Police Offer Sobering DUI Statistics

Just how many drinks does it take to be over the legal limit? Read on.

The Vernon Hills Police Department offers DUI statistics.
The Vernon Hills Police Department offers DUI statistics.

Along with the lights, beauty and joy of the holiday season comes the fun associated with parties and gatherings. For many people, more celebrations also correlate with more alcohol. Unfortunately, no matter how much the word gets out, some people will use poor judgment and make the bad choice to drink and drive.

The Vernon Hills Police Department wants everyone to have a safe holiday. To help accomplish this, the Department’s Crime Prevention Unit has provided some sobering statistics that, if kept in mind, might help keep someone’s holiday from turning into a nightmare. 

  • In Illinois, 323 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in 2011 (the most recent year data is available).
  • In 2011, the Illinois Secretary of States office recorded over 38,000 DUI arrests.
  • 85 percent of all drivers arrested for DUI are first-time offenders.
  • 92 percent of all drivers arrested for DUI, who were eligible, lost their driving privileges.
  • The average cost of a DUI conviction in Illinois is $16,580.00.

(Statistics were obtained from the 2013 Illinois Secretary of State DUI Fact Book.)

All drivers licensed in Illinois should already know the legal limit for intoxication in Illinois is .08 blood alcohol content (BAC). However, what many people probably don’t understand is what this figure actually means to them personally. Here’s a brief explanation of the BAC:

A person’s BAC is determined by the amount of alcohol in the body compared to the total volume of blood. Exactly how a person reaches a level .08 depends on a number of factors including body size and the amount of food consumed.  As an example, a 170-pound male typically must consume more than four drinks in one hour on an empty stomach to reach a BAC of .08, and a 135-pound female typically would have to consume three drinks in the same time frame. Remember, one 12-ounce beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine, and one 1.5 ounce shot of hard liquor all contain a comparable amount of alcohol.

Regardless of how long it takes to get to that level or what a person thinks he/she is capable of, at .08 everyone is impaired to the point that critical driving skills such as braking, steering, lane changing, judgment and attention are seriously affected.

Also, the only thing that will sober a person up is time. Fresh air, coffee, showers or food will not help rid the body of alcohol. It takes about an hour for the body to metabolize one drink.

If a person is going to make the decision to drink alcohol, he/she must also be prepared to make the responsible decision to either stop drinking before becoming intoxicated or not to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. While calling or asking someone else for a ride might be inconvenient or embarrassing, it’s better than the alternative.    

—Submitted by the Vernon Hills Police Department.


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