Full version Where Are You Going

Where Are You Going

This print version free essay Where Are You Going.

Category: English

Autor: reviewessays 10 April 2011

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SUBJECT 1: Societal And Personal Losses From Traffic Crashes (quantified)

The motor vehicle has become central to the way of life and the way of business in the United States. This invention has led to more productivity, greater mobility, higher efficiency and effectiveness over the same time a century ago. However, all of these benefits have come at a great cost. Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for all people from 6 to 33 years old and account for more than 90% of all transportation related fatalities1. The economic cost of motor vehicle crashes alone is estimated at more than $150.5 billion annually2.

The majority of persons killed or injured in traffic crashes were drivers (64%), followed by passengers (32%), pedestrians (3%) and cyclists (2%)3. 96% of the 12 million vehicles involved in motor vehicle crashes in 1995 were passenger cars or light trucks.4 Slightly more than half of fatal collisions occurred on roads with posted speed limits of 55 mph or more while only 21% of property damage crashes occurred on these roads.5 Collisions on city streets are largely at intersections because of lane changing, running or jumping lights, etc., while collisions on freeways are mainly caused by tailgating or following too closely.

How many people die on our roadways annually?

Approximately 41,000+.

In 1999, 41,611 people died on our roadways. That is an average of approximately 114 persons being killed on our roadways every day of the year. One person dies on our roads every 13 minutes. This means that while you are reading this program, 18 people will have died on the roadways in the United States6.

In 2000, Florida's share of the carnage on our roads resulted in 2,999 lives being lost. This works out to eight per day or one every three hours7.

How many people are injured on our roadways annually?

The number of injuries that occur on our roadways is phenomenal. In 1999, 3,236,000 were injured on the roadways of the United States. This works out to 8,865 injuries caused by motor vehicle collisions per day or 369 per hour or six per minute or one every ten seconds. In the four hours that you are reading this program, 1477 persons will be injured on the roads of the United States8.

In Florida in 2000, there were 246,541 traffic collision related injuries. This works out to 675 per day or 28 per hour or approximately one every two minutes and 13 seconds9.

Our personal mobility and business opportunities are greatly enhanced by the motor vehicle. However, there is no such thing as a free lunch. We pay for these advantages with our lives, property and the increasing costs in all categories of our existence for the motor vehicle.


NHTSA, Traffic Safety Overview, 1995, Washington, D.C., number 3, 4, 5.NHTSA, Traffic Safety Overview, 1999, Washington, DC, number 1, 2, 6, 8.DHSMV, Traffic Crash Facts, 2000, Tallahassee, Florida, number 7, 9.




SUBJECT 2: Contribution Of DUI And Other Hazardous Acts

As if driving is not dangerous enough, there is a significant portion of our driving population that drives under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. Driving requires a high degree of awareness of the driving environment and consists of a decision making process that is used hundreds of times per mile of travel. When you introduce alcohol and other drugs into this decision making process, the process is slowed down, sometimes fatally. It is or at least should be intuitively obvious that you are not going to proceed safely in a fast paced decision making process with your ability to make those decisions slowed down.

Alcohol-related crashes cost society $45 billion anually, yet this conservative estimate does not include pain, suffering and lost quality of life. The indirect costs raise the alcohol-related crash figure to a staggering $116 billion in 19931.

What was the average cost for each injured survivor of an alcohol-related crash?

Approximately $67,000, including $6,000 in health care costs and $13,000 in lost productivity2.

What impact does alcohol and other drugs have on traffic collisions?

In 1999, there were 15,786 fatalities in alcohol related crashes. This is a 6% decrease compared to 1996, and it represents an average of one alcohol-related fatality every 33 minutes. NHTSA estimates that alcohol was involved in 38% of fatal crashes and in 7% of all crashes in 1999. NHTSA also estimated that 30.1% of all traffic fatalities occurred in crashes in which at least one driver or non-occupant had a blood alcohol concentration of .10 grams per deciliter or greater3.

Approximately 1.4 million drivers were arrested in 1998 for driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. This is an arrest rate of one in every 132 licensed drivers in the United States. About three in every 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol related crash at some time or another in their life4.

In Florida, in 2000, there were 23,578 alcohol-related crashes, which injured 19,775 people and killed 9795. 32.6% of traffic fatalities and 9.5% of traffic crashes were alcohol related6. Approximately three people died and 60 were injured every day due to alcohol related collisions in Florida7.

What other hazardous acts affect the driving environment?

In 1999, speeding was a contributing factor in 30% of all fatal crashes, and 12,628 lives were lost in speeding related crashes. Motor vehicle crashes cost society an estimated $4,800 per second. The economic cost of crashes was estimated at $150.5 billion in 1994. The cost of speeding related crashes in 1998 accounted for $27.7 billion dollars or $52,607 per minute or $877 per second8.

Other concepts to be aware of are the concepts of aggressive driving and road rage. Aggressive driving is defined as "at least one of these four driving offenses, running a red light or stop sign, failure to yield the right-of-way and reckless driving9".

The cost of aggressive driving is substantial. It has been estimated that over the last ten years, aggressive driving has killed an average of 1500 people each year, injured 800,000 and cost the country an estimated $24 billion in medical costs, property damage and lost time from work10.

Road rage is the most extreme example of aggressive driving and usually is an extremely rare event. Road rage is the term used to refer to physical assaults that result from a traffic dispute. Road rage is an aggressive driving incident that has lost control. A near collision that turns to violence11. No agency can say how bad a problem road rage has become. AAA estimates that between 1990 and 1996, 218 people have died on our roads as a result of road rage12.




SUBJECT 1: Dealing With Stress

Driving while irritated, upset or shaken will substantially alter one’s judgment when behind the wheel. The angry driver is the aggressive offensive driver, and as a result the dangerous driver. Stressful conditions involving personal or business life will affect safe driving and should be recognized and addressed as negative influences on driving habits. The driver should evaluate his or her state of mind before attempting the operation of a motor vehicle and should not drive when heightened stress, anger, emotions or fatigue are realized.1

The operation of a motor vehicle takes a clear and focused mind, uncluttered by thoughts of aggravation and distress. The driver with a wandering mind caused by any one of the aforementioned effects has a decreased awareness of the road, a slower reaction time, and an overall lack of safe driving habits. This driver is more apt to make more unsafe lane changes, speed and take chances on the road. The ability to anticipate and determine upcoming driving hazards and conditions is also adversely affected.2

Do we need stress in our life?

