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How can alcohol impairment harm others on the roads?

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2024 | Car Wrecks

Alcohol significantly impairs driving ability, with the extent of impairment closely related to the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level in the driver’s system. BAC is a measure of the amount of alcohol in one’s bloodstream, and even small amounts can have measurable effects on driving performance.

The legal BAC limit is 0.08%, but impairment can begin at much lower levels. Understanding how different BAC levels affect driving abilities can highlight the risks of drinking and driving.

Effects of BAC on driving abilities

At lower BAC levels, starting from as little as 0.02%, drivers may experience a slight decline in visual functions and the ability to perform two tasks simultaneously, which is crucial for monitoring the road and operating vehicle controls. Judgment begins to fail, and drivers might feel more relaxed or overly confident in their driving abilities.

As BAC reaches 0.05%, the effects become more pronounced. Drivers exhibit reduced coordination, difficulty steering and a slower response to emergency driving situations. The ability to track moving objects significantly decreases. The response to unexpected sounds or events on the road is delayed.

At the legal limit of 0.08% BAC, muscle coordination becomes poor, and the ability to detect danger decreases. Drivers have significant difficulty with speed control, processing information and perceiving the position of their vehicle on the road. Judgment, self-control, reasoning and memory are adversely affected, significantly increasing the likelihood of causing an accident.

Mitigating the risks

To mitigate the risks associated with alcohol-impaired driving, it’s essential to understand and respect the effects of alcohol on one’s driving capabilities. Planning by designating a sober driver, using public transportation or utilizing rideshare services can prevent the decision to drive under the influence. Unfortunately, not everyone makes those choices when they’re out drinking, which means crashes may still occur.

Victims of impaired driving crashes may need urgent medical care for catastrophic injuries. That comes at a considerable cost, and the injuries may lead to time off work to heal. Those financial impacts can mount up quickly. A personal injury lawsuit is often possible, but these cases can be complex, so seeking legal assistance is a good idea.