Arkansas Students Experience Drunk Driving Safely

Arkansas signWhen you think of fraternities, you probably think of constant parties and large groups of people sitting around drinking in a frat house.

Anyone who has lived in a fraternity house would tell you life at one of these Greek organizations isn’t like that at all. Take drinking for example – more and more colleges are playing host to alcohol awareness weeks, and instead of hosting a party, the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and others at Henderson State University in Arkansas hosted a drinking and driving simulation. The results surprised a lot of the students participating.

To experience drinking and driving, state troopers set up traffic cones and handed over the keys to golf carts. Each student had to put on simulator goggles and drive the golf cart to experience the sensory effects of being drunk. One of the students said it felt like everything was moving and in motion all the time, while another felt like he was going to lose his life on the golf cart.

Although Arkansas has open container laws where you can have alcohol in your vehicle, you and your passengers cannot drink while driving. If the students at Henderson University were driving a real vehicle while drunk, Arkansas DUI laws would require the students be charged and they’d lose their driver’s license for six months. They may also spend between one day and one year in jail, pay up to $1000 in fines, and may be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has stated that drunk drivers between the ages of 21 to 24 years old make up 30% of all drunk driving fatalities, and college students fall right within that range. By hosting a drinking and driving simulation, the fraternities at Henderson University are showing how important it is for students to be aware of the dangers of drinking and driving. Maybe that quick ride on the golf cart could end up saving a life in the future.

Ignition Interlock and Driving While Intoxicated Laws In Arkansas

Gavel on Arkansas Judge's DeskIn 2012, there were 9226 people arrested for violating driving while intoxicated laws in Arkansas. To keep the roads safe, law enforcement will penalize anyone with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08, but the state also runs campaigns to let people know that ‘Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving’ and you can and will be arrested even if your BAC doesn’t reach .08.

As with other states, young drinking drivers in Arkansas are not exempt from DWI laws. Anyone in Arkansas caught drinking under the legal drinking age of 21 or with a .02 BAC level can convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI). And if you’re stopped and you refuse a blood alcohol test, you’ll be subject to an immediate license suspension.

 

A first driving while intoxicated conviction in Arkansas will result in the following penalties:

  • 6 months driver’s license suspension
  • Jail time between one day and one year
  • Fines ranging from $150 to $1000
  • Completion of an adult education program
  • If you are driving with a passenger under the age of 16 in the vehicle, you’ll receive a 7 day to 1 year jail sentence
  • The possibility of an ignition interlock installation

If you receive a second driving while intoxicated conviction in Arkansas within 5 years of your first, the following penalties will apply:

  • Up to two year’s driver’s license suspension
  • Jail time ranging from 7 days up to 1 year
  • Fines ranging from $400 to $3000
  • The possibility of an ignition interlock installation
  • Completion of an Alcohol Education program
  • If you have a passenger under the age of 16 with you, you can receive 30 days up to 1 year in jail

Strict driving while intoxicated laws are put into place to ensure that drivers think twice before driving after drinking. Especially in Arkansas, where drivers with blood alcohol levels of over .15 caused almost 70% of alcohol-related driving fatalities, it’s time to put the brakes on drinking and driving.

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