Yes, you need stress in your life!! Does that surprise you? Perhaps, but it is quite true. Without stress, life would be dull and unexciting. Stress adds flavor, challenge, and opportunity to life. Too much stress, however, can seriously affect your physical and mental well-being3.

A major challenge in this stress filled world of today is to make the stress in your life work for you instead of against you.

What three stages does the body respond to when it is stressed?

To use stress in a positive way and prevent it from becoming distress, you should become aware of your own reactions to stressful events. The body responds to stress by going through three stages:

(1) alarm, (2) resistance, and (3) exhaustion.

As an example, assume that a car pulls out abruptly into traffic in front of you. Your initial reaction would be an alarm reaction, which may include fear of a collision or anger at the driver who pulled out in front of you. Your body physically reacts by releasing hormones (adrenaline) into your blood stream, your face gets flushed, you perspire, your arms and legs tighten up preparing you to fight or flee from the situation. The resistance stage is where your body repairs the damage caused by the alarm stage. The exhaustion stage comes about when the alarm resistance cycle is repeated too often and the body does not have sufficient time to repair any damage. Exhaustion may be manifested in such things as migraine headaches, high blood pressure, backaches or insomnia.4

How does one deal with stress?

There are as many ways to deal with stress as there are individuals. We all respond differently to different situations. However, here are some guidelines to use.

1. Try physical activity. When you are nervous, angry, or upset, release the pressure through exercise or physical activity.

2. Share your stress. It helps to talk to someone about your concerns and worries.

3. Must you always be right? Do other people upset you, particularly when they don't do things your way? Try cooperation instead of confrontation; it's better than fighting and always being "right".

4. Know your limits. If a problem is beyond your control and cannot be changed at the moment, don't fight the situation5.


American Automobile Association, Responsible Driving, Chapter 2, number 1American Automobile Association, Responsible Driving, Chapter 3, number 2U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, DHHS Publication no. (ADM) 91-502, 1991, number 3, 4, 5.




SUBJECT 2: Dealing With Fatigue

Drivers should be made aware that fighting tiredness while at the wheel is not advisable. The actual extent to which fatigue contributes to the traffic crash picture is probably much higher than statistics indicate, because long before a driver actually becomes drowsy, fatigue can seriously impair driving ability, often referred to as "inattention". The onset of fatigue frequently coincides with the onset of darkness when visibility is greatly reduced and the risk of traffic crashes is high, even for the alert driver.

What drivers are most at a greater risk of having a collision?

1. Drivers that are sleep deprived.

2. Drivers who drive long distances without rest breaks.

3. Drivers who drive through the night or at other times when they are normally asleep.

4. Drivers who are taking medication (that increases sleepiness) or drinking alcohol.

5. Drivers who are driving alone.

6. Drivers that drive on long, rural, boring roads and become hypnotized by the road.

7. Frequent travelers (e.g., business travelers1).

How many have driven from home to work or work to home and don't remember the last few miles they drove?

Fatigue has affected all of us at some time or another on the road.

Which drivers are especially susceptible to fatigue-related crashes?

Truck drivers are especially susceptible to fatigue-related crashes. In addition to the high number of miles driven each year, many truckers may drive during the night when the body is sleepiest. Truckers may also have a high prevalence of a sleep and breathing disorder called sleep apnea2.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that approximately 100,000 police-reported crashes annually (about 1.5% of all crashes) involve drowsiness/fatigue as a principal casual factor. Drowsiness/fatigue may play a role in crashes attributed to other causes. About one million crashes annually - one-sixth of all crashes - are thought to be produced by driver inattention/lapses3.

How do you prevent fatigue from affecting your driving?

To prevent fatigue from affecting your driving, here are some tips you should consider:

1. Get a good night's sleep. This varies from individual to individual but is somewhere around eight hours per night.

2. If you are taking a long trip, bring a passenger. The passenger can share the driving task and stay awake to talk to the driver while being alert for the signs of fatigue.

3. Schedule regular stops (about every two hours or 100 miles).

4. Avoid alcohol and other drugs that may impair driving performance.

5. If you feel that you have a sleep disorder, consult your physician and seek help4.


National Sleep Foundation, Drive Alert, Arrive Alive, Washington, D. C. October 1988, number 1, 2, 3, 4




SUBJECT 3: Dealing With Emotional Distress

The emotionally distressed driver is more apt to be involved in a traffic collision than is the rested, clear-headed motor vehicle operator. It should be made clear that a tired driver, a disturbed driver, or one with a cluttered mind has decreased ability to avoid collisions and is likely to be involved in an altercation as well.1

How would you feel if you were at fault in a collision that turned a 20-year-old into a quadriplegic, or killed a family's only child? The answer seems obvious, yet while the physical trauma caused by crashes has been the subject of extensive research, psychological damage and suffering is less well understood, particularly for crash survivors who do not sustain a physical injury2.

At least once during their lifetime almost all drivers will be involved in a serious crash where people are injured or killed. Even those lucky enough to avoid a crash will know friends, family, or colleagues who have suffered the effects of a serious crash3.

How is an emotionally disturbed driver more vulnerable to a collision?

1. When disturbed by emotions, the driver is not concentrating on the driving task, he or she is concentrating on what has him or her upset. This could manifest itself in increased risk taking behavior, such as shorter following distances, increased speed, erratic lane changes, etc. Unsafe behaviors like this contribute to increased crash risk.

2. With severe emotional distress, the individual could turn to substance use or abuse to hide the emotional pain. Combine this with driving and this would contribute to increased crash risk.

3. With the increased risk-taking behavior, aggressive driving could result. Aggressive driving as defined earlier is "at least one of these four driving offenses, running a red light or stop sign, failure to yield the right-of-way and reckless driving." Engaging in any or all of the listed behaviors could result in a collision.

4. As mentioned earlier, unchecked emotions can lead to aggressive driving, which in an extreme case, could result in "road rage". Your emotional distress has now risen to the point of violence. Your mind is not capable of rational function, your confusion and frustration level have risen to the point where you blindly strike out.

