What is an OWI, and how is it different from DUI? What are the consequences of OWI, and how can the government prevent such acts?

Every state has specific rules and regulations which the citizens of the state must follow. However, any negligence in following or disobeying the rules can lead to severe consequences.

All states have laws that can lead to arrests and penalties, or a combination of both, for drunk-driving individuals. These penalties and jail time can deter citizens from drunk driving and help reduce DUI accidents in the state.

Intoxicated OWI can lead to severe consequences, such as road accidents which lead to physical and mental injuries and traumas.

This article educates the readers on the following:

  • what is an OWI
  • OWI vs DUI: Difference between OWI and DUI
  • Why driving under the influence is harmful
  • How do police detect if a person is under the influence of alcohol
  • How alcohol or intoxication affects your vision and motor skills

Let’s start by answering the question: what is an OWI?

What Is An OWI?


OWI stands for operating while intoxicated and operating while being impaired. This is a severe crime in most states and means that an individual cannot drive in an impaired state of mind or be intoxicated.

Traffic police personnel are trained and specialized in multiple states to detect OWI individuals. They check the blood alcohol content of the individuals or the BAC.

The blood alcohol content or BAC percentage for an individual should not be greater than 0.08. Anything above this percentage signifies that an individual is driving unlawfully and is committing a serious crime. However, the BAC percentage varies according to the state and the type of driver.

Now that you know the answer to “what is an OWI?”, let’s go over OWI vs DUI.

OWI Vs DUI: Is There Any Difference?

There is no significant difference between OWI and DUI; these are both acronyms of each other, and both terms are interchangeable. In addition, DUI, which is driving under the influence, means that you are driving a vehicle while intoxicated.

An alcoholic person sitting in the car in the driving seat might be charged with OWI, while another person driving while intoxicated will be charged with DUI.

How Does A Police Officer Detect OWI/DUI?

drunk test

Multiple tests exist for different states to detect whether the driver is under the influence. However, the breathalyzer test is the most common test to determine if the driver is under alcohol or intoxicated.

The breathalyzer test is a test that helps police officers detect BAC levels. Drivers blow into a device that gives a reading, allowing officers to know whether the driver is drunk driving.

Another test done for alcohol or intoxication is the field sobriety test. Through this test, the police officer requests the individual to undergo a series of physical challenges to determine if the person is intoxicated.

Physical observation also plays a crucial role in detecting whether an individual is intoxicated. Police officers check for red eyes, slurred speech, and the smell of alcohol.

The driving pattern and behavior also tell the police officers much about the drivers. Sudden brakes, quick acceleration, and tailgating are some driving tendencies that explain a lot about drivers under the influence of alcohol.

Consequences Of OWI

The punishment and consequences of OWI depend on state laws and the number of offenses committed.

A police officer may ask you to undergo a breathalyzer test when pulled over. If it shows up positive, the officer will give you a roadside prohibition or take you to the police department. In some states, if you refuse a breathalyzer test, they will immediately seize your driver’s license under the state’s rules.

According to state law, an individual operating while intoxicated can be detained by the police. Apart from being detained, you could also face jail time and even penalties. Police can impose a heavy fine on you and tow your car.

You may have heard about the terms OWI and, in some places, DUI. You know the answer to “what is an OWI?” but what is a DUI?

Why Is Driving Under Influence Dangerous?

There is not one but many reasons why one should not drive while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol.

Impaired Hand And Eye Coordination

Attention Wanes

One of the significant reasons why driving while drunk is harmful is because when a driver is drunk, the eye movements do not coordinate with the hand movements.

Poor Judgment

Another reason driving under the influence is harmful is that drinking affects the part of the brain which makes judgments. Alcohol causes you to make poor judgments without considering the consequences, and these judgments and decisions can lead to devastating accidents.

Chances Of Accidents

Slow reaction time, blurred vision, poor concentration, impaired motor skills, and spontaneous and uncertain judgments can lead to a catastrophic accident. These accidents can harm the driver and the vehicle occupants and injure other people on the road, including drivers, riders, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Besides injuries, a drunk driving accident can cause severe property damage.

How Can The Government Educate Citizens On OWI?

OWI law

There is a great need to spread awareness regarding operating while intoxicated. Individuals should refrain from driving under the influence as it can lead to severe consequences.

Here are some of the ways the government can create awareness of OWI.

  • State governments should introduce seminars and programs that target younger and inexperienced drivers. Teens often indulge in reckless driving or do not have enough experience behind the wheel. Add alcohol to that, and it can lead to severe accidents.
  • Local municipalities can give lectures and highlight the consequences of DUI. They can incorporate statistics to make them aware of people and help them learn. Include facts and figures to help people understand how many die while intoxicated and driving. This way, people will abstain from driving under the influence of alcohol.
  • State governments can also invest in billboards targeting all demographic. They can also use pictorial representations to grab people’s attention towards the billboards. Moreover, animated or 3D representations for teens are a great way to grab attention.

Driving under the influence and operating while intoxicated can lead to devastating accidents. It can ruin the lives of drivers and others involved in the accident because of their negligence.

State governments need to educate their citizens on “what is an OWI” and its consequences and take strategic measures to prevent DUI accidents from occurring in the state.

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