February 10, 2011
The Effects Of Drinking When Driving
Alcohol will effect a person well before the legal limit of intoxication is reached. The question stands that should a person be behind the wheel with any amount of alcohol in their system? Is ‘buzzed’ driving drunk driving or legal? There has been much research showing impairment of the system beginning at amounts far below the level required to be considered guilty of drunken driving.
All 50 states have designated a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 to be the legal limit for drunk driving. Reaching this limit can vary from person to person based on a number of factors such as Size, gender, physical condition, how much you have eaten, how much sleep you have had, if you are taking any medications, and the actual alcohol content of your chosen “drink.”
A “drink” consists of either one shot of liquor, a five-ounce glass of wine or one beer. All of these contain the same amount of alcohol.
At a .08 BAC level, drivers are so impaired that they are 11 times more likely to have a single-vehicle crash than drivers with no alcohol in their system. But 25 years of research has shown that some impairment begins for both males and females even after one drink. .02 BAC Level At the .02 blood alcohol concentration level, experiments have demonstrated that people exhibit some loss of judgment, begin to relax and feel good. But tests have also shown that drivers at the .02 level experience a decline in visual functions, affecting their ability to track a moving object, and experience a decline in the ability to perform two tasks at the same time.
.02 BAC Level – At the .02 blood alcohol concentration level, experiments have demonstrated that people exhibit some loss of judgment, They start to experience altered mood such as feeling relaxed and good. But tests have also shown that drivers at the .02 level have a decline in visual functions which can affect their ability to track a moving object, and experience a decline in the ability to perform two tasks at the same time (divided attention).
These changes may be very subtle and barely noticeable to the person who has had only one drink, but in an emergency situation while behind the wheel of a vehicle, they could cause the driver to react (or not react) as they would without having had a drink.
.08 BAC Level When someone drinking is approaching the borderline of legal intoxication, studies show that he or she has poor muscle coordination — affecting their balance, speech, vision, reaction time and hearing — find it more difficult to detect danger, and exhibit impaired judgment, self-control, reasoning ability and memory.
If someone with a BAC level of .05 gets behind the wheel, they would be operating the vehicle with a further reduction of coordination. The ability to track moving objects would grow harder and there would be more difficulty in steering. The driver would have a markedly reduced response in emergency situations.
A driver with a BAC of .08 will find it more difficult to concentrate, judge the speed of the vehicle, experience reduced information processing capability and exhibit impaired perception. At a .08 BAC level, drivers are impaired to the point that they are 11 times more likely to have a single-vehicle crash than drivers with no alcohol in their system. But 25 years of studies have shown that some impairment begins for both men and women even after only one drink.
That’s why it is not a good idea to drive no matter how much or how little that you have had to drink.
For the drinker, the above impairments may be hardly noticeable at the time, but the slow reaction times that they can create could be fatal in a emergency driving situation. No matter the situation, it is not a good idea to drive no matter how much or how little that you have had to drink. Further consideration is alcohol tolerance. Alcohol affects people differently. Some people have a higher response to drinking alcohol than others. Simply put, Those drinkers with a high response to alcohol can experience signs of impairment at the .02 BAC level whereas others do not experience effects until the .05 level.
The Safe Limit For this reason, in some states drivers can be arrested for driving while impaired even if their blood alcohol concentration is lower than the legal limit, if the law enforcement officer believes he has probable cause based on the behavior and reactions of the driver. It’s simply not a wise choice to get behind the wheel no matter how much you have had to drink. The only safe driving limit is .00 percent.