What do I do when emotional distress has taken over?

1. Take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds and then let it out. Go for a walk. Do anything non-violent. Do not get in your motor vehicle and drive angry.

2. Try to displace yourself from what it is that is upsetting you. Take a time out and go sit in your room.

3. Take a moment and recognize your anger for what it is, some hurt, real or imagined. Get some perspective, talk to someone you trust, do not drive when emotionally distressed.

If you are unsuccessful in controlling your emotions and are in a crash, what are the four emotional reactions of a car collision or ticket?

Crashes can trigger a powerful emotional reaction:





All but the most hardened people who cause injury or death are emotionally overwhelmed by the experience. Because driving puts them in control of their car, drivers tend to blame themselves if others are injured or killed, regardless of who was at fault4.

What are the four ways which drivers cope with emotional trauma?

The recovery process of a driver who has been involved in a collision follows four basic phases. These phases are:

1. Shock, numbing, and sometimes denial. Why did this happen to me? That can’t be right.

2. Recoil and impact. Preoccupied with the event and realization of what happened.

3. Attribution. This happened because; the person figures out the whys.

4. Resolution. The person has made their peace with the situation.

Many drivers naturally pass through these phases without outside assistance. Some, however, seem unusually preoccupied with the event and do not appear to get better. Coping can be particularly difficult during the recoil phase, when drivers realize what they did or did not do. They may take all the blame for the crash, disregarding the facts or analysis of others5.


Recovery, Haunting Experience, Alberta, British Columbia, October 1998, number 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.




SUBJECT 4: Appropriate Attitude

Traffic laws are instituted and established as safety mechanisms for motor vehicle operators. Street design does not warrant speeds in excess of posted limits, nor would certain turns be construed as safe operating procedures on particular streets. Planning and research are heavily involved in the establishment of traffic laws, as the objective is to make driving safe for all individuals. Seatbelts, for example, have become mandatory because it is statistically verifiable that they help save lives. Traffic laws are not made policy on rash, hasty decisions, but are done with the care of the driver in mind.1

As most people can attest, there is a genuine need for traffic control on the roadways. Unsupervised and uncontrolled driving would lead to chaos. Sound traffic control, both well organized and planned, is needed to enhance the driving conditions on the road. Just the simple addition of a traffic officer to an uncontrolled intersection where problems exist can show the benefits visible law enforcement has towards traffic safety. Often, just the sight of law enforcement officials will cause drivers to slow and drive more carefully.

Far too often, motor vehicle operators look on traffic laws with disdain. People stress the negative side of laws rather than the positive. Traffic laws are tools that save lives. Drivers must understand that these laws benefit them and should be supported and followed, not frowned upon. Nobody enjoys receiving a traffic citation, yet this is no reason to reject these life saving devices and tools. Drivers must understand that more laws promote safe driving and are truly beneficial and consequently should have the support of the motor vehicle operators.2

Stress and hurriedness can adversely affect one’s ability to drive. Operators of a motor vehicle should have an attitude suited for operation of a motor vehicle when behind the wheel and should not let other circumstances distract their attention. Drivers should be aware that circumstances and attitude changes could dramatically affect driving habits. The conscientious driver is often times the defensive driver and the least likely to be involved in a traffic collision3.

Research evidence shows that attitudes affect driving safety, but developing appropriate attitudes is not simple. It depends on recognizing that attitudes are important and on making a personal commitment to change attitudes that are unsafe. Drivers should strive to develop a positive attitude when driving.

What are some of the characteristics of a risk taking driver?

There is always some degree of risk associated with driving, but a driver's attitude can greatly influence the risk involved. Attitudes that predispose you to risk are:

* Enjoying the thrill of danger.

* Enjoying impressing passengers or other drivers.

* Disregarding personal safety.

* The illusion of control or overestimating your ability.

* Justifying risks because they are taken in a noble cause.

Most drivers think they are both safer and more skillful than the average driver is - but we cannot all be right. In more than 90% of traffic collisions, human error is the cause. Collisions do not just happen by chance; they are the consequence of unsafe driving practices. Driving safety cannot be thought of as an add-on extra; it has to be built into the way you drive4.

What are some of the traits of a good driver?

Good drivers have a quiet level of efficiency in their actions and this derives from:

* A good level of attention.

* Accurate observation.

* Matching the vehicle's speed and direction to the situation.

* Awareness of the risks inherent in particular road and traffic situations.

* Having a realization that heavy traffic and the actions of others are beyond our control.

* Developing the ability to LET GO of the perceived insults to yourself by the actions of other drivers.

* Develop and have the understanding that there is nothing out on the road worth dying over.

Having a positive attitude about driving and becoming and remaining aware of the driving environment will help you become a more effective and safe driver.




SUBJECT 1: Effect Of Alcohol And Other Drugs On Driver Capabilities

Alcohol is a colorless, odorless, volatile, pungent drug that acts as a depressant. The affects of alcohol are a general depressing of the functions of the brain and body. Depressing of these functions begins at the first sip of alcohol. The only safe amount of alcohol to consume and then drive is none. Alcohol often makes the individual tired and drowsy. The more a person drinks, the less likely he or she is to stay awake and alert while driving. Driving after drinking increases the risk of bodily harm resulting from a collision and increase the probability of a greater injury than would have happened if you were driving sober.1

Drivers must understand that if they are tired and drowsy before driving, those feelings will be heightened after alcohol consumption. A carbonated alcohol drink is absorbed faster by the body because of the carbonation. This causes a faster absorption of the alcohol into the blood stream, which causes the affects on the brain and body to take affect sooner. If the driver drinks a carbonated alcoholic beverage, the affects will be faster as the alcohol is absorbed sooner and on the way to the brain2.

Alcohol is implicated in a very large number of road collisions because it leads to slow reflexes, problems with vision and a loss of self-control.

What is a Controlled Substance?

Controlled substances include narcotic drugs, barbiturates, model glue and other stimulants whether taken by swallowing, by sniffing, by smoking, by injection or by any other means.

Does alcohol affect the central nervous system?

Yes, alcohol affects the central nervous system by being a depressant.

