A DUI will ruin a young adult.
Take one of my friends, a recent Rutgers graduate, for example. His two DUIs have cost him $6,150.
This includes $3,000 in surcharges, $230 for an Intoxicated Driving Resource Center class, $110 per month for 12 months for an ignition interlock device, $100 to restore his license and $750 in fines and court fees for each DUI.
He also has a 95% increase in his insurance, can only work within walking-distance of his home and has trouble starting his career because most companies require him to have a license.
This does not include time he had to take off of work or the cost of gas constantly driving to court.
Is there any way he can get on his feet first and pay off his fines later? Nope, because the State of New Jersey has zero tolerance for late payments. So what if he can’t pay these fines? The state’s solutions is to punish him with more fines. If he can’t do that, he gets jail time.
Considering the time and energy needed to do well in college, a young adult student is not capable of paying off these bills on their own. They will either have to drop out of school and work full time, or rely on somebody else for financial help. Both solutions create anxiety and can lead to depression.
But if it was not fines they were paying for, it would be their life.
According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, a census of fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes, of the 12,055 drivers with known test results in 2009, 33% were positive for drugs. Reports from The Institute for Behavior and Health show that in 2009, 6,761 people died and 440,000 were injured in car crashes from drugged driving.
This is especially alarming for teens in Somerset and Hunterdon County. According to the Safe Community Coalition, an organization whose mission is to eliminate drug use in Hunterdon and Somerset Counties, the counties are above the NJ State average of teen alcohol and marijuana use.
But despite the statistics thrown at them, young adults still drive under the influence. As a 24-year-old going through college, I have seen many of these young adults treat driving under the influence like a game. When they get together with a group of their friends, it becomes a challenge to drive to get fast food and stay in the right lane. They laugh about it and tell stories the next day.
But how funny would it be to get killed in a car crash? Not at all. But to many of them, this is such a far off thought that it doesn’t trigger a reaction.
However, goals such as starting a career or buying a house are constantly on a young adult’s mind. And anything that interferes with those goals—such as having $6,150 in bills halt your progress—does trigger a reaction.
So, if you’re lucky enough not to lose your life driving under the influence, you certainly will still ruin it.