For the past several years, North Carolina has consistently been among the states reporting the highest number of deaths related or caused by people who drive while impaired. This invites the question of whether the right programs and systems are in place to lower these numbers. In this article, we provide an overview of the scope of this problem and a brief look at the role ADETS classes in North Carolina play in DWI education and prevention.
The (NCADD) reports nationwide DWI Statistics:
- About 41 % of all traffic crashes in the United States are alcohol-related.
- Nearly 600,000 Americans are injured in alcohol-related crashes each year.
- Someone dies in an alcohol-related crash somewhere in the United States every 30 minutes.
- In 2000, 17,380 people nationwide were killed in alcohol-related crashes; in 2001, 17,400 people; and in 2002, 17,419 people.
- Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day were the deadliest holidays in 2002. On the average day in 2002, 41% of traffic deaths were alcohol-related, but during these holidays, 51% involved alcohol.
- In 2002, the Fourth of July saw the most deaths nationwide due to alcohol-related crashes – of 683 traffic deaths, 330 were alcohol-related.
Here’s what those numbers look like in North Carolina (Statistics as of 2012)
- Drunk driving fatalities (.08 BAC or higher): 402 representing 31% of all total traffic deaths, a 12% increase from last 2011.
- Alcohol related crash injuries (.01 BAC or higher): 8486
- Alcohol related crashes (.01 BAC or higher): 1124
In 1983, the North Carolina General Assembly enacted the Safe Roads Act. This act repealed all previous laws on drunk driving in North Carolina and replaced them with a single offense of “Driving While Impaired–DWI.” Under the new classification of DWI, in North Carolina, driving while impaired can be proven in one of two ways:
- By proving the driver’s physical or mental fitness are appreciably impaired by alcohol, drugs or a combination of both; or
- By proving the driver’s blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 percent or more.
The North Carolina Drivers Handbook explains the necessity and objectives of NC DWI Laws are to:
- Allow enforcement agencies to set up road blocks to check for impaired drivers;
- Prohibit drivers from consuming any alcoholic beverage, including beer, while driving;
- Prohibit the transport of an open container of any alcoholic beverage, including in the passenger area of the car;
- Prohibit the possession of alcoholic beverages (open or closed) in the passenger area of a commercial motor vehicle while upon any highway, street or public vehicular area;
- Provide for different levels of severity of punishment based on the severity of the offense;
- Require persons who are convicted of DWI for the second time to serve a jail sentence;
- Attempt to punish DWI offenders, but also try to help them deal with problems they may have with alcohol;
- Require that repeat DWI offenders or persons with high BACs be checked to see if they have an alcohol problem;
- Require persons with lower BACs to attend alcohol safety schools; and
- Require anyone convicted of DWI to obtain a substance abuse assessment prior to the reinstatement of driving privileges.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) National Center for Statistics and Analysis, North Carolina ranks among the top 10 states for alcohol-impaired driving deaths in the country.
One of the challenges with DWI cases is implementing effective programs designed to prevent repeat offenses. In North Carolina, programs such as ADETS (Alcohol and Drug Education Traffic School) have proven successful in providing both education and prevention needed to help lower these numbers. By addressing the reasons people drink and drive as well as educating first time offenders of the laws and consequences of their actions, ADETS programs have become an important part of long term prevention of DWI cases in North Carolina.
North Carolina ADETS classes cover:
- The scope of the DWI problem in the U.S. and in North Carolina
- The consequences of driving with impaired
- Taking personal responsibility for their impaired driving decision
- The legal system and the implications of being arrested for DWI in North Carolina
- Feelings and responsibilities attached to their legal situation
Is this the only solution? Of course not, however, ADETS classes are an important part of the system for effectively lowering the number of deaths, accidents and injuries related to DWI’s in North Carolina. We’ll continue to explore the impact ADETS classes have on reducing DWI cases. Feel free to join in on the discussion by leaving a comment here or by connecting with us on Facebook.