Does alcohol affect the reaction times of a driver?

Yes, alcohol has a demonstrative affect on the reaction time of drivers. Impaired driver’s reaction times often double in response to outside stimulus. The decision making process is slowed, as is the basic hand-eye coordination. A situation that a sober driver could handle and avoid easily becomes troublesome and critical to the impaired driver, while his response time labors. Reaction time is decreased with each drink, time that makes the difference between a crash and avoiding that crash3.

What are some of the affects of alcohol on the central nervous system?

1. Impaired judgment. You think you can drive when you cannot.

2. Impaired muscle coordination.

3. Decreased peripheral vision, multiple vision, blurring.

4. Dizziness and night vision impairment.

5. Slowed complex reaction time. This factor particularly compromises an impaired driver's ability to respond in emergency or unanticipated situations.

6. Increased drowsiness after the high, with the potential of unconsciousness, coma and death4.

What are some of the major organs of your body that alcohol affects and how?

1. BRAIN. The brain lacks an interior system of veins and requires large amounts of oxygen, which is absorbed from the blood stream. This blood dispersed throughout the brain affects the brain in the following manner: the brain is affected with anything that the blood carries in it and the frontal lobe is the first part to be affected by alcohol. The frontal lobe is essential for driving a motor vehicle as the frontal lobe controls judgment, emotions, decision making and awareness. Driving a motor vehicle requires many coordinated functions, which are adversely impacted by alcohol and other drugs5.

2. STOMACH. Alcohol consumption on an empty stomach can cause a peptic ulcer or a bleeding ulcer. A bleeding ulcer occurs if acid flows into the ulcerated wall and penetrates an artery. It should be understood and made clear that alcohol is a toxic poison that can kill6.

3. LIVER. Blood is channeled directly from the stomach to the liver. The liver's function is to oxidize all toxic substances in the body. The liver is capable of oxidizing approximately one ounce of hard liquor per hour, regardless of the size of the person. Prolonged abuse of alcohol can severely injure and potentially kill liver cells and then the drinker. Alcohol impairs the primary function of the liver. The functions are production of blood clotting elements, breaking down of large proteins, the storage of vitamin A and glycogen and filtering all blood that goes from the intestines to the heart. When the liver is injured, it swells and fat accumulates in the liver cells. The greater the damage the more likely scar tissue can form causing cirrhosis. Vision can deteriorate and body nutrition can decline as a result of liver damage. Prolonged abuse of the liver will cause symptoms to appear7.

What other types of drugs can affect driving?

Prescription drugs. Prescription drugs include cough medicine, antihistamines, barbiturates, and tranquilizers. Drivers often fail to realize that many drugs as prescribed by their physician have warning labels attached noting alcohol consumption with the drug could be very dangerous. In addition, many of these drugs warn not to operate a motor vehicle when under the dosage as they can cause drowsiness, light-headedness, slower reactions, intensify emotions, impair judgment, concentration and coordination. A driver pulled over under the influence of codeine is still breaking the law as he is driving under the influence. Drivers must be aware of what prescription medicine they are taking and the affects of each on the body8.

Over the counter medications. Many over the counter medications contain alcohol, sedatives and related substances that are not conducive to driving. Drivers must be aware of what is in the over the counter medications they are taking and that these substances could impair the ability to drive safely9.

Depressants. Depressants lower the rate of muscular or nervous system activity and are essentially sedatives. Alcohol falls into this category, as would marijuana, barbiturates, antihistamines and tranquilizers. Driving under the influence of a depressant can have catastrophic affects as judgment is impaired (drivers think they are alright to drive, when they are not) and reactions are dulled and slowed, as is concentration.10.

Stimulants. Stimulants include cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, caffeine and nicotine. This type of drug temporarily stimulates some vital process or organ in the body. When alcohol is consumed, it appears to act as a stimulant for the first hour after consumption but is physiologically a depressant. Cocaine would be a classic example of a stimulant. Cocaine affects the driver’s view of reality, reaction time, heightens impulsive or impatient behavior, heightens aggressive or hostile behavior and distorts the drivers decision-making process11.

Narcotics. Narcotics include heroin, codeine, opium and morphine. This type of drug induces a soothing, lulling or dulling affect and in large enough doses can cause comas and death. Narcotics are highly addictive and affect the driver's decision making process, impairing the driver's vision and motor skills, create restlessness, reduces concentration, and may lead to unconscousness. 12

Hallucinogens. Hallucinogens include LSD, Peyote and PCP. This type of drug causes distortion of the driver’s perception, sight, hearing, time and distance comprehension, can induce rapid mood swings, slow reaction time, and cause lack of coordination and vision by seeing objects that are not really visible. Since driving depends on the driver’s perception, sight, hearing and vision, dramatically reducing these capabilities is not a sound driving technique13.

What is the synergistic effect?

Synergistic Effect. The synergistic effect is what happens when you combine the intake of two or more drugs at the same time. The effect is different with each combination, each time and each person. The most dangerous aspect of synergism is the additive effect. Alcohol plus sleeping pills can have a dramatically greater effect than either drug alone. A one plus one combination could equal four. Each drug compounds the effect of the other, further altering the driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle14.


American Automobile Association, Responsible Driving, Chapter 3, number 1, 2.Mendelson and Mello, Alcohol, Use and Abuse in America, Chapter 13, number 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.H. Thomas Milhorn, Drug and Alcohol Abuse: The Authoritative Guide for Parents, Teachers and Counselors, Chapter 2, number 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.




SUBJECT 2: Relationship Of Amount Of Alcohol Consumed To BAC

When you consume alcohol, the amount of alcohol that accumulates in your body increases with the number of drinks you have and the amount of time in which you drink. You should be aware that impairment (where you are unsafe to drive) begins with the first sip of alcohol. In spite of all the rumors that you have heard, the only way to sober up is time. Regardless of your size or weight, it takes your liver about one hour to remove one drink from your system.

What is the definition of BAC?

BAC is the abbreviation for the concept of Blood Alcohol Concentration. BAC is the measurement of the weight of alcohol in your blood stream per unit of volume. Specifically, when a person has a BAC of .08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or .08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 milliliters of breath, he or she is presumed to be impaired1.

