Why Having No Alcohol in Your System Is the Only Way to Drive

Why Having No Alcohol in Your System Is the Only Way to Drive

December 12, 2018

Drunk driving unfortunately remains a massive public health risk in the United States. In 2014, approximately a third of the 32,675 traffic deaths in the nation were related to alcohol use. That means that on average, one person died in an alcohol-related traffic accident every 53 minutes—completely preventable deaths that could have been avoided without the consumption of alcohol.

While our job as a criminal attorney in Lubbock, TX is often to give these drunk drivers their constitutionally protected right to representation in court, it is also our duty to encourage all drivers in Texas and throughout the nation to avoid ever getting behind the wheel if they’ve had anything to drink. Yes, any drinks at all—it’s by far the safest way to prevent such accidents from occurring.

You may not know your limits

Many drunk drivers express their surprise when told by law enforcement or hospital employees about their blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The truth is, people are often more impaired than they believe or are capable of noticing. Even if you feel sober, elevated alcohol levels in your bloodstream can still have an effect on your decision making, reaction time and other tasks that require any sort of concentration (many of which are associated with driving).

Unsurprisingly, the more alcohol you drink, the harder it becomes for you to say with any reasonable degree of accuracy how drunk you are at the time.

Increased reaction time is one of the biggest dangers associated with drunk driving. One study showed that a BAC of 0.08, the legal limit in the United States for drivers, correlates with an average decreased reaction time of just over a tenth of a second. This means that if you’re driving on a highway at 70 miles per hour, you’d travel about an extra 12 feet before reacting to a hazard versus how you could be expected to react when driving completely sober. And that’s just when you’re at the legal limit.

Many people also do not have an accurate idea of how much alcohol their body is capable of handling. It probably will not take as many drinks as you believe for your reaction time to be slowed when you’re behind the wheel.

One drink for our purposes can be defined as 12 ounces of a five percent beer, five ounces of 12 percent alcohol wine, or one and a half ounces of 80 proof (40 percent alcohol) liquor. Even two drinks for a 160-pound man will involve some loss of judgment, decline in visual functions, an altered mood, a decreased ability to rapidly track a moving target and a reduced ability to multitask.

Ultimately, if you’re going to go out and have some drinks, the best decision is to not get behind the wheel, even if you’ve only had one or two. This might mean having a designated driver, using public transportation or taking advantage of a ride-sharing app, but it’s vastly better than getting into an accident or getting pulled over for drunk driving.

For more information, contact a criminal attorney in Lubbock, TX at the Law Office of Rob Biggers.

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