One of the most common causes of car accidents in the United States and all across the globe is driving under the influence of alcohol. Because of its dangers, there are laws that punish DUIs, penalizing intoxicated drivers with fines or even jail time.
Even if you’ve only had a couple of drinks, it’s never advisable to drive when intoxicated. Even just one bottle of beer or one shot of liquor can impair your bodily functions, which makes it more difficult and dangerous to get behind the wheel.
How Alcohol Affects Motorists and Risks Their Safety
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released information on how driving while intoxicated can affect a driver’s senses and cause accidents behind the wheel. Here are the ways alcohol can affect a motorist.
Among the temporary effects of intoxication is blurred or double vision. Depending on how much a person has had to drink, their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level rises, making it difficult for the liver to metabolize.
At a BAC level of 0.08% to 0.09% all of a person’s bodily functions, including vision, are impaired. At this level of intoxication, your blood is almost 1/1,000 alcohol. In almost all jurisdictions, you legally cannot get behind the wheel at this point, and in many jurisdictions, the limit is lower.
As we know, clear vision is a requirement for safe driving. After alcohol intake, figures and objects can appear blurry while driving, which increases the chances of crashes and accidents. Temporary color blindness can also occur, causing drivers to fail to distinguish traffic lights or signals.
Clouded Judgment and Comprehension
Alcohol is considered a mind-altering substance, considering its effects on decision-making and changes in behavior. If you’ve been in a drinking environment, then you probably know how people talk, think, and behave differently when intoxicated.
After a few drinks, a person usually becomes more social and full of energy. A couple more and they can start becoming more emotional or aggressive. These mental effects cause drivers to lose the ability to think rationally and make proper judgments.
This change in the way an intoxicated person thinks, feels, and behaves can be dangerous when driving. They will have a more difficult time comprehending speed, distance, as well as traffic signals and signs.
Alcohol intake has a significant impact on memory and concentration. An intoxicated person would find it difficult to focus due to disorganized and clouded thoughts. Concentration is one of the pillars of safe driving, which is why distractions should always be avoided. The inability to concentrate, coupled with drowsiness or fatigue can put an intoxicated driver as well as other civilians and pedestrians at harm.
Because alcohol alters the performance of a person’s brain activity, tracking other vehicles, objects, and pedestrians on the road will be a challenge. An intoxicated driver will not be able to accurately determine the locations and distances of things on the road, which increases the chances of them crashing into a car, a structure, or an object.
Reduced Eye, Hand, and Foot Coordination
Driving requires the coordination of several parts of the body — the eyes, hands, and feet. These body parts work together to ensure that the driver hits the breaks when needed, slows down the vehicle, avoids objects on the road, etc.
Alcohol can impair the coordination of several muscle groups, as proven by an intoxicated person’s difficulty to conduct simple everyday tasks, like texting, filling their glasses, or inserting their car keys in the ignition.
Slower Reaction Time
A driver needs to be quick with his or her movements on the road. After all, you never know when an obstacle, pedestrian, or other car pops up and needs to be avoided. An average motorist should have a 0.5 to 1 second reaction time.
With the intake of alcohol, reaction time, alertness, and other cognitive actions are significantly slower. This prevents the driver from being able to avoid crashes or running into pedestrians.
Consequences of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol
The count of deaths and injuries caused by driving under the influence of alcohol per year is about 10,000 and 40,000 respectively. This is a very deadly crime that should be avoided at all costs. First-time offenses are considered misdemeanors and are punishable by up to 6 months in jail.
Driving under the influence of alcohol doesn’t only affect the lives and safety of the intoxicated driver but also those of the pedestrians or other vehicles. Victims can file a case against the drunk driver and seek compensation and damages.
If you or anyone you know is a victim of a DUI occurrence, contact us today so that we can help you get the compensation that you deserve.