How does alcohol consumption affect driving abilities?

Drunk driving charges are something that can ruin the winter holiday season. The alcohol served at holiday parties is something that some people choose to avoid completely if they have to drive home. Other people might choose to consume some alcohol while they are at the party. If the ones who drink alcohol end up having to drive home, there might be legal troubles looming on the horizon.

Why is alcohol consumption dangerous for those who will drive?

Alcohol has effects on various functions and reactions that are necessary to drive. The ability to track a moving target begins to decline with a blood alcohol concentration as low as .02 percent. That effect increases as the BAC increases. A BAC of .05 percent is associated with reduced responses when emergency situations occur while driving, reduced coordination and difficulty steering.

Why is .08 percent the limit for driving?

By the time the BAC reaches .08 percent, a person has all of the effects previously noted plus difficulty controlling speed, trouble with perception, difficulty concentrating and short-term memory loss. Those all combine to create a potentially deadly combination for drivers. The slight increase to .10 BAC is associated with a reduction in the ability to brake and maintain lane control. Driving difficulties increase greatly by the time a person reaches a BAC of .15 percent.

Anyone who is accused of drinking and driving this holiday season should understand his or her right to present a defense against the charges. Understanding the charges and learning about the possible defense options can help defendants to make choices about how they will proceed with a defense.

Source: Mothers Against Drunk Driving, “Understanding .08,” accessed Nov. 10, 2015

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