The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

December 30, 2013

DUI statistics should be sobering, can be costly for drivers

BECKLEY — In spreading the spirit of the new year, drivers should be aware that consuming spirits during the celebration can be costly.

Court costs and fees vary by state, but in West Virginia, a first offense drunk driving charge can mean up to six months in jail, fines up to $1,000 and license suspension for up to six months. Maximum penalties can be leveled if blood alcohol content is determined to be .15 or above.

A person is considered legally drunk with a BAC of .08. Third offense DUIs are felonies, and have much stiffer consequences. One to three years jail time, a maximum fine of $5,000 and driver’s license suspension for one year can all be consequences of a third-time offense. In addition, an ignition interlock is required.

West Virginia State Police Trooper Michael Efrid said last week that DUI continues to be a problem, but one that, statistically, is getting better.

Efrid said DUI fatalities accounted for 110 deaths in the state in 2005; after a peak of 138 in 2007, he said the state recorded 112 alcohol-related fatalities in 2010.

Alcohol-related injuries were down considerably, as well, he  said, comparing more than 2,400 in 2005 to 710 in 2010.

Efrid attributes the statistical decrease to stepped-up patrols and enforcement of the state’s drunk driving laws, and people becoming more aware of the consequences of drunk driving.

“People are more aware than they used to be,” Efrid said. “I think that makes people think twice.”

 According to well.wvu .edu, these six facts should be sobering:

-- Drunk driving is the most frequently committed crime in the United States.

-- About 30 percent of all Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related car crash during their lifetime.

-- More than 40 percent of all fatal auto accidents are alcohol-related.

-- An alcohol-related crash kills one person every 31 minutes and injures one person every two minutes.

-- Auto accidents are the greatest single cause of death for young people between the ages of 6 and 27. Almost half of these accidents involve alcohol.

-- Your chance of being involved in a drunk-driving accident increases dramatically with every two beers you drink. Have a six-pack and your chances of being in a drunk-driving accident are 44 percent.

-- 1,700 college students die each year from alcohol-related accidents, including car crashes.

-- Approximately 600,000 college students are injured under the influence of alcohol, many of which are automobile-related.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving offers these tips on their website:

-- Beer and wine are just as intoxicating as hard liquor. A 12-ounce can of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, a 12-ounce wine cooler and an ounce and a half of liquor contain the same amount of alcohol.

-- Don’t rely on someone’s physical appearance to determine if he or she has had too much to drink.

-- Mixers won’t help dilute alcohol. Carbonated mixers like club soda or tonic water cause alcohol to be absorbed into a person’s system more quickly. Fruit juice and other sweet mixers mask the taste of alcohol and may cause people to drink more.

-- As guests RSVP, confirm that at least one person in each group is prepared to be the non-drinking designated driver.

-- Provide plenty of food to keep your guests from drinking on an empty stomach.

-- Avoid too many salty snacks, which tend to make people thirsty and drink more.

-- Offer non-alcoholic beverages or mocktails for nondrinking designated drivers and others who prefer not to drink alcohol.

-- Have fun — but not too much fun. To be a good host, you should stay within your limits in order to make sure your guests stay within theirs.

-- Close the bar 90 minutes before the party ends and serve a great dessert treat with coffee. Remember, only time sobers someone who has been drinking.

— E-mail:

Text Only
Latest News
  • pasiley Watery delight

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Americans continue to be plagued by debt

    Credit card debt may have reached its lowest level in a decade, but according to a recent study on personal debt vs. income, just as more people are paying off their credit card debt monthly, nearly the same number of people are being reported for unpaid bills. 

    July 30, 2014

  • twvcheck Theatre West Virginia gives back to hospice

    Theatre West Virginia, even with its shortened season this year, has found a way to give back to the community. 

    Mike Cavendish, a past board president at TWV, presented Hospice of Southern West Virginia with a check Thursday for over $1,000. 

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Former Summers County commissioner indicted

    The Summers County grand jury handed up indictments against 17 individuals this month, including one against a former county commissioner. 

    July 30, 2014

  • Weaker prices widen second quarter losses for Arch Coal

     Arch Coal Inc. said Tuesday that its second-quarter loss widened partly because of nagging rail disruptions and weaker prices for coal used in making steel, though cost controls helped the coal producer’s latest earnings surpass analysts’ expectations.

    July 30, 2014

  • State DHHR workers to picket over large caseloads

    West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources employees are picketing outside the agency's Fayette County office to raise awareness over what they call large, unmanageable caseloads.

    July 29, 2014

  • Arch Coal posts bigger 2Q loss

    Arch Coal Inc. said Tuesday that its second-quarter loss widened partly because of nagging rail disruptions and weaker prices for coal used in making steel, though cost controls helped the coal producer's latest earnings surpass analysts' expectations.


    July 29, 2014

  • Tunnel.jpg Tunnel traffic to be restricted to one lane for repairs

    Highway crews are planning to do additional repairs Tuesday night and Wednesday night inside of the East River Mountain. As a result, traffic inside of the tunnel will be limited to one lane in both directions, according to Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Michelle Earl.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Meth lab bust nets two Raleigh residents

    An anonymous phone call about two children in danger led authorities to a meth lab bust and the arrests of two Raleigh County residents Monday night.

    July 29, 2014

  • Congress closes in on benefits for veterans

    On the cusp of Congress’s lengthy summer break, factions sparring over legislation to strengthen health care and funding reforms for the Department of Veterans Affairs may have reached a compromise.

    July 29, 2014