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Drunk Driving: the Essentials You Need to Know

— August 16, 2022

Heavy drinking can affect your motor skills like your hand, eye, and foot coordination.

Here’s an alarming statistic: according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drinking and driving kill at least 28 people in the United States. That’s one person killed every 52 minutes! Overall, that’s over 10,000 lives lost to drunk driving annually. 

Also known as driving under the influence (DUI) or impaired driving, drunk driving involves operating a vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of 0.08 percent. The consequences of DUI are immense. A first offense can cost around $10,000 in fines and legal fees. You will also need a competent DUI lawyer to defend you.

Young people are especially at risk for driving under the influence. Of the drivers with a blood concentration of more than 0.08 percent, one out of 3 is between 21 and 24 years of age. Motorcyclists are also at risk. At least a third of motorcyclists killed in fatal crashes have a blood alcohol content above the legal limit.

Consequences of Drunk Driving

If you drive drunk and survive a crash that injures or kills people, you will have to live with the consequences of your action. Often, the emotional burden can be very severe. However, the physical consequences of DUI can be immense as well. Accidents from impaired driving can lead to disfigurement, brain damage, paralysis, and even death.

Impaired driving is also considered a crime. Aside from paying a huge amount in legal fees and fines, you can also face higher insurance costs. Some of the common repercussions for drunk driving and related offenses include:

  • Monitored sobriety
  • Alcohol abuse evaluations
  • Mandatory alcohol abuse treatment programs
  • Ignition interlock device (IID) restrictions
  • Suspension/revocation of driver’s license
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • Confiscation of vehicle license plate
  • Imprisonment

The Dangers of Drunk Driving

Alcohol in your bloodstream will significantly impact your ability to drive. Safe driving will require that you can focus and make good judgments. You need to also be able to react quickly to situations. Below are other ways alcohol can impair your driving skills:

Lack of Coordination

Police in Connecticut administer the one leg stand test to a driver after a crash. Photo by Versageek, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 3.0

Heavy drinking can affect your motor skills like your hand, eye, and foot coordination. Without the needed coordination skills, you might be unable to avoid a harmful situation. Telltale signs of reduced coordination can include the inability to stand straight, swaying, and difficulty walking. 

Slow Reaction Time

Alcohol can also affect how quickly you can respond to different situations. Drinking can also slow your response time and increase the possibility of an accident. For instance, if a pedestrian crosses the street or a car in front of you stops suddenly, it will take longer for your brain to process the situation and act accordingly.

Decreased Vision

Excessive alcohol consumption can also impact the vision negatively. After drinking, the vision can become blurred. Impaired vision can greatly affect how you judge the distance between your vehicles and other cars on the road. In addition, only fewer objects might be visible within your peripheral vision.

Reduced Concentration

Alcohol can also affect your concentration. When driving, many things will require your undivided attention like traffic signals, speed, and staying in your lane. Unfortunately, your focus and attention span are dramatically reduced when driving under the influence. 

Inhibited Judgment

Your judgment skills are crucial when you operate a motorized vehicle. If your judgment is inhibited by alcohol, you won’t be able to foresee potential problems on the road. For instance, you won’t be able to make a quick and clear decision when someone cuts you off. Good judgment can also help ensure you stay alert while on the road.


When you drive under the influence, your responsiveness and cognitive ability can become compromised. If caught and convicted, one drinking and driving infraction can have significant financial, legal, personal, and even professional ramifications.

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