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A Brief History of DUI and DWI Laws

Alcohol impairment has been a thorn in the flesh of law enforcement all over United States as far as driving accidents are concerned. Many human lives have been lost and affected due to accidents caused by Driving Under the Influence, not to mention loss of thousands of dollars annually. According to the American Bureau of Statistics, one person dies every 22 minutes because of DUI accidents. For this reason, all laws related to drunk driving were made more stringent all over the United States. DUI, OUI and DWI (Driving Under the Influence, Operating Under the Influence and Driving While Intoxicated, respectively) are all classified as similar offenses with similar punishments. Laws on drunk driving were initially drafted in 1910 in New York, United States. New York was the first state to draft and implement these laws followed by California then the other 48 states followed suit.

Initially, laws governing DUI were not well defined. They simply stated that someone was not allowed to drive if he or she was intoxicated. Because of lack of limits, guidelines, and punishments, this law did not carry much water. It was not until the 1930s that the American Medical Association and the National Safety council carried out research and tests to conjure up a solution to this particular vice. The American Medical Association carried out research on the most frequent source of vehicle accidents.

The National Safety Council on the other hand ran tests to ascertain a person’s intoxication level. In 1938 the two institutions combined their findings and came up with a consensus. They agreed that the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of every driver should not exceed 0.15 percent. Since then the maximum legal limit for BAC is 0.15 percent and anything higher is an offence, though this limit varies in different states. Since then a number of advocacy groups have come up to call for sobriety on the roads. Some of them are MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving). These groups have since the 1970s advocated for stricter laws governing DUI.

Laws and penalties for DUI differ from state to state, what is common is that it is not an offense taken lightly. The BAC level is reached by taking a breath test. If a driver is found to have exceeded the limit depending on the laws of the state, one’s driver’s license is immediately suspended as the first course of action. This is a common practice in all states.

A Driving Under the Influence charge tends to blot ones driving record. Before one gets Car Insurance in CA, their driving record comes into question. As a way to guard against repeat offenders, the insurance company will charge you a higher premium for insurance coverage, as compared to one without a DUI charge in their records. For more of this information, enter your Zip at the top of this page.