Drinking and Driving

Legally, drivers age 21 or older are considered to be driving under the influence (DUI) if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 percent or higher. If your driving is impaired, you can be convicted of driving under the influence with a BAC lower than .08 percent. If under age 21, you can be convicted of illegal consumption of alcohol if your BAC is at least .02 but less than .08. If your BAC is .08 or higher you could be convicted of a DUI. If your driving is impaired because you are under the influence of any drug, you may face the same penalties as driving under the influence of alcohol.

Researchers estimate that between the hours of 10 PM and 2 AM three out of every ten drivers are drunk. More than one-third of these drivers have been drinking at someone else’s home. Nearly 50 percent of the drivers arrested for DUI are social to moderate drinkers. Don’t think that it won’t happen to you. In your lifetime, there’s a 50-50 chance that you’ll be involved in an alcohol-related crash.

Just one alcoholic drink can affect your driving ability because even a small amount of alcohol affects the brain’s functions – particularly vision, judgment, and coordination.

Because alcohol affects your judgment and driving ability, your chances of being in a crash are seven times greater if you drive after drinking than if you drive sober.

Twelve ounces of beer is the same as a shot of liquor or a five-ounce glass of wine.

Only time can decrease intoxication. Coffee, cold showers or exercise will not sober you up.

Alcohol-related crashes are not accidents. They can be prevented! The only way to avoid the risks of drinking and driving is to decide before you start drinking that you are not going to drive. Remember, alcohol affects judgment. Making the decision not to drive is a lot more difficult after one or two drinks.

Drive to social events in groups of two or more and have the driver agree not to drink.

Combining alcohol with other drugs usually multiplies the effects of both and can have a disastrous effect on your ability to drive. One drink taken when you are on another drug – even an aspirin, or allergy or cold medicine – could have the same effect on your driving ability as drinking several alcoholic beverages.

Read the label before taking any drug or medicine. Look for warnings about side effects. If you’re uncertain about the effects of a drug, ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice. Remember that, while the effects may vary among users, no drug is harmless.

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