Driving Under the Influence

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Definition - What does Driving Under the Influence mean?

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a legal term used to describe the act of operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or other substances or operating a motor vehicle with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above a legally defined level. Driving under the influence may also be called driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired (DWI), operating under the influence (OUI), operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OMVI), or drunk driving.

SureHire explains Driving Under the Influence

Every state in the United States prosecutes driving under the influence as a crime. Each state's criminal code defines the term driving under the influence for that state. These laws usually include any instance where a person is physically responsible for the operation of a moving vehicle and is unable to do so safely due to impairment caused by a legal or illegal substance.

In addition to criminalizing driving while impaired, each state also sets a blood alcohol concentration above which a person will be deemed to be driving under the influence regardless of the person's actual level of impairment. Driving with a BAC above the statutorily defined level is sometimes referred to as being "above the legal limit." Most states set this legal limit at .08%. It should be noted that in the workplace setting an employee may be considered under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a BAC well below the limit set by most state laws.

The Center for Disease Control reports that nearly 1/3 of all traffic-related deaths in 2014 were caused by alcohol-impaired driving. During that same time, 16% of motor vehicle crashes involved the use of legal or illegal drugs. Additionally, over 1.1 million drivers in the United States were arrested for driving under the influence of either drugs or alcohol in 2014.

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