Alcohol and the Effects on Driving

Americans drink twice as much alcohol between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve than they do during any other time of the year. Drinking and driving to and from holiday parties can produce deadly results. On average, more than 10,000 people die each year in alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents in the United States. Thousands of surviving victims suffer catastrophic injuries.

Effects on Driving

Alcohol slows down the central nervous system and is therefore classified as a depressant. Alcohol can be dangerous because it has a profoundly negative effect on a person’s reaction time and motor coordination. The effects include the following:

  • Alcohol negatively affects your ability to judge distance and speed.
  • Reaction time. On average, it takes about 1.5 seconds for a sober driver to react. That can increase to 3 seconds or more for a person who has consumed a few drinks.
  • A person’s ability to track a moving target starts to diminish after one drink. Several drinks can make it difficult to distinguish colors.
  • When alcohol makes a person feel good, they may pay less attention to what is happening on the road if they are driving.

Drivers need to multi-task and stay vigilant for other vehicles, obstacles on the road, pedestrians, and other hazards. Any level of impairment can spell danger. Thousands of lives could be saved each year if all drivers obeyed the law to not drink and drive.

How Does the Law Measure Impairment?

If a police officer suspects someone of drunk driving, they may administer a field sobriety test. This typically involves asking the driver to look at a moving object, such as a pen or a flashlight, to gauge visual impairment. The officer may also test motor coordination by asking the driver to stand on one foot or walk in a straight line. If the driver cannot do this satisfactorily, they will likely administer a breathalyzer test to measure the blood alcohol content (BAC) level. In the United States, a driver with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher is considered legally impaired and subject to arrest.

Law Offices of Duane O. King is a Washington DC Car Wreck Law Firm that Stands Up for Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents

If you or a loved one was injured in a car wreck involving a drunk driver, seek out professional legal representation that you can trust. Our experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Duane O. King help victims of accidents obtain financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages related to suffering. Our Washington DC car wreck law firm has built a reputation for standing up for the rights of innocent victims. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 202-331-1963 or fill out an online form. From our office located in Washington, DC, we serve clients throughout DC and Maryland.