The Dangers of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol
Drunk driving or driving under the influence (DUI) is one of the biggest problems in the United States. We hear of accidents and death caused by drunk driving everywhere. At least 30 people die everyday as a result of DUI accidents. That is one person killed every 48 minutes everyday. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 10,000 lives are lost every year due to alcohol. In addition, more than $44 billion is spent in death and damage costs for drunk driving.
The effect of driving under the influence of alcohol
Alcohol is a substance that can have serious effects on people’s health and abilities. It reduces the function of the brain. It weakens your ability to think or reason. In addition, alcohol diminishes muscle coordination. That is why there are legal consequences for consuming alcohol and driving. In order to operate a vehicle, you must be fully aware of your surroundings. You must be able to reason and respond fast. Alcohol impairs your ability to do that. Therefore putting you and other people at severe risks.
Blood Alcohol Concentration
Alcohol affects your abilities depending on its level in your blood. Alcohol level is measured by how much alcohol passed into your bloodstream. This is called Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). BAC determines the risks associated with how much alcohol you consumed.
- 0.02 BAC leads to some loss of judgement and relaxation. It makes the body slightly warm and alters the mood. 0.02 BAC declines your visual functions and ability to perform different tasks. Thus, diverting your attention when driving.
- 0.05 BAC exaggerates behavior and impairs judgement. It leads to loss of muscle control. Often, you will lose control of your eyes. This makes you unable to coordinate or track other moving vehicles around you. Therefore reducing your response to react in emergencies.
- 0.08 BAC severely affects your muscle coordination. It impairs your judgement, self-control and memory. Driving with this level is detrimental. You will have poor concentration, short memory loss, lack of speed control and inability to process information.
The higher the BAC level of alcohol is, the more risk you put yourself and other people in.
Legal Consequences for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol
California has strict laws when it comes to the possession or consumption of alcohol. Inside a vehicle, it is illegal to drink alcohol while driving. Alcohol bottles must be closed, sealed and unopened.
Convictions of drunk driving differ based on severity and your history. If you drove under the influence of alcohol, you may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. You may face penalties, fines and jail time.
In some cases, you may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed at your vehicle. This device detects the alcohol level through a breath test. Your car will not start until you blow into the interlock. Your car only starts if the BAC level was found below 0.02 g/dl.
Further, the DMV will revoke or suspend your license. Hence, stripping you from your driving privilege.