By now, drivers in Bryan and College Station know that it is a bad idea to have too much to drink and then get behind the wheel. In addition to posing a danger to other people, such behavior puts drivers at risk for DUI and the attendant legal consequences. But it may be surprising to know that drunk driving was not always the legal issue it is today. In fact, the 114th anniversary or the very first drunk driving arrest in history passed us by only a few days ago.

The first driver to be arrested for driving while intoxicated was a London cabbie. He was cited on September 10, 1897 after he rammed his cab into a building. He was fined 25 shillings - a far cry from the large expense that can result from a DUI today.

New York was the first American state to enact laws against driving while intoxicated, which it did in 1910. Enforcement of drunk-driving laws became much easier in 1953 when the Breathalyzer was invented. It was the first cheap, easy and practical means of determining objectively how intoxicated a person was (although today, its accuracy and reliability are often disputed).

Public awareness campaigns against drunk driving began in the 1970s and in 1980, the powerful lobbying group Mothers Against Drunk Driving was formed. Despite those efforts, many people still drive while drunk and the consequences are substantial. In 2005, around 1.4 million people were arrested for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. That same year, almost 17,000 people died in alcohol related crashes.

Source: The History Channel, "This Day In History - September 10" Sept. 10, 2011.