Drunk driving is a prime cause of road accidents and deaths worldwide. 1.25 million people around the world die in traffic accidents every year with an estimated 5–35% of those reported as alcohol-related, the World Health Organization reveals. By being responsible and knowing your limits, you can avoid drunk driving and stay safe on the roads.
Impacts of alcohol on driving
Any amount of alcohol in the bloodstream can impair someone’s ability to drive — even if they still “feel” sober. In particular, studies have found that a higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC) leads to a decreased reaction time. For example, a BAC level of 0.08 (which is the legal limit in the US) was found to decrease reaction time by 120 milliseconds, which is a little over one-tenth of a second.
So, a drunk driver going at 70 miles per hour would continue for an extra 12 feet before reacting to potential danger. Drunk driving can also lead to overconfidence and risky driving, reduced field of vision, and poor judgment of speed and distance.
Never drink and drive
The amount you’re able to drink while still be able to drive safely depends on a host of factors, including, your sex, age, weight, metabolism, stress levels, and whether or not you’ve eaten recently, along with the amount and type of alcohol. The only safe option is therefore to never drink if you plan on driving. If you plan on drinking, take either a taxi or public transport, arrange for a designated driver, or stay overnight. Never get into a car with someone who’s been drinking.
Next steps after an accident
Being involved in a car accident caused by a drunk driver can result in significant pain and trauma. Fortunately, by consulting an experienced lawyer, people can seek financial compensation for being hit by a drunk driver. Compensation typically covers medical bills, lost earnings, and emotional pain and suffering.
Directly after the accident, you should remain at the scene (unless it’s too dangerous) and phone the police and emergency services for assistance. Document as much of the scene and injuries as possible by taking photos and video. This evidence will come in useful when filing a claim against the at-fault party.
How much alcohol can you drink while driving?
In accordance with the norm established at the legislative level, the maximum amount per mille recorded by the traffic police breathalyzer is 0.16 – this is how much mg of alcohol can be contained in a liter of air exhaled by the driver.
Please note that professional breathalyzers also have measurement errors. Therefore, if the device shows a higher value or the traffic police inspector suspects that the device is faulty (the driver smells alcohol, and the device shows “zero”), then an examination is carried out by taking a blood sample. In this case, the maximum allowable ppm is 0.35, which is equivalent to 035 ml of alcohol per liter of blood. The difference between the readings of the breathalyzer and laboratory analyzes is explained by the accuracy of the methods and the difference in the technology for determining the number of ppm.
Now, if the driver drinks a dose of drugs or uses kefir, his license will not be revoked. It would seem that the amendments made were supposed to solve the problems of the law about “zero” ppm. In fact, everything turned out to be not so simple.
What determines the number of ppm
The amount of alcohol in the blood when two people take the same dose of alcohol will be different. The exact ppm value depends on:
Age, weight, body type of a person – thinner people with problems with blood supply get drunk faster, and alcohol is excreted from the body more slowly.
Regularity of alcohol consumption – alcoholic beverages, like drugs, tend to accumulate in the body, and therefore people suffering from alcoholism will take longer to remove alcohol from the blood.
Foods and snacks – Some foods help the body eliminate alcohol quickly, while others (such as fatty foods that coat the lining of the stomach) work the other way around.
The drinks consumed are different alcohol, and mixing them leads to different amounts of alcohol in the blood.
Features of metabolism, hereditary factors, chronic diseases, etc.
It is almost impossible to independently determine whether alcohol remained in the blood after an evening meal without using a personal breathalyzer. But here the problem is that devices for personal use have a much larger error than a traffic police breathalyzer. What is left to do for drivers who, on the eve of the proposed trip, consumed alcohol, fermented milk products, kvass or medicinal herbal tinctures?
What to do for drivers
Do you feel good even though there was a feast yesterday? Because of heart problems before the trip, drank some medicine on alcohol? Maybe you are in a state of alcoholic intoxication, realize this, but you need to get behind the wheel? Let’s consider what can be done in such cases.
- Give up the trip. If you have an important meeting scheduled or you need to go to work, but you did not take alcohol, although the traffic police device may show a deviation from the norm, then this is not the most suitable option.
- Call a taxi. If it is possible to leave the vehicle and then return for it, then you can use the services of a taxi. But such cases are rare.
- Ask a friend or relative to drive. You can do this, but the other person will then need to return (for example, ask a friend who does not drink at a holiday to bring you). And it is not a fact that during the trip the “forced” driver will not commit an accident.
- It is the best option to use the ” Taxi for you and your car ” service. For a small fee, an experienced driver will take you with your car to the specified place, will be able to park or put the car in the garage or parking lot.
Of course, deciding what to do in a given situation depends solely on the person himself. Just remember that driving while drunk or under the influence of medicinal alcohol-containing drugs leads to a slowdown in the reaction, a manifold increase in the likelihood of an accident, including a fatal one. Drunk driving is a threat to all road users. Therefore, be conscientious, dear drivers!
There’s no excuse for drunk driving. By knowing your limits and proactively choosing to never drink and drive, you can help avoid accidents and make roads safer.