Every state, including Arizona, has enacted DUI laws that are meant to protect innocent drivers and passengers, and stop drivers from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated. The “legal limit” for blood alcohol content is .08%. While the legal driving limit is under .08%, the best way to drive is sober. You can always call a rideshare service or find a designated driver to help you get to your destination without drinking and driving. Imagine how many taxi fares you can pay for with the money you’d spend on fines and attorney fees in a DUI case.
Based on research conducted over the past 20 years, it is generally accepted that about 38% of all traffic deaths are caused by driving under the influence of alcohol. According to the same report, out of 303,023 injuries, 24,764 or 8% were DUI related. Thousands of people are left permanently disabled. There are many coalitions and foundations that work toward bringing awareness and educating on the tragedies that driving intoxicated can have. Mothers Against Drunk Driving, also known as M.A.D.D., are one of the biggest contributors and one of the most important advocates to push for tougher laws against driving under the influence.
Alcohol is a depressant drug that impairs your brain and consequently inhibits your decision-making process. As blood alcohol (BAC) content increases, drivers lose the ability to properly identify and navigate elements of a traffic scene. Alcohol can affect an initial perspective, and it can also seriously hinder a person’s reaction time.
The human body has some obvious physical indicators in response to alcohol including:
- Your reaction time is slowed
- Lack of coordination
- Slurred speech
- Less inhibition
The bottom line, drinking alcohol, and driving is life-threatening. You cannot trust your judgment or perception when you are drunk. Good judgment sometimes may be to abstain from drinking on a night out.
When you drink alcohol, it reduces your night-driving ability, your ability to distinguish colors, visual acuity, and peripheral vision. It can also distort the eye’s ability to focus and judge distances and cause double vision.
Alcohol involvement — either for the driver or for the pedestrian — was reported in nearly one-half (46 percent) of the traffic crashes that resulted in pedestrian fatalities. Of the pedestrians involved, 34 percent were intoxicated, with blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of 0.08 grams per deciliter (g/dl) or greater. The intoxication rate for the drivers involved was only 13 percent, less than one-half that for the pedestrians. In 5 percent of the crashes, both the driver and the pedestrian were intoxicated.
“Alcohol involvement— either for the driver or for the pedestrian — was
reported in nearly one-half of all pedestrian fatalities.”
Source: NHTSA Technical Report DOT HS 809 403.
Drinking and Driving
Alcohol and driving do not mix. A driver that chooses to get behind the wheel is ultimately responsible for all accidents, injuries, and/or death that may occur when they are driving.
Driving is a responsibility that must be taken seriously and is a task that business that requires ultimate skill and judgment – two things that are majorly affected by the consumption of alcohol.
Alcohol seriously reduces your reflexes, physical control over the vehicle, and ability to recognize dangerous situations.
These combined physical effects make the drinking driver a dangerous driver. Even when you may not appear or feel drunk, alcohol produces a false sense of confidence in your driving ability.
It is a class 2 misdemeanor for a driver or passenger to consume or possess an open container of spirituous liquor in the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle while on any public highway or right-of-way. Passengers riding in a bus, limousine, taxi, or the living area of a motor home are exempt. The passenger compartment includes any unlocked compartments or portable devices within reach of the driver or passenger. It does not include the trunk or the area behind that last upright seat of a vehicle not equipped with a trunk.
Why is drinking and driving so dangerous? You lose your judgment when you drink or use drugs. It is often the first thing about you that changes. Loss of judgment or good sense affects how you react to sounds, what you see, and the speed of other vehicles around you. Good judgment may be as simple as saying “NO” to a friend who wants to try racing your new car on a country road. However, if you have been drinking or under the influence of drugs, your good judgment may turn into, “Sure. Go ahead. Take my new car.” Your ability to reason with your friend has all but disappeared. Do not give in. If you can avoid needing to hire a DUI lawyer in Gilbert AZ you should.
What is the limit? No one can drink more than one’s limit and drive safely, no matter how much driving experience he or she has had. However, new drivers are affected even more than experienced drivers because they have to think more about what they are doing. Research has shown that the younger driver is affected more rapidly by alcohol. Even one drink can affect a person’s driving. Two drinks in an hour can make anyone an unsafe driver.
What if a driver has had too much to drink? Some myths about drinking alcohol say that taking cold showers, drinking black coffee, or exercising will sober a person up. This is not true. Only time, body weight, the number of drinks, and how much has been eaten can affect how long it takes anyone to sober up. It takes one hour for the body to get rid of each drink. If a person has had more than one drink in one hour, one hour of sobering up time should be allowed for each drink. Better still, someone who has not been drinking should drive. In one hour, the adult human body can burn about one ounce of alcohol.
DRUGS AND DRIVING
Illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines, can drastically affect your driving skills. Cocaine and methamphetamines are stimulants that tend to produce erratic behavior and disrupt normal mental processes and can give a small sense of euphoria. In large amounts, it can produce paranoia and psychoses, seizures, and even death. Heroin is a depressant that slows reaction times and causes lethargy. It can also cause unconsciousness, respiratory failure, and death. Marijuana is a depressant and hallucinogen that slows reaction times and affects your ability to make judgments. It can also cause visual disturbances.
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