When one chooses to get behind the wheel after drinking, they put everyone’s life at risk, including their own. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, there are more than 300,000 drinking and driving incidents across the U.S. every year. While drunk drivers killed more than 10,100 people in 2019, they injured another 300,000.
These preventable accidents, injuries and deaths are the number one threat to motorists on roadways across the country. In New York, more than 30% of fatal motor vehicle accidents involve drunk drivers, according to New York State.
How is intoxication defined?
A driver is considered legally intoxicated if their blood alcohol content level is at or exceeds 0.08%. However, one can show signs of intoxication and experience impaired driving at lower levels. People metabolize alcohol differently depending on their weight and physical makeup.
- At 0.02% one may start to feel relaxed and could make poor judgments.
- At 0.05% one may exhibit exaggerated behaviors, such as gesturing and talking loudly. Vision may also become blurry as smaller muscle control relaxes.
- At 0.08% one may lose coordination and have delayed reaction times, speech and hearing.
- At 0.10% one may show delayed signs of reasoning, thinking and have trouble coordinating movements.
Many effects of intoxication directly influence a person’s ability to operate a vehicle, especially in traffic around other vehicles.
Who is responsible?
Those who choose to endanger others by driving while intoxicated should take responsibility for the consequences of their actions. There are several options for people who have had too much to drink while out with friends or at a dinner party. People can call a driver to pick them up or catch a ride from a sober friend. They can also hang out for a bit and drink water to sober up.
If drivers come into contact with a drunk driver, it is important to contact law enforcement as soon as possible. Officers can possibly minimize the risk of a catastrophic accident.