HOW ALCOHOL AFFECTS DRIVING ABILITY
Alcohol is a chemical that decreases brain activity, which affects thinking, reasoning, and muscle control. To operate a vehicle safely, you need to possess all of these skills.
The detrimental effects on the central nervous system increase as a person’s blood alcohol levels rise. Alcohol is directly absorbed via the stomach and small intestine walls. After that, it enters the bloodstream and builds up there before being digested by the liver. The amount of alcohol in a specific volume of blood is used to calculate a person’s blood alcohol content. This is known as BAC, or Blood Alcohol Concentration. Crash risk skyrockets with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of.08 grams per deciliter (g/dL). Because of this risk, driving while intoxicated is prohibited in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, with the exception of Utah, where the BAC limit is.05.
But even a modest amount of alcohol can impair one’s ability to drive. 2,041 persons died in drunk driving accidents in 2020 where the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was between.01 and.07 g/dL.
A blood test or a breathalyzer are used to determine the blood alcohol content (BAC). A breathalyzer measures the amount of alcohol in a driver’s breath.
DRIVING AFTER DRINKING
It is dangerous to drive after drinking. Nonetheless, it still occurs all over the United States. Driving while intoxicated puts you at risk for arrest or, worse yet, being in a collision that results in significant injury or death.
Drunk drivers (those with BACs of.08 g/dL or higher) are responsible for about 30% of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States. 11,654 people died in these avoidable collisions in 2020. In reality, over 10,500 individuals each year died in drunk driving accidents during the course of the ten-year period from 2011 to 2020.
The United States saw one fatal drunk driving accident every 45 minutes in 2020, despite the fact that it is against the law to drive while intoxicated in every state.
ALCOHOL ABUSE AND COST
Repeat drunk driving offenders are a very real and extremely deadly problem. Drivers involved in fatal accidents who had blood alcohol concentrations of.08 g/dL or above were four times more likely to have previous convictions for driving while intoxicated (8% vs. 2%, respectively).
Drunk driving has an impact on more people than just the driver. Around one-fifth (21%) of youngsters (14 and under) killed in auto accidents in 2020 died as a result of drunk drivers. Of those fatalities, the youngster was in the drunk driver’s car more than half the time (57%) of the time.
The financial cost of drunk driving is terrible as well as the human toll it has on our nation. According to data from 2010 (the most recent year for which cost data is available), crashes caused by drunk driving cost the US $44 billion yearly.
It is unsafe to operate a vehicle when intoxicated. Since the 1980s, fewer people have died as a result of drunk driving thanks in large part to stricter enforcement of the law. Penalties for driving while intoxicated can include losing your driver’s license, paying fines, and spending time in jail. Charges can range from misdemeanors to felonies. Also, the price is really high. The driver may incur fines and court costs totaling more than $10,000 for a first offense.
In many places, offenders must pay for and install ignition interlock devices on their own dime. A breath testing device attached to a car’s ignition is called an ignition interlock device. The driver must blow into the interlock and have a BAC below a low level that has been per-set, typically.02 g/dL, in order to operate the car. The NHTSA is a big proponent of the expansion of ignition interlocks as a tried-and-true method of preventing intoxicated drivers from operating a vehicle.
THE RESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOR
Being a responsible driver is simple: If you are drinking, do not drive. Choose a non-drinking friend to serve as the designated driver before you start drinking. Keep pals from driving while intoxicated. Call a ride service or taxi if you have been drinking. Make sure everyone who is invited to a party where alcohol will be provided leaves with a sober driver. Always buckle up; it’s your best line of defense against drunk driving.