Want to know how the simple act of driving home from a party can cost you more than $10,000, cause injury and possibly death, and wreck your Maryland car insurance? Simple: Driving under the influence (DUI). Most people realize that drunk driving falls firmly in the no-brainer category, with people’s lives (not to mention your own) on the line, but not everyone knows just how hard a financial hit that a DUI can pack.
When you add up the costs for making bail, paying fines, court and other fees, on average a first-time DUI offense will run about $10,000-$14,000, even if you didn’t hit anything in your vehicle or hurt anyone. The costs can increase substantially for repeat offenders or if your blood alcohol content is more than 0.15%, which is almost twice the 0.08% blood alcohol content that is the DUI threshold for all 50 states.
The stiff penalties are in an effort to deter people from even thinking about driving while buzzed, let alone legally drunk. This continues to be a major problem, as evidenced by 2009 statistics revealing that more than 1.4 million people were arrested that year for driving under the influence. Even more telling: alcohol was a factor in more than 30% of automobile fatalities in the U.S., which translates into 10,839 deaths in that year alone.
Still not convinced? Keep in mind that a DUI conviction could very likely affect your Maryland car insurance premiums for the next three to five years or even longer. Experts say that coverage in such cases could cost as much as two, three, or even four times as much—or you might even lose your policy altogether. And of course, these are just the hard-dollar costs; if people are killed, the cost is inestimable. It’s just easier (not to mention cheaper) to simply decide in advance who is going to be the designated driver. Even better: always drink responsibly so a DUI is never even an option.