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Drunk driving declining, but still a Florida problem

All too often, Florida drivers get behind the wheel of their vehicle after they have consumed more than just a few drinks of alcohol. Despite the risks of drinking and driving in Ocala, it happens here and all throughout the country.

In Florida, like all other states, 0.08 percent is the legal driving limit for a person’s blood-alcohol concentration. For people under the age of 21, a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.02 percent or higher will, at a minimum, result in a driver’s license suspension.

While state laws are rigid when it comes to drunk driving, the possibility of a criminal conviction is not the only reason to avoid drinking and driving in Ocala. Alcohol impairs a person’s reflexes and ability to function normally, which can make driving safely difficult, if not impossible.

Based on the most recent survey from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), more people are getting the message and avoiding the dangers of drinking and driving. In 2013 and 2014, the NHTSA collected survey data from 300 roadside locations throughout the country. The survey involved anonymous drivers who voluntarily pulled off the road and underwent testing for alcohol and drugs in their system. If the NHTSA testers found illegal amounts of substances in a driver’s system, they did not call police, but instead arranged for that driver to get a ride home.

The NHTSA conducted similar surveys in 1973, 1986, 1997 and 2007. The most recent survey showed a 30 percent drop, from the 2007 data, in the proportion of tested drivers who had alcohol levels in their blood. That marks a roughly 80 percent drop in the prevalence of alcohol amongst tested drivers since the 1973 survey.

The survey results about drinking and driving are encouraging. But, the survey also showed a sharp increase in the percentage of drivers who tested positive for at least one drug in their system. In addition, about 12.6 percent of the tested drivers have some marijuana in their system. In the 2007 survey, that number was only 8.6 percent.

The NHTSA data shows mixed results when it comes to people who are driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Impaired driving causes car accidents and injuries and nobody should endanger others on the road by drinking and driving in Ocala or using drugs and driving. Any victim of a car crash caused by an impaired driver should hold that driver legally accountable.

Source:, ” FACT SHEET: National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers,” accessed on March 31, 2015

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