How serious are California authorities about cracking down on drunk drivers? Very serious. New legislation enacted this year is meant as a serious deterrent against anyone who even thinks about getting behind the wheel of an automobile after downing a few drinks.

According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, starting January 1 of 2012, judges can order a 10-year driver license revocation for any California motorist convicted of a third or subsequent DUI violation. It is possible you may qualify for reinstatement of your driving privileges after five years if you meet certain prearranged conditions, but five years without a license is still a long time.

That’s a full decade of no driving privileges, folks. How are you going to get to work? How are you going to get to the grocery store? Who will drive your kids to school or pick them up?

If you try to drive again, with a revoked license, you could end up getting another 10-year revocation, or even, in worst cases a lifetime suspension of driving privileges. Then what would you do to get around?

Defensive drivers understand the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They know the effect alcohol or drugs can have on their ability to react to hazards or even make a good judgement call about when to make a turn.

There is never a good time to get behind the wheel drunk or under the influence of drugs. You are always much better off arranging for a safe ride home before you go out at night. Using a designated driver if you are in a group is also an acceptable idea. But getting behind the wheel drunk is not.

In California, if you risk driving while under the influence of any mind-altering substance you not only risk your driving privileges, you risk your life as well.

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net