We talk a lot about the dangers of drunk driving and rightfully so. Every 2 minutes, somebody is injured in an alcohol-related accident. And, with recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stats revealing that DUI-crash fatalities jumped by 4.6 percent in 2012, the losses sustained by drinking and driving are becoming more prevalent.

Life and injury are not the only things drivers risk when they’ve had one too many. The effects of a DUI will drastically impact your wallet and day-to-day life.

As you’re planning your perfect New Year’s Eve party, check out these 4 reasons to add a few cab numbers to your address book (or download an app like Uber or Lyft) and stay safe this holiday season.

4 things a DUI could cost you

1. Your cash

No secrets here: DUIs are expensive. Although state penalties for drunk driving vary, the average bill (including fines, attorney fees, bail money, DMV fees, insurance increases, and more) will run you a cool $10,000.

Plus, if you live in 1 of the 11 states where interlock devices are mandatory for first-time offenses, you’re also looking at spending another $50 to $200 for device installation, along with a $50 to $100 monthly equipment fee for however long you’re required to have it.

2.  Your license

If you’re caught driving under the influence, it’s likely you won’t be hitting the road again anytime soon. In almost every state (45 states to be exact), getting charged with a DUI means you could be looking at 3 to 6 months of carpooling and ride sharing, possibly more. Think it was irritating to ask your mom for a ride around town as preteen? As an adult, it’s going to be even tougher.

3.  Your job

Remember when we talked about how much a DUI costs? Well, imagine that number, plus your annual salary. Whether we’re talking future or current employment, getting a DUI can absolutely affect your career. In fact, employers in most states are allowed to turn down applicants with any kind of conviction on their record.

Some employers, including ones where applicants will be working with children, senior citizens, or the disabled, or jobs that involve frequent or commercial driving, are far more likely to request (and may even require) a background check.

4.  Your freedom

If losing serious cash, your car, and your job aren’t enough to scare you sober, then spending time behind bars might. For first-time offenders, a night (or a few nights) in jail is not uncommon. If you’ve been convicted of drinking and driving in the past, those few nights can easily turn into months.

And that’s not even the worst-case scenario. If someone was injured or killed as a result of your impaired driving, the overall consequences become far more serious.

Protect yourself and others by planning ahead

Now, I’m not saying you need to quit the holiday cocktails cold turkey. Instead, just plan ahead for your night on the town. Whether that means designating a sober driver, or making plans to split a cab, figuring it out beforehand is always the best policy. In fact, check back tomorrow and we’ll tell you the best ways to take advantage of your city’s free ride programs.

Related links

Is driving hungover worse than driving drunk?
How a DUI affects car insurance premiums
The science of drunk driving
The origins of the designated driver program

Safe and smart | Getting there

about Jennifer

A Motor City native, Jennie spent a few years knee-deep in automotive before heading to San Francisco to join the Esurance team as a copywriter. In addition to words, she’s a big fan of running, Detroit Tiger baseball, and the Trader Joe’s cheese aisle.