Understanding the Risky Behavior Leading to a DUI

Most individuals facing DUI and related charges likely did not set out to be cited with a charge for driving under the influence. One of the only things that Colorado DUI citations really have in common are the severe consequences that come with conviction. Another potential common factor in DUIs may be related to the various reasons people choose to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or other substances even when they know better.

Perhaps they did not think they had been drinking enough to get caught, perhaps they believed they knew their limit and had not reached it, or perhaps an emergency arose and they were not thinking clearly. Whatever the individual reason, a study from the California Institute of Technology indicates that risky behavior might be slightly contagious, which could be one of the reasons for drinking and driving.

Researchers’ Findings on Risky Behavior

The basic takeaway from the study is that individuals are more likely to act in the manner in which they see others around them acting. To reach this conclusion, researchers asked 24 volunteers to repeatedly participate in a series of trials related to gambling. The first trial, referred to as a “Self” trial, involved participants being asked to choose between accepting a guaranteed minimum payout or taking a riskier gamble for a potentially higher payout. The second trial was known as an “Observe” trial and involved participants observing behavior designed to mimic a peer’s risk-taking behavior where they could see how often a peer might choose to behave in a risky fashion. The third trial was designed as a “Predict” trial where participants were offered a cash prize for correctly predicting the risk-taking tendencies of an observed peer.

The studies found that participants that had observed risk-taking behavior by an observed peer were more likely to make a riskier decision regarding the gamble for a higher payout in the individual phase of the study. Researchers conducting the study also believe they determined the section of the brain that responds to the degree of risk involved in a decision because riskier gambles caused higher levels of observed activity in the caudate nucleus region of the brain. The prediction phase of the trials also helped researchers determine that individuals could predict risky behavior patterns among observed peers.

This study’s findings seem to indicate that drunk driving and other risky alcohol-related behavior can sometimes be the result of the actions of those around us. Watching other patrons at a bar pay their tabs and leave in a car can be a factor that encourages an individual to drink and drive. Weekly outings with colleagues after which you are typically fine to drive can quickly turn into a situation in which you risk losing your job because of a possible DUI conviction. Listening to a friend when he or she encourages you to drive by saying you have had more than this to drink and been fine in the past can land you in jail. Understanding this can help you avoid dangerous risks like driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or other substances because it can lead to a deeper understanding as to why people make risky choices.

Legal Assistance Facing DUI Charges

Whatever the reason you are facing DUI charges, it is important to remember that you do not have to face them alone. Working with an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the legal system more effectively. Contact the criminal defense team at Tiftickjian Law Firm to schedule a consultation about your charges and find out what options might be available in your defense.  

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(image courtesy of Robert Mathews)