Thanksgiving is approaching and soon on its heels are the winter holidays. Therefore, now is a good time to shed light on an important public safety issue this time of year: drunk driving. Drunk driving is especially prevalent during the holiday season in New York so it is important to understand the scope of this problem and exactly how alcohol can impair a person to the point where they cannot drive safely.
Just how big is the drunk driving problem?
Drunk driving is not limited to the holidays. It is a problem at all times of the year. In the U.S., 28 people lose their lives in drunk driving accidents every day. In 2019 alone 10,142 people died in the U.S. in drunk driving accidents.
In New York, each year over 17,000 people lose their lives in drunk driving accidents. This means that in New York State, just over 30% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents involve alcohol. In addition, every two minutes in New York a person suffers a drunk driving injury.
How does alcohol affect your driving abilities?
It is well known that if you have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or above you are deemed too intoxicated to drive. At a BAC of 0.08% your muscle coordination is pool, it is more difficult to detect dangerous driving circumstances and your judgement, memory, reasoning and self-control are impaired. However, even a BAC below 0.08% can impair your driving abilities.
If your BAC is 0.05%, you are below the legal limit. However, you could experience a loss of small-muscle control, impaired judgment and coordination, problems steering your vehicle and a slowed response to emergency situations on the road. This could easily lead to a drunk driving accident.
Even if your BAC is 0.02%, you may still be too impaired to drive. At a 0.02% BAC your ability to track moving objects is declined. In addition, your ability to divide your attention between two tasks is declined.
Some may say that there is no safe amount of alcohol to consume before driving. While that is in the end a matter of personal judgement, we encourage all our readers to practice safe driving habits. Those who drive safely and are struck by a negligent or reckless driver in a motor vehicle accident will want to make sure they understand all their legal rights and options so they can make decisions that are in their best interests.