In a world of “LOL” and “ICYMI” online acronyms, there is a huge difference between “DUI” for Driving Under the Influence and “DUI” for Dialing Under the Influence: one will land you in jail, the other just requires avoiding an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend for a few days. While neither DUI is recommended, for obvious reasons, there are dozens of different acronyms that “spell out” bad choices surrounding alcohol, like the letters handed down when you get the news of your pending ignition interlock (or, car breathalyzer) installation. So, understanding different drunk driving terms helps us all know when we’ve stepped over the line, or perhaps crossed the middle line, into alcohol-laden, dangerous territory.
- Ignition Interlock Device (IID): that gadget that hooks into your vehicle’s ignition that tells you (and the court or DMV) that you’ve been drinking and will not be driving until you sober up.
- Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC): how an IID, or law enforcement officer determines that you’ve been drinking and are not driving again until you sober up and/or face a judge for further instruction.
- Driving or Operating While Impaired (DWI or OWI): terms that define you should have called a taxi or phoned a friend for a ride home, but, instead, your BAC is over the legal limit and you will face drunk driving charges in court.
- Driving or Operating Under the Influence (DUI or OUI): similar to DWI or OWI, these acronyms show that you chose to drive after drinking, and will have to face court ordered penalties if convicted.
Other drunk driving terms like OVWI (Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated), DUIL (Driving Under the Influence of Liquor) or DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired) may only be used by one or a minority of states, but each points to a person who is about to learn how restrictive life can be once convicted of any of these crimes. In any case, under any circumstances, or at any point when drinking and driving suddenly seems like a good idea, just remember the most important drunk driving acronym of all: Designated Driver (DD).