The laws in New Hampshire and other states that prohibit driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs (DUI) do result, in some cases, with individuals facing arrest and conviction. However, according to researchers like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), heavy DUI penalties aren’t just for punishment. Rather, the IIHS has explained that DUI laws play an important role by preventing some drivers from getting behind the wheel at all.
According to the IIHS, many drivers who may be intoxicated or impaired are never stopped by law enforcement. Even increased patrol efforts like the saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints that New Hampshire police relied on over Labor Day cannot stop every driver. Therefore, law enforcement officials rely on deterrence: let the public know there are hefty consequences for drunk driving, and people will think about whether or not they are too impaired to drive legally or safely. People who think they are too impaired won’t drive and fewer drivers will be arrested on suspicion of DUI.
For instance, the IIHS recommends that people who may be impaired can call a friend, ride with a designated driver, take a cab or public transportation, walk, or switch to non-alcoholic drinks and wait out the time needed to “sober up.” All of these choices decrease the chance a driver will be arrested for DUI, and they help that person travel safely.