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Health Concerns On Driving Impaired

By Amber Ford

Health Concerns On Driving Impaired

As with many other small vacation towns across the United States, the presence of alcohol and addiction can be seen in a variety of different forms, and driving under the influence charges clearly illustrate this. In the last several months alone, a heavy police presence has been felt throughout the Mt. Hood Villages and several DUIs have been issued to drivers impaired by the effects of alcohol. Most of these citations were issued in instances that did not involve harm to person or property; others addressed significant damage to the vehicle and driver.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in 2020 alone there were over 11,600 people killed in motor vehicle crashes that involved alcohol-impaired drivers. That accounted for 30% of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. The CDC further states that over the last several years, alcohol-impaired deaths have continued to rise as statistics showed a 14.3% increase in fatalities from 2019 to 2020. While these statistics are nationwide numbers, drinking and driving has an unfortunate tendency to plague small towns with a larger impact as taxis, ride-share programs and public transportation are limited.

In the state of Oregon the legal blood alcohol limit is .08%, which is the equivalent of “four standard” drinks. According to the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC), those “four standard” drinks are dependent on how much a person has eaten and how quickly those drinks are consumed. While bartenders are required to hold OLCC licenses (obtained through a state-sponsored online class), overconsumption must be monitored with each drink served. According to the OLCC, overconsumption can be very costly, and not just for the intoxicated individual who presents the potential for a DUI. Both bartenders and bar owners can suffer heavy fines and even lose their liquor license for overserving a patron.

According to the CDC, over one million DUIs are given out each year in the United States; while many of those do not involve serious incidents, the data is clear as to how damaging and deadly driving under the influence can be. While servers and bartenders do their absolute best to ensure patrons leave responsibly, it is ultimately up to the driver to ensure they not only keep themselves safe, but their community and other drivers as well. Planning ahead, securing a designated driver, consuming a meal before drinking and monitoring how many drinks consumed are all ways community members can remain safe.

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