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The effects of alcohol on driving abilities

On Behalf of | May 26, 2023 | DUI Charges |

Consuming alcohol is a widespread activity, yet it’s still rarely discussed how this intoxicant affects a drinker’s driving capabilities. The repercussions of drinking before getting behind the wheel are immense and potentially life-threatening. This occurs due to the measurable impacts alcohol has on human blood, affecting one’s ability to operate a vehicle safely and responsibly.

The direct influence of alcohol on your system is quantified using a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) scale, a critical metric that establishes a correlation between alcohol consumption and impaired driving. Understanding the relationship between BAC and diminished driving abilities can help shed light on why drinking and driving is such a dangerous combination.

Impacts of BAC on driving abilities

BAC directly influences a person’s driving capabilities. As BAC increases, their ability to drive safely and effectively decreases significantly. This relationship between BAC and impaired driving abilities can be broken down by examining the effects at different BAC levels.

At a BAC of 0.02%, the first signs of impairment begin to surface. At this stage, individuals may experience a slight decrease in visual functions and some loss of judgment. Performing two tasks simultaneously, like checking mirrors while steering, may also start to pose a challenge.

When BAC reaches 0.05%, the effects become more pronounced. Individuals may experience lowered alertness, release of inhibition and a reduced ability to track moving objects. Coordination becomes more difficult, and response to emergency driving situations is often slower.

Upon reaching the legal limit in Oklahoma, 0.08%, muscle coordination becomes notably poor. Balance, speech, vision, reaction times and hearing are all affected. The ability to detect danger decreases, and short-term memory loss may occur.

When BAC levels climb to 0.10%, clear deterioration of reaction time and control is evident. Slurred speech, poor coordination and slowed thinking are common. At this stage, an individual’s ability to maintain proper lane position and braking control is likely significantly impaired.

Moving forward

The correlation between BAC and impaired driving is clear. On top of the safety risks, you can face criminal charges if you drive while you’re impaired. Understanding your defense options and choosing a suitable strategy after seeking legal guidance is crucial if a misstep on your part – or a mistake on the part of law enforcement – means that you’re facing charges already.