohol and drugs affect how well you can do this. While you may “feel” alright to drive, alcohol and drugs affect the brain and the central nervous system putting you and others around you at an increased risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident. Here are some of the effects drugs and alcohol have on the mind and body:

1. Impairs your reaction time

Both drugs and alcohol can slow down your reaction time. Some drugs, more than others. You need to react quickly when driving to prevent accidents. Delayed reactions can cause you to fail to recognise road rules and traffic signals in time. The chances of your being involved in an accident when driving under the influence are significantly higher than if you were driving sober.

2. It affects your concentration

Another key factor to driving safely is maintaining concentration. Drugs and alcohol affect your level of concentration greatly. When your concentration is inhibited, it makes it difficult to watch your speed, stop in time, and to stay in between the lines.

3. Your vision is altered

Alcohol and drugs can have many effects on your eyes. You may notice your vision is blurry, your eyes are dry, your eye movement is irregular, and some drugs can even make you see things that are not there. This not only puts you in danger but everyone else on the road and nearby too.

4. More likely to partake in risky behaviour

By drinking more than you should or taking drugs and driving, you are more likely to partake in risky behaviours such as speeding, using your mobile phone, or not wearing a seatbelt. Taking risks while impaired by drugs or alcohol is a recipe for disaster, and it often results in serious injury to yourself, others or in serious cases, death.

5. Can make you drowsy

Closing your eyes for even a second too long can see you being involved in an accident. Many drugs and alcohol can make you feel tired. When you are in this state, it can be difficult to think straight, it can affect your depth perception and delay your responses. All these things combined puts you at an increased risk of being in an accident or hurting someone else.

What are the penalties for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol?

At the very least, you will receive a disqualification period and a fine. The more serious your charge, the more significant the penalties will be. Driving under the influence of a drug carries the same penalties as a high range drink driving charge. Your penalty will also depend on whether it is your first offence and what kind of licence you held at the time of the offence.

Why you shouldn’t drive while under the influence

As we’ve mentioned, it is dangerous, and if you’ve fatally injured someone, you are looking at hard prison time. It is not only you that has to live with your decision but others too. If you’re lucky enough not to injure yourself or someone else, you are still going to be charged, and you may have a criminal conviction recorded against you. This can affect your ability to maintain employment or to travel overseas.

Driving under the influence contributes to a huge number of deaths, injuries and property damage each year. A lapse in judgement can have lifelong consequences, it is simply not worth it. If you know you have an event or special occasion coming up and the chances of you being over the limit are high, plan ahead so you can avoid putting yourself in this scenario altogether.

If you are facing driving under the influence charges, it is a good idea you seek legal advice to discuss what options are available to you given your circumstances. Here at Drink Driver Lawyer, this area of the law is our speciality. We help people stay on the roads and, we aim to bring people the best possible outcome given their situation.

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