Nowadays, going out for a few drinks can get pretty expensive.
Drinks, food, clothes, transport… it all starts to add up very quickly!
But do you know what’s even more expensive? Getting into your car at the end of the night and risking driving home while over the limit.
Unfortunately, most people don’t understand the possible consequences of drink driving and the financial and emotional costs that can come as a result. If they did, they would almost certainly stay away from their cars after drinking alcohol.
Here, we look at some of the costs that can be incurred due to drink driving.
If you are guilty of drink driving, it is almost certain that you will be ordered to pay a fine. The amount of the fine will depend on how high your alcohol reading was, your previous traffic history and so on.
If you are lucky, the fine might only be a few hundred dollars. However the fine could end up being thousands of dollars – for that price, you could have hired a helicopter to fly you home instead of drink driving!
You will also be required to pay court costs (called the “Offender Levy”) which is over $100. The court has no power over this as it’s a mandatory expense imposed by the Government.
In addition, many drink drivers are caught by the police because they crashed their cars, often causing thousands of dollars damage. In these cases, insurance companies will not provide you with any assistance if you caused damage while drink driving.
Lastly, you may be required to install an Alcohol Interlock Device into your vehicle before you can get your licence back after being disqualified. These cost thousands of dollars and every car you drive during the relevant period must have one installed.
After counting up all the costs, suddenly getting an Uber seems quite cheap!
Loss of Licence
Many people don’t realise that a licence disqualification must be ordered for drink drivers in Queensland.
The shortest possible disqualification is one (1) month. However if the offence was serious enough or if you have previous history of traffic offences, you could face a licence disqualification of several years.
A licence disqualification is extremely serious. It means that you cannot drive your children to school or to medical appointments. You cannot go grocery shopping or visit friends.
If you take the risk of driving while disqualified, you will commit a disqualified driving offence and face a further disqualification of two or more years.
The Loss of your Employment
Even though we now have many different options to get around with a driver’s licence, the reality is that many of us still rely on our licence to drive for work.
If you lost your driver’s licence, would you be able to keep working?
Although the court may grant certain drink drivers a work licence in certain circumstances, you may personally not be eligible. It is also up to the court whether to grant your application or not. Therefore no one should think of a work licence as being a “back up” option.
In addition to the risk of losing your job because of a licence disqualification, your employment may be terminated due to a recorded conviction. Even though drink driving is not a criminal offence, some employers might take a DUI conviction into account when deciding whether you should be hired or promoted.
The Loss of your Freedom
You can also be sent to jail for drink driving. This might be because of a long history of previous drink driving offences or committing other serious offences.
In the most serious cases where someone is injured or killed due to drink driving, a lengthy jail sentence of many years is almost unavoidable.
The Loss of your Relationships
Unfortunately, many relationships end because of drink driving offences.
Often, this is because the stress of going to court and then being punished becomes too much for the offender and they develop anxiety or depression.
It may also be because the innocent partner simply finds it too difficult being in a relationship with someone who has no licence or no job.
What Can You Do?
The way to avoid these costs is simply – don’t drink and drive.
Obviously, avoiding alcohol completely is the best option. However if you are drinking and then need to get somewhere, order an Uber or call a friend to pick you up.
Otherwise if you do take the risk and drink drive, that journey might be the most expensive trip you’ve ever taken.