Drunk driving is a problem that could lead to the driver, the passenger, and bystanders injured or worst in addition to damages to property. It’s an avoidable situation that occurs often anyway. Drunk driving is defined as “the act of operating or driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol”—although drugs is often included when it is called “driving under the influence” or “driving while intoxicated”. It becomes an offense when mental and motor skills are compromised.
In the U.S drunk driving is illegal in all states, cities, and counties, but the methods of punishment vary.
Preventing the act of drunk driving is difficult since law enforcement would have to prevent the act of drinking and monitor who is coming out of what bar or establishment. It would require a pretty deep network that includes the bar workers keeping tabs and taking down plates and those bar workers having regular communication with local law enforcement to catch drunk drivers on the move.
As far as stopping it before it happens, that is almost impossible. Bars can’t force patrons to take a cab. The can offer to call a cab for the patron and possibly work in tandem with cab companies and cut them in on a percentage of the night to ensure patrons get home safely, but again this would require a network for it to work.
Considering the potential threat of a drunk driver on the road, increasing the penalties to the point where it just wouldn’t be worth it could be an option. This would require a particularly stiff sentence such as increasing fines, longer driving privilege restriction, and jail time. As penalties stand, drunk driving penalties are light in the U.S to the point of being a slap on the wrist—that is unless there was death or injury to others.
By increasing the punishments of the act, there might be some reluctance to attempt driving while drunk. Of course judgment abilities are often hindered by alcohol, so the patron could very decide to attempt it anyway and not every drunk driver is caught. Some drunk drivers are functional and fortunate enough to make it from point A to point B without a crash or getting caught.
For those that are caught, stricter penalties would probably give them something to think about—especially if their job requires them to travel via driving or require them to drive while working. A restriction or revoking of the license would have even greater consequences on the offender’s work since they wouldn’t be able to perform their duties.
Ignition interlock devices assist in preventing a driver from operating the vehicle if their BAC is over 0.15% to 0.20% depending on the jurisdiction. These haven’t caught on nationally, but would be an added layer of prevention if made mandatory.