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The risks posed by hardcore drunken drivers

Just a few miles from St. Charles, a Chesterfield man stands accused of driving while impaired by alcohol, after he was pulled over in Wildwood by police. The man reportedly has six prior convictions on charges related to driving while impaired.

We are grateful the 52-year-old didn't cause a car accident this time, but statistics indicate that people who are chronic offenders of DWI/DUI laws put everyone at substantially greater risk on the road.

According to research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, hardcore drunken drivers are people who drive with a blood alcohool content (BAC) of 0.15 percent or above, or who repeatedly drive while intoxicated.

In the case of the local man, his BAC at the time of his arrest was 0.215 percent. That's more than two and a half times the legal threshold in Missouri.

It should be noted that in 2010, of the drivers who were involved in drunk driving fatalities, 70 percent had a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher.

Drivers with a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher who were in fatal crashes were nine times more likely to have previous convictions for driving drunk.

Research published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol determined that these hardcore drivers are a whopping 380 times more likely to be in a single-vehicle fatal accident than drivers who do not drink.

So the numbers are stacked high against the Chesterfield man and those like him.

In his case, officers reportedly saw the man driving just before midnight on Manchester Road, swerving and then almost running into another car.

The man's most recent DWI conviction was here in St. Charles County, a little less than two years ago.

Let's hope courts find effective means of keeping people with histories of hardcore drunk driving from getting behind the wheels of cars.

Source: Eureka-Wildwood Patch, "Man Faces Seventh Drunk Driving Charge After Stop On Manchester Road," April 29, 2013

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