The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) ongoing efforts to reduce the number of injury causing and fatal crashes caused by drunk driving each year are all about education and raising awareness. Since alcohol reduces brain function and impairs coordination and reasoning, it’s important to understand exactly what happens to your body and to your ability to drive when you’ve been drinking.
Alcohol is absorbed directly through the walls of the stomach lining and small intestine and then passes into the bloodstream. Alcohol in the body is measured by the weight of the alcohol in a certain volume of blood. This is known as Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). In all 50 states, it’s illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 g/dL or higher. That being said, levels lower than .08 BAC can also lead to an increased risk of injury causing and fatal crashes.
Effects of Blood Alcohol Concentration on Driving Ability
- At .02, there is some loss of judgment, relaxation, body warmth and altered mood, which can result in a decline in visual functions and a decline in the ability to perform two tasks at the same time.
- At .05, there is exaggerated behavior, possible loss of small-muscle control (focusing of eyes), impaired judgment, lowered alertness and release of inhibition, which can result in reduced coordination, reduced ability to track moving objects, difficulty steering and a reduced response to emergency driving situations.
- At .08, muscle coordination becomes poor, and speech, vision reaction time and hearing are diminished. It’s harder to detect danger. Judgment, self-control, reasoning and memory are impaired. This can result in short-term memory loss, speed control, reduced information processing capability and impaired perception.
- At .10, there is a clear deterioration of reaction time and control, slurred speech, poor coordination and slowed thinking. This can result in a reduced ability to maintain lane position and brake appropriately.
- At .15, there is far less muscle control than normal. Vomiting may occur, and there can be a major loss of balance. This results in substantial impairment in vehicle control, attention to driving task and in necessary visual and auditory information processing.
Drunk Driving Accidents Ruin Lives
If you have been injured or if you have lost a loved one in an accident involving a drunk driver in San Diego or anywhere along the Central Coast, contact the skilled and proven team at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. at 1.800.GO.HARRIS for a free case consultation today.