Can you be convicted of a DUI with a BAC of less than the presumptive limit of .08?

Yes. It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of alcoholic beverages or controlled substances, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired or to the extent that the person is deprived of full possession of normal faculties, to drive or be in actual physical control of any motor vehicle within this state2.

What effect can alcohol have on you?

1. The first thing affected after drinking alcohol is a person's judgment. You may think you can drive safely when you can't.

2. Alcohol also affects your vision and reduces your alertness.

3. Alcohol affects you differently at different times. If you are upset, over-tired, have an empty stomach, drugs or alcohol will probably have a stronger effect on you.

4. The amount of alcohol in a one ounce shot of 80 proof whiskey, five ounce glass of wine and 12-oz. beer is all the same. When you have a specialty drink like a Long Island Ice Tea, this drink has multiple shots of at least an 80 proof alcoholic beverage, so by comparison, you have just consumed four regular drinks at one time.

5. Alcohol appears to act as a stimulant and provokes a sensation approaching euphoria, which makes the subject wrongly assess his capabilities and take risks, which would never have been taken in the normal state. Alcohol also acts like an anesthetic: it suppresses or reduces perception, disrupts the faculties and above all, slows down the reflexes3.

6. In a review of studies of alcohol-related crashes, reaction time, tracking ability, concentrated attention ability, divided attention performance, information process capability, visual functions, perceptions, and psychomotor performance, impairment in all these areas was significant at blood alcohol concentrations of 0.054.

7. As stated earlier, as the amount of alcohol you consume increases, your ability to drive safely decreases. As you continue to drink alcohol, the amount stored in your body continues to increase. Your body can eliminate about .015 of BAC per hour. Time is the only way to eliminate alcohol from your body.


Florida Statutes, sections 316.193 and 316.1934, number 1, 2.MADD, Public Policy Statistics, Blood Alcohol Levels, October 1998, number 3, 4




SUBJECT 3: Legal Consequences

The Florida Statutes are perfectly clear; it is strictly forbidden to drive any motorized vehicle if your faculties are impaired. The presumptive limit is .08 grams of alcohol per 100 ml of blood or .08 grams of alcohol per 210 ml of breath, more commonly known as "point zero eight". (.08). Under the Florida Statutes, stricter conditions apply to new drivers. The rule here is "zero tolerance" and it means what it says: If you are under 21, you may not drive with even the slightest amount of alcohol in your body.

Florida's "Alcohol/Controlled Substance DUI Law," in effect since July 1, 1982, is one of the toughest in the United States. Now, first time offenders convicted of DUI can be assured of losing their driver license for at least six months, paying a $250 fine, performing 50 hours of community service, and mandatory attendance at a substance abuse school.

DO NOT DRIVE if you have been drinking or taking drugs. More than 32% of all Florida crashes and 38% nationally in which someone is killed involve a driver who has been drinking or taking drugs. There is no safe amount to use when you are going to drive. In spite all of the warnings, there are still those among us who continue to drive under the influence. For those individual drivers, the severity of the legal consequences increases with each repeat of this offense.

At what Blood Alcohol Concentration are you considered impaired?

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) at any BAC level may be used as legal evidence in conjunction with other indicators of impairment. A BAC of .08 and above creates a presumption of impairment.

What are the fines or can I be imprisoned for a DUI?

If you are convicted of a DUI, you will come into penalties for your inappropriate behavior. These consequences would consist of combinations of the following:

Fine for First Conviction: Not less than $250 - Not more than $500

Imprisonment: Not more than six months

Fine for Second Conviction: Not less than $500 - Not more than $1000

Imprisonment: Not more than nine months

Fine for Third Conviction: Not less than $1000 - Not more than $2500

Imprisonment: Not more than 12 months

NOTE: The fines and imprisonment are higher if the BAC is .20 or higher or if a minor is present in the vehicle.

If I am convicted of a DUI can I lose my driving privilege?

Yes. The amount of time that your driving privilege is revoked depends on which conviction this is for you. As the number of convictions increase, so does the length of the revocation.

First Conviction - License Revocation at least 180 days (up to one year).

Second Conviction - License Revocation at least five years, if within five years of previous conviction.

Third Conviction - License Revocation at least 10 years, if within 10 years of first conviction.

What will happen if you refuse to take a blood test, urine test or a breath test?

If you refuse to take any sobriety test required by law when asked, your license will be suspended for one year for the first refusal or 18 months for persons with previous suspensions for refusal to take any sobriety test required by law.

What is the time of suspension for a person under the age of 21 who has a alcohol level of .02 or higher?

Effective October 1, 1996, the law provided that it is unlawful for someone under age 21 to drive or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle with a blood or breath alcohol level of .02 or higher. The suspension period is six months for a first violation or one year if the offenders driving privileges have been previously suspended for the same offense.


Florida Statutes, sections 316.193 and 316.1934.




SUBJECT 4: Financial Consequences Of DUI

If you have ever driven under the influence, stop to consider the costs of what could happen. You could kill yourself or an innocent bystander. The loss that we all suffer annually through impaired driving is staggering as mentioned earlier. Let us look at what this one beer actually costs.

What are some of the associated personal costs for DUI? What do you think are some estimates?

Some of the associated costs of a DUI are:

Towing - $150

Lawyer - $3500

Fine - $250 to $500

DUI School - $190 to $285

Insurance - $1500

Lost Wages - $1000

Court Costs - $450

Substance Abuse Evaluation - $75

Treatment - $400

License Reinstatement - $155

Cost Recovery - $350

That "one" beer cost you in the neighborhood of $8000. You could have made a down payment on a really nice car, a house or some other substantial piece of property with that money. The price per beer goes up for a second or subsequent DUI. What else could you do with $8000?1

What are some of the losses to society as a result of DUI?

In fatal crashes, the loss is what that person could have done with his or her life if he or she were part of the future. We have no way of estimating what that person(s) would have accomplished if he or she remained alive. For those who are injured, we all bear the cost of their rehabilitation, either directly when we pay their bill because they cannot through public assistance, or indirectly through higher insurance and health costs. For those that are permanently disabled, we pay to support them for the rest of their lives.

