WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOUR BLOOD ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION

Drunk driving is a hazard, and most people who get behind the wheel when drunk already know that. Unfortunately, in a drunken state, people make mistakes and have poor judgment. As a result, they may cause serious collisions that they never intended to cause.

Around 29 people die every day in the United States as a result of drunk driving crashes. In 2016, that amounted to one person every 50 minutes. The good news is that the number of drunk driving fatalities has dropped in the last 30 years; the bad news is that they still take over 10,000 lives yearly.

Since drunk driving is a serious risk, it’s illegal in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. The restricted level is .08 percent, which is considered too drunk to drive. Don’t let that number fool you, though. Having any alcohol in your system could hinder your reflexes and make you an unsafe driver.

How does alcohol affect a driver?

Start with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .02 percent. At this level, people can legally drive. They may lose some of their ability to judge situations and have an altered mood. They may feel more relaxed, but they may also not be able to perform two or more tasks as well as they could when they had nothing in their systems.

At .08 percent, comparatively, balance, speech and vision is poor. Judgment, self-control and concentration all decrease dramatically as well. People at this BAC also have impaired perception, which could mean they don’t notice or recognize dangers in front of them when driving.

If you’re caught drunk driving, you may not have realized how intoxicated you were. You have a chance to defend yourself and need to do so to protect your license and reputation.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Drunk Driving,” accessed Jan. 24, 2018

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