Drunk driving accidents are the focus of several ad campaigns and school programs that warn teens about the dangers of intoxicated driving. Despite these efforts to save lives, drinking and driving has not decreased much. Part of convincing people to avoid driving while intoxicated is helping them understand exactly how alcohol impairs driving abilities. Anyone who has been the victim of a drunk driving accident knows the kinds of losses and personal injuries that can result. If you were in an accident caused by a negligent driver, consider talking with a Tennessee auto accident lawyer.
Consequences of Drunk Driving
Drinking while driving led to 10,497 deaths from car accidents in 2016 alone. Out of the over 10,000 deaths, 214 children had their lives taken from an accident involving a drunk driver, causing great trauma for the families involved. Many people also suffered serious financial losses, pain and suffering from personal injuries, and emotional distress.
Statistics show that young people are most at risk for these types of car accidents. 27% of drivers who had a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher were between the ages of 25-35. 26% of this same group of drivers were between the ages of 21-24. This is why most campaigns against drunk driving target younger populations.
Other factors contribute to why younger drivers tend to have more accidents involving alcohol. Psychological studies show that younger people have less self-control and experience with driving until they reach a certain age.
Effects of Alcohol on Driving
Alcohol has many effects on the body and mind. At each increase in BAC, a person becomes more susceptible to errors in judgment and behavior. There is a reason that the law limits our BAC to 0.08% when driving.
When people first start drinking, alcohol generally takes about 30 minutes to take the full effect. This may vary depending on whether the person has food in their stomach or how strong their first drink was. At a BAC of 0.02%, people tend to feel relaxed and can experience slight declines in visual functions. Multi-tasking becomes difficult, which is an important aspect of vigilant driving.
At 0.05% BAC, people will start showing exaggerated behaviors and will feel less alert. Poor coordination, trouble steering, and decreased reflexes will follow. Once 0.08% is reached, people will notice decreased muscle abilities that affect balance, vision, hearing, and speech. Memory and self-control also become significantly impaired. In terms of driving, this can affect speed control, attention to the road, and awareness of other cars or traffic signals.