Pennsylvania residents may be shocked to hear that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), each day, nearly 30 people nationwide will lose their lives in an alcohol-related accident. This amounts to one drunk driving death every 53 minutes. While deaths due to drunk driving have been going down over the previous 30 years, people still have a one in three chance of being involved.
The effects of alcohol can reduce a person’s ability to drive, even if they are under the legal limit of 0.08 percent. For example, a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.02 percent can affect a driver’s visual functions and the driver’s ability to undertake two tasks simultaneously. A BAC of 0.05 percent can reduce a driver’s coordination, ability to follow moving objects, ability to steer and ability to respond to an emergency on the road.
At a BAC of 0.08 percent, a person’s ability to concentrate is compromised, and they may suffer short-term memory loss. This means that a person may not be able to control their speed, capably process information and a person’s perception may be impaired.
A BAC of 0.10 percent makes it difficult for a driver to stay in one lane and appropriately brake when necessary. Finally, a BAC of 0.15 percent could substantially impair a driver’s ability to control their vehicle, pay attention to the task of driving and process the necessary visual and auditory information needed to safely operate a motor vehicle.
While the legal limit for drunk driving is 0.08 percent, as these facts show, even a smaller amount of alcohol can affect a person’s ability to drive. Unfortunately, many people after a night out on the town will not heed the advice to ride with a designated driver, take a taxicab home or find a safe place to stay until they sober up. These are the people who will recklessly get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated, causing drunk driving accidents. Those who have been injured by a drunk driver may want to explore their legal options, including the possibility of filing a lawsuit if appropriate.
Source: NHTSA.gov, “Drunk Driving,” accessed on March 18, 2017