The real cost of drunk driving.

hines wardPittsburgh Steeler Hines Ward was arrested in Georgia around 4am on Saturday morning, July 9, 2011, for drunken driving. ESPN reported that he was released after paying a $1.300.00 bond. Ward has since stated he was not driving impaired.

If you read anything about this story you generally find that people are very surprised that it is Hines Ward in this story and not someone else. After all, he has been involved in so many positive things. He just won the Dancing With The Stars competition. Ward was recently named an honorary Goodwill Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. Ward's charity "Helping Hands Foundation" brings biracial children from Korea to the United States to experience Pittsburgh or even a football game.

However, there aren't many of us who have never made a poor decision. Drunk driving is most definitely a poor decision and irresponsible for many reasons, primarily because of the fact that you are putting yourself and others at risk of serious bodily injury or death.

MSN Money reports that "a typical DUI costs about $10,000 by the time you pay bail, fines, fees and insurance, even if you didn't hit anything or hurt anybody." If we simply look at the financial implications of drunk driving there are many reasons to avoid this act altogether.

1. Increase in insurance premium
Once your insurance company finds out about your DUI conviction you can expect your rates to go up significantly (if they don't drop you altogether). Various factors, such as the severity of the occurrence and your driving history, will play a role in determining the actual premium increase.

2. Drunk driving fines
In addition to other penalties there is always a fine for drunk driving. Fines vary by state. Again, in Pennsylvania, your blood alcohol content determines the amount of fine, which can be as low as $300.00 or as high as $5,000.00.

3. Suspension of your license
In the state of Georgia, where Hines Ward was arrested, being convicted of driving under the influence results in your driver's license being suspended. In Pennsylvania, his home state, the penalties are based on your blood alcohol concentration. Anything over .1 results in a minimum 12 month license suspension. Some jobs are dependent on your ability to hold a current license and clean record. Delivery drivers, truck drivers, bus drivers, etc. Losing your license could mean losing your job.

4. Jail time and / or court hearings
Depending on the severity of your impairment you could be sentenced up to several days in jail. What if you need to be at work tomorrow? You may also need to miss work in order to attend your court hearing. Depending on your job situation this could take away from your pay or even lead to losing your job.

5. Other costs
Don't forget towing, bail, cost of the police evaluating you, license reinstatement fee, and the cost of attending court ordered alcohol education classes.

It just doesn't make any sense to drive drunk.


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