For those convicted of this crime, society has to pay for their defense, police and paramedics to go to the crash scene and clean up the damage. In case of death, the police have to inform loved ones of the demise of someone close to them. There is then subsequent suffering in your family or another's from the loss of someone close to them.


Florida Department of Transportation, Beer Costs $8025, Metro-Dade Police Department, 1996, number 1.




SUBJECT 5: Ways To Avoid Driving Impaired

Obviously no one should drink and drive. Once you start drinking, your vision, mobility and comprehension are affected. However, if you choose to consume alcohol, think before you drink. There are many ways to consume alcohol and not get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Just think of what you would rather do than spend $8000 on a DUI conviction.

What are some clues you can use to avoid the impaired driver through driving defensively?

There are some visual clues for the defensive driver to spot and then avoid the impaired driver. The impaired driver might be exhibiting one or more of the following behaviors: no lights, straddling lanes, weaving, stopping without cause, tailgating, driving well below the posted speed limit, inconsistent signaling and abrupt turns. When you see this activity, avoid this driver. Also be aware of your surroundings. Avoid the parts of town where the bars and nightclubs are located. Do not drive late at night on weekends and watch for impaired drivers crossing the center line1.

What are some alternatives to driving impaired?


If you do choose to drink, please do not drive. There are other ways to travel after consuming alcohol. Always plan ahead, pick a designated driver (the designated driver does not drink at all), drink at a friend's house and spend the night, take a taxi, or consider not consuming alcohol at all2.




SUBJECT 1: Effect Of Speed On Force Of Impact

One should avoid dangerous driving situations (excessive speed, running red lights or stop signs, etc.). The most dangerous situation to avoid is the head-on collision, followed by the multiple vehicle collision. As the driver you can use many evasive actions to avoid any collision, but action must be taken to avoid a head-on collision. You can turn the steering wheel, use your brakes, let off on the accelerator prior to impact or do combinations of all three to lessen the severity of the collision1.

What is the effect of speed on the force of impact?

Simply put, the greater the speed of any vehicle, the greater the force of impact. If you are going the same speed, the greater the vehicle weight, the greater the force of impact. For example, if both vehicles are going 20 mph and one is a sub-compact and the other is a tractor-trailer, the collision with the tractor-trailer will have the greater force of impact. This is a straight-line relationship. The more weight, the more force at impact.

If the vehicles are the same weight, the vehicle with the higher speed will have the greater force of impact. If one vehicle is going 20 mph and the other is going 60 mph, the one going 60 mph has nine times the force at impact than the one going 20 mph. This is a squared relationship. Three times the speed will have nine times the force of impact (32). Four times the speed will have sixteen times the force of impact (42). Five times the speed will have twenty five times the force of impact (52), and so on.

The force at impact is what can kill. A three thousand-pound car traveling at 70 mph has 15.8 million pounds of force to release in a crash. The release of this energy is what causes the car to get damaged or destroyed in the crash. This is also what injures or kills the occupants of the vehicles. Speed kills. Great speed increases the probability of injury in a crash2.

What are the two collisions that happen in a crash?

1. The impact of the car with the object.

2. The impact of the driver with the inside of the car.

If a car leaves the road at 35 mph and hits a large tree, how long does it take to dissipate the kinetic energy contained in the vehicle and everything in it?

It takes about 7/10 of a second.

The damage caused to a person striking his seat belt at a relative speed of 15 mph (35 mph forward momentum minus 20 mph speed of belt) and "riding down" the crash (decelerating) over the next 3/10 of a second is much less than that sustained by a person striking the front of the passenger compartment at a relative speed of 35 mph and stopping in 1/10 of a second3.


American Automobile Association, Responsible Driving, Chapters 8 and 12, number 1.Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Speed and Speed Limits, Atlanta, Georgia, October 1998, number 2, 3.




SUBJECT 2: Concept Of Second Collision

When it looks like you cannot avoid the collision that is about to happen in front of you, you are actually in two collisions. The first is the car with whatever you hit or whatever hit you. The second collision is when you are stopped by the windshield or steering column if you do not wear your safety belt. Additionally, any object that is not secured in place will go flying to the front of the car, striking what is in front of those flying objects.

What happens in a crash?

Newton’s first law of motion states: A body remains at rest unless a force makes it move. A force is required to change the speed or direction of a moving body. This law means that it will take a force to start and stop an object in motion1.

Below is the 7/10 of a second impact (including people and objects in the vehicle):

1/10 sec. - In the first tenth of a second: the car and everything inside are going at the speed of the vehicle, for the purpose of demonstration we will pick 35 mph. The front bumper strikes the tree and begins to deform. The front center of the car slows to 0 mph; the rest of the car and its occupants continue moving forward at 35 mph.

2/10 sec. - In the second tenth of a second: the bumper continues to deform as the energy of the crash is being dissipated; the radiator and fan begin to crush; the engine and frame strike the tree and begin to decelerate.

3/10 sec. - In the third tenth of a second: the frame and body of the car continue to deform; the passenger compartment, front dash and windshield have decelerated to 20 mph. The car's passengers are still traveling forward at 35 mph.

4/10 sec. - In the fourth tenth of a second: the frame of the car decelerates to 20 mph and continues to dissipate the energy of the crash. The safety belts and passengers continue forward at 35 mph.

5/10 sec. - In the fifth tenth of a second: the safety belts begin to deform by stretching to decelerate the passenger in a comparatively gentle manner. Occupants decelerate to 25 mph, the car frame has decelerated to 15 mph. Unbelted occupants continue forward at 35 mph. Loose objects from the back seat and deck continue forward at 35 mph.

6/10 sec. - The sixth tenth of a second: the safety belts have reached their deformation limits. Belted occupants decelerate to 10 mph, the dashboard and windshield decelerate to 0 mph. The car body, frame and engine continue to absorb the energy from the crash. Unbelted occupants continue forward to strike the dashboard, steering column and windshield at 35 mph. Loose objects from the rear seat and deck come flying forward to strike the front seat passengers at 35 mph. The unsecured objects in the back of the vehicle could strike with enough energy to cause injury or death.

