Every day twenty-seven people die as a result of drunk driving which equates to approximately 10,000 people a year. Driving under the influence is a crime when a person’s blood level of alcohol exceeds the legal limit of 0.08%. Standard penalties against first time offenders include: having their driver’s licenses revoked and paying a fine ranging from $500-$2,000. All drunk drivers should be imprisoned for eight or more months because they are likely to repeat the offense, they cause most automobile fatalities/injuries, and drivers can participate in rehabilitation programs while incarcerated.
The first reason drunk drivers should be imprisoned because they are likely to repeat the behavior. Sadly, a DUI does not stop offenders from repetitively having a bottle in one hand and the other on the steering wheel. Most offenders lack the willingness to break this bad habit. In fact according to “About Drunk Driving”, “About one-third of the drunk driving problem – arrests, crashes, deaths, and injuries – comes from repeat offenders” (4). Offenders may not kill someone on the first offense but the percentage rises once the offense is repeated. According to Laura Dean-Mooney, a MAPP representative, “Unfortunately, the criminal justice system’s ‘catch and release’ approach to drunk driving remains a huge threat to public safety” (4). By implementing several harsh penalties, criminals will realize that drinking under the influence is not acceptable. According to one statistic, “Fifty to seventy-five percent of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on a suspended license” (Peck, Wilson, and Sutton 25). This means over half of drunk drivers are repeat offenders and should be held responsible for their actions. All offenders should serve 8 or more months in prison due to their irresponsible behavior.
Another reason jail time should be mandatory for offenders are because repeat offenders cause most automobile fatalities/injuries. What drunk drivers fail to realize is they are putting themselves and others in tremendous danger. According to “Alcohol as a Cause of Traffic Crashes”, “A large study of 1,882 fatally injured drivers in several states concluded that 68% of sober drivers and 94% of intoxicated drivers (0.10 BAC or higher) were responsible for their crashes” (Hanson 6). According to this study, nearly all drivers were intoxicated and admitted. If all drivers were forced into a jail cell, there would be shrinkage in both fatalities and automobile accidents. In fact, “Almost half of all drivers who were killed in crashes tested positive for drugs and also had alcohol in their system” (Johnston, O'Malley, Bachman, and Schulenberg 1). So why should any offender remain free? According to “Drunk Driving Accident Statistics”, “Three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point in their lives” (5). To guarantee the safety of innocent people on the road, all offenders must go to jail immediately.