You’re driving down the street, attentive to what’s going on around you. You stop at a red light, waiting for it to turn green. The light turns green and you proceed into the intersection and in a split second, your entire life changes. A drunk driver has speed through their red light, sideswiped your car, and you are now injured, hurting, without a vehicle, and wondering what you’ll do next.
Driving while drunk is an irresponsible and selfish act. Many lives are risked, and often lost due to the drunk driver’s negligence. Still, hundreds of millions of drivers continue to drive while under the influence each year, leaving a path of injuries and fatalities behind them.
Let’s take a look at how alcohol affects the body and mind in relation to driving, and go over some of the alarming drunk driving statistics, as well.
It’s certainly no secret that drunk drivers cause death and destruction on our roads every single year, in every State in the nation. Here are some rather sobering United States statistics:
Many people think that alcohol is a stimulant since people tend to associate drinking with good times. But alcohol is actually a depressant, and as such, causes the central nervous system to slow down. Attention span, reaction time, balance, and vision are all altered by drinking alcohol. And of course, the more you drink, the more significant your impairment becomes.
This hindrance might not be such a big deal if one were sitting safely at home, or just at a neighbor’s house within walking distance. At a backyard barbeque close to home, and not driving? Good for you. Getting behind the wheel risks lives that are completely innocent.
Let’s take a look at the general effects of alcohol on the body and how they influence driving ability. (Note: the effects we are about to outline will assume a 160-pound male is the subject, and a standard drink in any form contains 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol. Weight, general health, age, lack of sleep, as well as many other factors, may alter the described effects.)
After just two drinks, blood alcohol concentration (BAC) rises to .02%. Signs of this include an altered mood, slight loss of judgement and inhibition, relaxation, and possibly a warm feeling in the body. When driving, clear vision decreases as well as the ability to perform more than one task at a time.
Three drinks will bring the BAC roughly up to .05%. Exaggerated behavior, inability to focus visually, loss of small-muscle control, impaired judgement, lowered alertness and lowered inhibition will come into play at this BAC. When driving, we see less coordination, less ability to follow moving objects, inaccurate steering, and greatly reduced response time in the event of an emergency.
At four drinks, the BAC rises to .08%. Physically, coordination is greatly affected, which will influence speech, balance, vision, and hearing. Judgement, self-control, memory, and reasoning are all greatly decreased. When driving at this BAC, we see an inability to concentrate, engage short-term memory, properly control speed, and/or steer accurately. Response time to an emergency situation increases.
After five drinks, BAC is 0.10%. Reaction time and physical control are nearly gone. Slurred speech, inability to walk without falling, and inability to think clearly are symptoms. While driving, there exists an inability to stay within your lane, and an inability to brake effectively or accurately.
After seven drinks, BAC is 0.15%, and at this point, one is largely unable to control muscles, balance, vision, or coordination. Vomiting is common, as this BAC is equivalent to having a half-pint of whiskey circulating in your blood.
If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver, you’re clearly aware of the seriously detrimental effect alcohol has on the human body (both short and long-term) and the ability to safely drive a vehicle. The most intelligent decision you could possibly make is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to help you sort through the pain and confusion, take many of the burdens of paperwork, insurance companies, and police reports off your shoulders, and allow you to heal without all of that stress. In short, an attorney will enable you to obtain the just compensation that you deserve if you have suffered injury by a drunk driver.