7/10 sec. - In the seventh tenth of a second: the frame and body have finished deforming and rebound in the opposite direction (reaction to the crash action); the belted occupants rebound from the safety belts, their heads continue back to come into contact with the head restraints. Unbelted occupants reach 0 mph by striking the windshield, steering column and dashboard, they deform and crush. Their internal organs, still going 35 mph, strike their rapidly decelerating body frames2.

The crash is essentially over!!! The belted-in occupants count their lucky stars and continue on with their lives. The unbelted occupants are carted off to the hospital or morgue for an extended stay; some longer than others.


Telford, Laurie, Laws of Motion, University of West Florida, October 1998, number 1Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Speed and Speed Limits, Atlanta,Georgia, October 1998, number 2.




SUBJECT 3: Energy Absorption

As you drive around, your car is "carrying" around kinetic energy. This energy is the force that needs to be dissipated in a collision.

How do modern vehicles absorb the energy from a crash?

Modern vehicles absorb the energy from a crash by the way they deform or "crush" when they are in a crash. The energy of the crash is used up crushing the metal of the vehicle. The passenger compartment is the strongest portion of the vehicle. The car doors have internal steel beams to protect the passenger compartment.

With the body of the motor vehicle using up the energy of the crash, does it make a difference where the crash occurs on the vehicle?

The direction of impact in the collision makes a very large difference. As you recall from earlier in the course, the greater the speed of the vehicle, the greater the force of impact. As an example, you are going 70 mph and the car you strike head on is going 70 mph, what do you have? Simple, a 140 mph collision. Even with the modern cars that are designed to absorb the energy of impact, the 140-mph crash has approximately 31.6 million pounds of force to dissipate.




SUBJECT 1: Safety Belts

In Florida, seat belts are required by law to be worn by all drivers and passengers in the front seat of a motor vehicle and by all person under 18 regardless of seating location in the motor vehicle1.

The fine for being convicted of not wearing your safety belt is $30 for each violation plus court costs of up $33 for each separate offense. If a passenger is under 18 and not properly restrained, the driver will receive the citation and pay the fine and court costs2.

For those drivers who say they do not want to wear their seat belt because they are concerned about immersion in water or a vehicle fire as a result of the collision, this belief is foolish. Fire or immersion in water happens in less than 1% of the vehicle collisions that happen annually either in Florida or in the United States as a whole.

Why should I wear my safety belt?

The figures are familiar: 41,000+ people die each year in car crashes, the leading cause of death for people age of 6 through 33. Safety belts can prevent death in about half of these crashes. If you know this and are still not wearing a safety belt, you may need to ask yourself why not3?

What is the proper way to wear a seat belt?

A properly worn seat belt means having both straps snugly fitted to transfer the impact of the collision to the parts of your body that can take it ...your hip bones and shoulder bones. The belt is fastened snugly across your hips. The belt across your chest should have about one fist width of slack. If you have automatic seat belts, be sure to fasten your lap belt. Without the lap belt, your body will simply pivot around the shoulder restraints and continue forward. If your shoulder restraints keep hitting you in the ear or on the neck, consult your owner’s manual on how to adjust the height of the safety belt. If the car does not have adjustable safety belts, go to an auto parts store or write your vehicle's manufacturer and ask for a clip to adjust the height of the safety belt.

What are some excuses why "I don't wear a seat belt"?

"I'm only going to the shopping center." Actually this is the best time to wear a safety belt, since 80% of traffic fatalities occur within 25 miles of home and at under 40 miles an hour.

"I won't be in an collision: I'm a good driver." Your good driving record will certainly help you avoid collisions, but even if you're a good driver, a bad driver may still hit you.

"I'll brace myself." Even if you had the split-second timing to do this, the force of the impact would shatter the arm or leg you use to brace yourself4.

Do you wear your seat belts?

Imagine running as fast as you can into a wall. You'd expect to get pretty banged up. Do you think you could stop yourself if the wall suddenly popped up when you were two feet away from it? This is exactly the situation you face when the front of your car hits something at only 15 miles per hour.


Florida Statutes, sections 316.614, 318.18 number 1, 2.NHTSA, Traffic Safety Overview, 1999, Washington, D.C., number 3.Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Speed and Speed Limits, Atlanta, Georgia, October 1998, number 4.




SUBJECT 2: Head Rests

The injury commonly called "whiplash" occurs more frequently when a vehicle is rear-ended than when one is struck from the front. This is because the neck's anatomy makes the body less able to withstand backward motion of the head. The modern day motor vehicle has a device that will protect you from whiplash, but only if it is properly adjusted. This device is the headrest on the top part of the motor vehicle seat.

What does the term "Whiplash" mean?

The word whiplash is used because in a rear-end collision the head is accelerated faster and harder than the torso -- somewhat like the cracking of a whip. Thus, strictly speaking, whiplash describes an event, not an injury.

What position should the seat be in to achieve the best protection the head rest can give?

Correct positioning of the seat is also essential: head restraints are most effective in reducing neck injury when positioned close to the back of the occupant's head with the head rest level with the middle of the ears of the person driving the motor vehicle. If the seat is excessively reclined, the head rest is probably too far away to provide much protection. A head restraint is properly positioned if the head first encounters it at about ear level.

In a typical rear-end collision, the seated victim's torso is pressed suddenly back into the seat. During the first split second as the vehicle is thrown forward, the head is left behind, moving rearward. If the back of the head encounters a correctly positioned head rest, the head's movement is stopped -- usually before muscles are strained. Both torso and head then rebound forward from the seat back and head rest, with far less intensity than the original rearward motion. The entire event lasts perhaps a fifth of a second.




SUBJECT 3: Child Restraints

Every day, children sustain serious injuries and die in motor vehicle crashes. Many of these injuries and deaths can be avoided with the correct use of child safety seats and safety belts. However, many adults are unaware they are using the safety restraint incorrectly, thereby placing their child at risk.

Children five years of age and under must be placed in a properly installed crash tested federally approved restraint device. The law requires children through three years of age have the restraint device be in a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer’s integrated child seat. For ages four and five, a separate carrier, integrated child seat or seat belt may be used.

Should a child be seated in the front or back seat?

The bottom line is that the back seat is the safest place for a child of any age to ride.

At what age should a child be to use an infant seat?

