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Effects of Alcohol on Driving Ability in Car Accidents

drunk car accidentsIt is pretty well-known that alcohol decreases brain functionality, but how does that affect one’s ability to drive, specifically? With reduced brain function, along with impairment of thinking, reasoning and coordination, alcohol can inhibit one’s ability to drive properly. Alcohol creates its effects once absorbed through the stomach and small intestine walls and it has been metabolized by the liver. In 2017, it was reported that 2,017 people were killed in car accidents by drivers under the influence but below the legal limit.

Age is a risk factor for drunk driving. In fact, young drivers between 16 and 24 years of age accounted for 39 percent of drunk drivers involved in fatal accidents in 2016. In the same year, those aged 25 to 34 accounted for another 29 percent of fatal crashes that involved alcohol impairment. In those crashes, there were four male drivers to every one female driver. In lieu of figured such as this, the drinking age was raised to 21 in all states. The NHTSA estimates 31,417 were saved between 1975 and 2016 due to the drinking age.

However, repeat offenders are the biggest concern when it comes to drunk driving. Those involved in a fatal crash while at a BAC of .08 were 4.5 times more likely to have prior convictions for driving under the influence. In 2016, around one in six of children under the age of 14 that were involved in drunk-driving crashes died, with 44 percent of those crashes caused by the driver of the vehicle in which the child was a passenger. It is estimated that drunk driving crashes cost $44 billion each year in the United States.

Every 50 minutes in 2016, someone died from a drunk driving crash, yet people still get behind the wheel while impaired every day in the United States. There are steps that can be taken to prevent these avoidable accidents and fatalities.

Avoiding Drunk Driving

  • If a driver appears to be impaired on the road, you have a moral obligation to report the behavior to the proper authorities to potentially save a life.
  • If you plan to drink, plan not to drive. Designating a sober driver or using one of the many smartphone applications to get a ride may cost a bit in the immediate future but could save a lot of finances, complications and potentially your own life.
  • If you drink and your plan for a ride falls through, call a cab. If you don’t know the number for a cab service, a member of the staff at the establishment you are at will be happy to help.
  • If you see someone about to get behind the wheel and you know they are impaired, offer them a ride and take their keys away. If you are also drunk, use one of the above tips to get them a ride as well.

If you have been injured due to a drunk driver, you’re entitled to compensation. Contact our team today to learn more.


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