Infant seats are designed for babies from birth until at least 20 pounds and one year of age. Children five years of age and under must be placed in a properly installed crash tested federally approved restraint device. For children through three years of age, the restraint device must be a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer’s integrated child seat.

When can a child start using a safety belt?

When children are old enough (six and older) and large enough to "fit" an adult safety belt, they can be moved out of a booster seat. To "fit" a safety belt properly, the lap belt should fit snugly and properly across the hips and the shoulder strap should cross over the shoulder and across the chest.

Always read both the vehicle owner's manual and the car seat instructions carefully when deciding which car seat to use and how to properly install it. Installation can be difficult due to the variety of seat belt configurations, vehicle seat designs and child safety seat designs. Check your car manual to find out if you need to use a locking clip or other equipment to properly secure the seat.

Whose responsibility is it for the child to be properly restrained?

The driver of the motor vehicle is responsible to ensure that a child is properly restrained. If not, the driver can receive a citation, a fine ($60 plus court cost of no more than $30) and three points on their driving record.


Florida Statutes, sections 316.613 and 318.18.




SUBJECT 4: Air Bags

When air bags were introduced in the early 1990's, there was considerable debate on how fast they should deploy. Those who argued that the bag should deploy rapidly enough to protect unbelted occupants of the front seat won the day. The force this requires is a problem for smaller people and people who might be positioned close to the air bag - primarily infants, children, and adults under five feet, five inches tall. Infants and small adults should be seated in the rear of the vehicle equipped with dual air bags protecting the front seat. If this is not possible, they should position their seat as far back from the air bag as possible.

For cars that have airbags where should your hands grip the steering wheel?

The American Automobile Association (AAA) has suggested modifying the steering wheel gripping position in air bag equipped cars from ten and two o'clock to nine and three or even eight and four o'clock to allow room for the air bag to deploy1.

Can a new vehicle be purchased without air bags?

Almost all-new cars have dual (driver and passenger side) air bags. Starting in model year 1998, all new passenger cars must have dual air bags. Starting in model year 1999, all new light trucks must have dual air bags.

Can an airbag be disabled?

Disabling an air bag is difficult and can be dangerous. Federal law prohibits dealers, repair shops, etc. from disabling air bags. However, if necessary you can contact and obtain permission from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to disable an airbag. Eventually, some newer vehicles (i.e., pickup trucks) may include an on-off switch for the passenger side airbag.

Do air bags save lives?

Yes. Recent NHTSA research indicates an overall fatality reducing effectiveness for air bags of 11%. Air bags used in conjunction with the lap and shoulder belts offer the most effective safety protection available today for passenger vehicle occupants. In 1999, an estimated 1,263 lives were saved by air bags and from 1987 to 1999, a total of 4,969 lives have been saved2.

Do I need to wear my safety belts if I have airbags in my car?

Absolutely yes. Air bags are supplemental protection and are not designed to deploy in all crashes. Most are designed to deploy in moderate to severe front crashes3. Being struck from the side or rear, the air bags offer no protection. This is why seat belts must be worn in conjunction with air bags.


American Automobile Association, Responsible Driving, Chapters 3, number 1.NHTSA, Traffic Safety Facts, 1999, Occupant Protection, Washington, D. C., number 2, 3.




SUBJECT 5: General Importance Of Vehicle Safety Maintenance

No matter how well you drive, you are not safe unless your vehicle is in good condition. You keep your vehicle in good condition by having the vehicle properly maintained. If it is not, your car could fail you at a critical moment, and you could be in a serious crash.

What are the parts of the vehicle that you should properly maintain?

You should consider your vehicle from front to back, bottom to top.

Lights - Make sure that all of your lights work and that your light lenses are clean. Check headlights, taillights, directional signals and interior lights.

Windshield - Make sure that you regularly clean your windshield inside and out. Additionally, regularly change your windshield wipers. The windows are easier to see out of when they are clean.

Mirrors - Make sure that your mirrors are clean and pointed in the correct direction. The mirrors are designed to assist the driver in keeping track of traffic around their vehicle.

Tires - Make sure that your tires are properly inflated and not worn away. Tires are designed to grip the road and give the driver directional control. Bald, excessively worn or improperly inflated tires decrease the ability of the driver to control the vehicle.

Oil - Car engines run particularly well when they are regularly lubricated. Regular oil changes cost between $10-30. This is much less expensive than replacing or rebuilding an engine.

Belts, hoses, regular tune-ups - Have your belts and hoses checked at the regularly scheduled time periods mentioned in your owner's manual. Also, get a tune-up at the scheduled maintenance time.

Why should I bother to do vehicle maintenance?

Simple. The vehicle will last longer and work better. The time to find out that your car has a problem is in your driveway, not out on the interstate highway. Additionally, a properly maintained vehicle is a safer vehicle. Knowing that through proper maintenance your vehicle will function as advertised increases the potential for you to come through an emergency situation in one piece.




SUBJECT 1: Scanning, Including Distance Guidelines, Adaptation To Surroundings

While driving, we are subject to many distractions, both inside and outside the motor vehicle, which can reduce the driver's concentration on the driving task. Inside your vehicle, devices such as cell phones, fax machines and stereos can interfere with driving. Reaching for a ringing phone, searching for your tunes, eating, personal hygiene and dealing with children instead of driving can increase the potential for a traffic collision. Distractions are just that, and the distractions have the tendency to take precedence over traffic safety matters1.

Drivers should be of aware of road hazards and road conditions that may affect their vehicle yet should not let outside distractions deter them from safe driving habits. Billboards, homes, pedestrians, etc., can be observed yet should not consume one' s full attention. Drivers must realize that an awareness of the road is vital in safe driving, yet a wandering eye can be deadly. Emergency vehicles would not constitute outside distractions; rather they should be considered one of the primary concerns of the driving task. Drivers should not get caught up in sightseeing or scenery but should keep their mind focused on the road2.

Drivers should alter their visual habits if they are not conducive to the safe operation of a motor vehicle. Wandering eyes and a basic lack of attention to the road all heighten the collision potential. Drivers should train themselves to scan ahead two seconds looking for immediate hazards and from 10-12 seconds down the road for potential hazards. In rural areas, the 10-12 second distance is determined by the speed of the vehicle, by picking a fixed object o